First, Gale force – nowit’s calm af­ter the storm

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - THIS WEEK... JONNY GALE Eng­land Learn­ing Dis­abil­ity open­ing bats­man

Age 23 Team: Eng­land Learn­ing Dis­abil­ity

You’ve had a very big sum­mer, are your feet back on the ground?

The sum­mer it­self was busy with cricket and it’s nice to set­tle down a bit. Now it’s the off-sea­son it’s the chance to set­tle down and look back at the last few months. With the suc­cess of the INAS TriNa­tions se­ries and last week we had the chance to go to Lord’s to show­case what we did in July and to be recognised for what we have done.

What was that Lord’s ex­pe­ri­ence like, to pa­rade around and get the recog­ni­tion from the crowd dur­ing the Test match?

It was fan­tas­tic and an ex­pe­ri­ence I’ll never for­get. Not just the op­por­tu­nity to walk around the pitch at Lord’s. I’ve been to watch sev­eral Test matches be­fore, but it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. Es­pe­cially when you’ve got how­ever many thou­sands of peo­ple that were there that day.

Al­beit on a rain-af­fected day, but quite a lot of the peo­ple still stayed at the ground to give us a warm re­cep­tion as we went around for our lap of hon­our, it was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hope­fully mo­ments like that will help in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of dis­abil­ity crick­eters, but also make the pub­lic more aware of dis­abil­ity cricket. We’re all one Eng­land cricket team and there’s no rea­son for any­one to dis­miss dis­abil­ity cricket and the abil­ity we have.

That ex­po­sure must be great for the sport in gen­eral?

With the ex­po­sure we have had, now go­ing into 2019, which is when the next se­ries is due to take place, in Aus­tralia, there’s more pres­sure on us. But I think the team has got plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence from the se­ries just gone and also through the work we do off the pitch, rais­ing the pro­file of dis­abil­ity cricket.

How did this com­pare with the in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments you had played in be­fore?

It was a bit odd re­ally. Both in­ter­na­tional se­ries I had done prior to the 2017 one were tours. My first one was in 2011 in South Africa, and sub­se­quently in Aus­tralia two years ago, so it was com­pletely dif­fer­ent not hav­ing to travel as much.

On top of that, the pres­sure, hav­ing won two se­ries prior to that, we were tipped to win. So it’s a whole dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish re­ally. If you’re un­der­per­form­ing, your place is in jeop­ardy and no­body wants to be dropped from an Eng­land team on home soil. I con­sider my­self proud and lucky to have played all ten games and lifted the tro­phy in the T20s and the one-day se­ries.

How much train­ing do you get to do with the Eng­land squad?

We used to do once a month over the win­ter. Our first camp is not this week­end but the one af­ter. It will be good be­cause we only meet up a hand­ful of times in the sum­mer, so to have that reg­u­lar con­tact in the win­ter is good. We’ve got new play­ers com­ing through to de­velop as well, to make the squad ever stronger for fu­ture tour­na­ments as well.

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