Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 8th April 2020

Swanepoel's unexpected death stuns blind cricket world

By Charles Randall

22 October 2012

The ECB chief executive David Collier has paid tribute to the pioneering work of the England Blind team veteran Heindrich Swanepoel, who died suddenly aged 43 after a heart attack while on holiday in Morocco.

Swanepoel, from Welling in south London, was a driving force behind the development of blind cricket. A left-hand bat and right-arm fast-medium bowler, with sight category C2, he played more than 50 internationals for England after his debut in 1998, with high points as a player in the Blind Ashes winning sides of 2004 and 2008. He became treasurer of the World Blind Cricket Council and a member of the Blind Cricket England & Wales committee and the Metro Blind team.

Collier said: "This is a sad loss. Heindrich was involved at the very beginning of blind cricket becoming an international sport in England and did so much to promote cricket as a game that people with a visual impairment could be part of and aspire to play internationally. We send our condolences to his close family and to his many friends in cricket both at home and abroad."

England team-mate Dave Gavrilovic said: "Almost everyone who has played blind cricket over the past two decades will have memories of Heindrich. For some it will be his on field achievements including his many wickets for Metro that led to countless victories and 19 trophies, or for some it will be for England, for whom he played every international match bar one since the team was formed in 1996."

"For some of us, we will remember Heindrich’s kindness and willingness to help whenever he could, I was lucky enough to be part of the Ashes squad with Heindrich this summer and I will always remember how much he went out of his way to help all the new players and to make sure the B1 players were looked after both on and off the field. He was always there with some advice if other players were struggling and could always spare a few words of encouragement when they were needed."

Swanepoel was due to fly to India with England to take part in the Blind Cricket World T20 tournament in Bangalore.