Thank goodness the Ashes are over. I can now relax in the knowledge that I am not going to be called upon to do my duty for England, and can instead concentrate on honing my skills as a visually-impaired (VI) cricketer.
VI cricket, as I have only just discovered, is not as daft an idea as it might at first sound. Of course, a few equipment and rule adaptations are required. For example, rather than the normal cricket ball, a small football is used and it contains some ball-bearings to give players an auditory clue as to its whereabouts. A larger than normal set of stumps is also used, but normal sized cricket bats are employed – I was rather hoping I could use a giant bat and just stand behind it.
It is certainly an interesting experience. On my first attempt at bowling I had Geoffrey Boycott’s words at the forefront of my mind – “Keep bowling in the corridor of uncertainty”. With only the wicket-keepers claps to guide me I couldn’t help feeling that I would be pitching it anywhere in a very wide motorway of extreme uncertainty for myself, and one in which the batsman would not only need good hearing but also very, very long arms. However, I did manage to keep broadly in line with the stumps which meant a rather perverse sense of satisfaction was derived from hearing the ball being smacked away - a feeling which I’m sure will wear off in time.