Chris Porter's England Visually impaired team take on Australia this week
Mon, May 28, 2012 4:04 PM
This week ICC Regional Development Officer, Chris Porter takes up his role within the England Visually Impaired squad set-up as the Ashes series 2012 gets underway.
There are many courageous stories within the squad that Porter is honoured to work alongside, none other than 15-year-old Justin Hollingsworth who is hoping to make his debut this week. The right handed batsman from Leamington, was told at the age of three that he had retinitis pigmentosa; a rare eye disease and that one day he was going to lose his eyesight as there was no treatment.
Hollingsworth now plays for the Warwickshire Bears Visually Impaired cricket team, but it wasn't easy for Justin who was determined to follow his love of cricket previously playing at Arnold Lodge School and Leamington Cricket Club, before moving to the bears in 2009.
Justin Hollingsworth mother who has supported him throughout his life to play cricket said: "Justin was finding it increasingly difficult to continue with red ball cricket and, with his family's determination, eventually found the Warwickshire Bears Visually Impaired Cricket team. They quickly took him under their wing and that year, the summer of 2009, was his debut year."
Retinitis pigmentosa which affects 25,000 people in the UK is an eye disease in which there is damage to the retina, the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that converts light images to nerve signals and sends them to the brain. The Hollingsworth family have been fund-raising to find a much needed cure which as of yet there is not one.
Justin has had a fantastic rise to national squad and is an extremely talented individual, "Some of the Warwickshire team also played visually impaired international cricket with the England team and I was invited by some of the England squad to come along to have a trial with the international ball. Then in August 2011 I was picked to train and I've worked hard to keep my place ever since," said Hollingsworth.
Porter is looking to bring his experience as coach of the England VI set-up back to ICC Europe to help member countries develop disability cricket within Europe, there have already been some success stories within Bulgaria and their introduction of Table cricket as well Isle of Man hosting a disability Kwik cricket festival.
The fixtures for England VI:
30 May - England v Australia, First ODI, England v Australia, Malvern College (10.30am)
31 May - England v Australia, Second ODI, Malvern College (10.30am)
2 June - England v Australia, Third ODI, Warwick School (10.30am)
3 June - England v Australia, First Twenty20, Feckenham CC (1.30pm)
4 June - England v Australia, Second & Third Twenty20, Leamington CC (10.30am & 2.30pm)
5 June - England v Australia, Fourth Twenty20, Feckenham CC (10.30am)