DESPITE losing in a series whitewash to world champions India, Chichester College’s James Millard still believes his England visually-impaired cricket team are on their way to greatness.
England opened their series with a 58-run ODI defeat before going down by four wickets in a hard-fought T20 match at the Oval.
A victory against the tourists never came, though, as skipper Matt Dean’s 80 was not enough in their final ODI, with India winning by 83 runs before taking the final two T20 matches.
But Millard believes England had India on the ropes on more than one occasion and was delighted to see his team-mates accomplish the rare feat of bowling the tourists out.
“There were some great performances from our team and some really encouraging individual efforts from the lads,” the 19-year-old said.
“We knew playing against a team like India was always going to be an incredible challenge but we rose to it and showed how far we have come. We pushed them hard on more than one occasion and I think they were shocked that we were able to bowl them out.
“There was definitely a few moments in that series where we had them worried and if things had gone our way here and there it could have been a different story.
“What you are seeing now is the progress that we have made over the past 12 months as a team and it’s only going to continue.
“We are going to be up there with the best in the world soon and I think it won’t be long before we are beating the likes of India and Pakistan.”
Next on the horizon for England is a tour to Australia in January followed by the small matter of the T20 World Cup.
And while Millard didn’t get the chance to strut his stuff against India, he says he is pushing hard for a starting berth and praised the squad’s strength in depth.
“The coaching staff that have come in and the support staff around are all incredible and I think that’s why we have improved so much,” he added.
“I didn’t play during the series but I am working hard every time we train to make sure I am pushing and hopefully I can get in that starting 11.
“It’s great that there is competition and I know that I am working hard and that is pushing the boys in front of me even harder.
“That is what will help this team improve and push us on to world cup wins.”
* If you or someone you know is interested in visually-impaired cricket, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bcew.co.uk. To stay up to date with the England visually impaired team visit www.ecb.co.uk
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