I always knew I wanted to play just like Lara...
Age: 27 Teams: Warwickshire Bears, England What’s your story?
I have congenital cataracts from birth, which in the simplest terms is having the eyes of someone who is 70 or 80. There were a couple of issues when I was growing up and trying to learn about my own condition, I remember siting at the front of class at school, not being able to read what the board said, someone who is four or five rows behind me being able to read it. I remember thinking 'how can you read that and I can't?'
When did you first get into cricket?
I first got into it at school – I remember in year 4, we had sessions after school and I wasn't really that interested until one of my mates told me to come along and keep him company. It turned out I was pretty nifty at bowling, so I joined the local club and went from there. My mate gave up a while ago, and became quite a good footballer instead!
How has playing cricket improved your life?
It's given me a sense of direction, and is something I am really good at. In the blind cricket community, I've got to know more people with eye conditions, even worse than mine, and grown closer to other people. It’s also good that I’m treated in the same manner as everybody else rather than being singled out in the mainstream. I’ve had issues where I’ve been treated unfairly because of my sight before.
What type of cricketer are you?
All-rounder, I’ve become one of the best all-rounders in the world. Two years ago I was named best batsman at the tournament at the 40-over World Cup in South Africa, and in the domestic league, I broke the record for best bowling figures.
Who is your cricketing idol?
Growing up, it was definitely Brian Lara – you can’t get much better than him. He made everything look so effortless and easy, and I knew that was how I wanted to play. From my teenage years and into my twenties it would be Kevin Pietersen. He’s someone who can really take the game to the bowlers and change a game.
What was your best moment?
Being named ECB disability player of the year in 2015 is definitely up there for me – it was third time lucky! Six months before that, I was named B3 Batsman of the Tournament at the World Cup, taking on the Indian and Pakistani batsman and beating them to that, and being the top run scorer is something I am really proud of.
How proud are you to represent your country?
It's an unbelievable feeling, being able to represent my country. I come across as quite a fiery competitor, to the amusement of the rest of the team. When I’m at work, I’m very calm and relaxed, but I’m completely different on a cricket field. When I first started playing cricket, you want that aim as a kid of being able to play for England and represent your country in all sorts of competitions. When I was about 12 or 13, I said to one of the coaches, ‘I’m not going to stop until I’m the best in the world’. The next goal for me now is to push the team on to World Cup glory at the end of this month.
Captain: Luke Sugg