By Charles Randall
Umesh Valjee, from the Middlesex club Stanmore CC, is to captain a 14-player England Deaf squad for a one-day series and two Twenty20 games against South Africa later this month, the first tour for more than two years.
Valjee, MBE, and head coach Bobby Denning lead a group of players likely to prove too strong for the South Africans in Pretoria, as most of them enjoyed success in Australia in January 2011, including the Woking & Horsell batsman Saul Allison. There will be four new touring players in Jake Oakes (Yorkshire), Joel Harris (Cheshire), Henry Wainman (Yorkshire) and Sam Crichard (Herefordshire).
This will be the first international series for England Deaf since that winning Australia trip under Valjee. The ECB head of disability cricket Ian Martin said: "During that tour we defeated South Africa in both short formats of the game in a tri-series and that is something that we aim to repeat."
Before their departure England Deaf were scheduled to play two warm-up games against Derbyshire Academy at Denby on Sunday (18 August) and against the MCC on Monday at Chesterfield. They fly out to South Africa on 22 August and will be based at Sinovich Park in Pretoria for all six matches.
To be eligible to play international deaf cricket a player must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels or more in their better ear.
England Deaf squad (for South Africa series)
Umesh Valjee (Middlesex, capt)
Paul Allen (Derbyshire)
Michael Weathersby (Glamorgan)
James Dixon (Lancashire)
Jake Oakes (Yorkshire)
Joel Harris (Cheshire)
Henry Wainman (Yorkshire)
Stephen George (Devon)
George Greenway (Devon)
Saul Allison (Surrey)
Matt Clinton (Cumbria)
Darrell Sykes (Yorkshire)
Sam Crichard (Herefordshire)
Sunday, 18 August: 50 over game v Derbyshire Academy (Denby CC)
Monday, 19 August: 50 over game v MCC (Chesterfield CC)
Series v South Africa Deaf (Sinovich Park, Pretoria)
Wednesday, 28 August: 1st ODI
Friday, 30 August 30: 2nd ODI
Sunday, 1 September: 1st and 2nd T20
Wednesday, 4 September: 3rd ODI
Saturday, 7 September: 4th ODI