Two England disability cricket coaches will have full time roles for the first time, the ECB announced yesterday.
Former England international Ian Salisbury has been appointed as the new Head Coach of the England Physical Disability (PD) team and Ross Hunter will continue his work with the England Visually Impaired (VI) team.
Salisbury has worked with the England PD squad over the past two years in the role of Assistant Coach and succeeds Qasim Ali. He will combine his new role with continuing to support Mark Robinson and the England women’s team.
Salisbury’s first challenge will be to prepare the England PD squad for games this summer as the side continues to build towards a world tournament in England in 2019.
Salisbury, said: “I am very humbled and honoured. Especially knowing that we are the first two coaches in the world to be working full-time in disability cricket. I have been massively inspired by the players themselves and the job in hand.
“We have a great chance to write a new story, to aim to win a world tournament in 2019 and be the number one side in the world. We can only do that through hard work, strategic planning, adaptability, humility and innovation. This will create an environment that puts cricket and this team at the forefront of disability cricket in England and the world.
“Taking on this full-time role means that we can do so much more to support the players individually beyond cricket. We know a lot about their cricketing abilities but I want to find out more about their lives and what role cricket plays in it.”
Hunter will continue the great work he has done with the England VI team which includes having recently coached them to the semi-finals of the Blind World Cup in India, before losing to Pakistan in the semi-finals.
Hunter, said: “I’m incredibly proud to work with the players on a full-time basis. This decision is a testament to the work they have put in and the progress the squad has made. Our goal is to now become the most pioneering visually impaired sports programme in the world and we now have the resources to do that.
“We have gone to previous tournaments with an opportunity to do well, in the future we want to go with a strong chance of winning. That will involve pushing ourselves and working hard to catch up with India and Pakistan.
“Hopefully with my full-time role, I can spend more time with the players to help them continue to develop and be as close to a professional athlete as possible.
“This shows the commitment of the ECB to disability cricket and the incredible work of Ian Martin to create an elite environment of support for the players.”
ECB’s Head of Disability Cricket, Ian Martin, said: “This is an important step change in disability cricket. I’m proud that we are the first international cricket board to make such a step. It will increase the capacity of our coaches to work with performance squads and is further evidence of the improvement and culture shift within our national squads.
“I’m proud of the fact that we are able to support our players to be able to pursue dual careers – their sporting aspirations and their professional careers. In order to do that we need a high-quality support team and these appointments are a key part of that.”
Picture courtesy of ECB, with thanks.