Lancashire CCC’s Thomas Wilson might be one of the newest faces in England’s Learning Disabilities cricket team, but head coach Derek Morgan insists this won’t stop him throwing him in at the deep end Down Under.
Aged just 21, Wilson is a relative newcomer to the Three Lions environment having first joined up with the squad towards the end of last year after impressing in his debut season with Lancashire.
But despite having been around for only a few months, England Learning Disabilities cricket team coach Morgan has seen enough of Wilson to name him in his 15-strong squad heading to Australia.
England are set to take on Australia in four one day internationals and two T20 matches, the first of which gets going on March 17.
And while Wilson, a former Ripley Saint Thomas Church of England High School pupil, is yet to feature for England in an international clash, Morgan is not about to let that stand in his way with the youngster crucial to success both on and off the field.
“Tom is one of the most recent additions to the squad and I guess it’s fair to say that he has had a meteoric rise through the ranks,” Morgan said.
“He started playing disability cricket for Lancashire at the beginning of the 2014 season and by the end of the season had been included in England LD fixtures.
“He’s been working really hard and is a top-order batter that has forged a role for himself and is competing for a place in the playing group.
“He’s a really interesting young man and is completely dedicated and works exceptionally hard outside the squad to hone his skills.
“He has accessed a number of coaching opportunities to work in his own time and develop his own progression.
“He’s a well liked member of the squad as well and is really important for morale.”
Back in 2011 England’s Learning Disabilities cricket team whitewashed their Australian rivals 2-0 in a Tri-Nations competition, and Morgan believes lightning can strike twice with Wilson’s help.
“They are a fantastic group and it’s just about managing them well,” he added. “The added incentive of it being a traditional rivalry when we go out there in their environment is a fabulous challenge for me as a coach and for the players.
“I’m so excited by it and I think the players are feeling the same emotions and are really up for it.
“We are really confident that we are doing all we can do for our players and giving them the platform to go and play.
“If we do that then we will be very competitive and can make a real impact over there because I think this is the best prepared LD squad we have ever had in place.”
ECB is an inclusive organisation providing support and a pathway for disability cricket from grassroots to elite. Follow the England Learning Disability squad in Australia at www.ecb.co.uk. To find out how to get involved in Learning Disability cricket contact your local cricket board.