A WIRRAL cricketer is part of the England Men’s Physical Disability team which begins a five-game tour of India this week.

Danny Hamm, a primary school teacher who plays for New Brighton, has been included in the squad who will play five IT20 matches in Ahmedabad and Udaipur over the next few weeks. 

The series is the first international cricket for the England Men’s PD team since 2019.

"It's been a long time coming," said Danny, who teaches at Black Horse Hill Infant School in West Kirby.

"We had Covid and the ECB told us there was a high risk for us visiting certain countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"We got beaten by India in 2019 but we really wanted to push on as a team and I feel we have done now but just haven't shown it on the international stage.

"I've been training during the winter with Chris Edwards, who is also from the Wirral as is captain of England's Disability side and with Brad Donelan (former Sussex player) at Wirral Grammar School on Thursday nights."

The England players have a range of disabilities from prosthetic limbs to titanium knee replacements while Danny, who is 29, has cerebral palsy.

"I was born six weeks premature and with mild cerebral palsy," he said. "In my line of work, which is teaching children, I try to tell them that anything is possible - for me the thought of being able to get into international sport was something I never thought I'd be able to do but being a part of disability cricket since I was 16 has enabled me to travel to places like Dubai and Bangladesh and win games for my country - it's been amazing. 

"The cerebral palsy mainly affects my balance and co-ordination because my left side is weaker than my right side. I bowl left handed but bat right handed but the beauty of disability cricket is you have these problems and you learn how to work around them so you know which shots you are able to play and which you can't.

"There are lots of disabilities in the team from amputees to lads who've had bone cancer but we all adapt and overcome our disabilities and make it work.

"You're in an environment where you know you can be open with each other, discuss things freely and all help one another. It's a great place to be."

There are four England disability teams, all of whom compete in international series both home and abroad. Teams containing physical disability, learning disability, hearing and visual impairments play regularly with domestic fixtures and foreign tours.

"I played a lot of football when I was younger before moving over to cricket," said Danny. "There was something about the team ethic and culture - I could spent time in the clubhouse late and night, enjoying a drink and having a laugh and a joke and those were the things I cherished.

"It felt like people there wanted to help you rather than get one over on you - there are unsung heroes at every club who will go that extra mile and that's what I want to do. You're not judged on your character but in what you can bring to the team.

"The game has brought me so many opportunities that I'm thankful for and I'd like children to realise there are opportunities out there with lots of sport not just cricket."

A tour of India is often regarded as the toughest test of an international player with England's senior side about to get a taste of why the hosts have not lost a home series for over a decade. For Danny and his teammates, the task is no less difficult for reasons both on and off the field. 

"Of course you are anxious and apprehensive but I think the excitement takes over," he said. "We've been to Bangladesh before and I think that broadened our horizons hugely so I think we're a lot more prepared for India.

"We are going in there with the full confidence that we can win a series - we know that it will be tough but we are one big family and very close knit. 

"It's not like the pro game where you might get a lot of different egos - we're all open and honest and have a similar story about struggling in life and making the best of the situation."

England Men’s PD captain Callum Flynn certainly believes that Danny, a slow-left arm bowler, can find success on India's traditional spinning wickets.

“Danny’s the character of the group, he’s the joker," said Callum. "He’s a Liverpool lad, full of jokes, and if we have a defeat he’ll be the one we lean on to get the lads back in a happy mood and looking forward to playing again.

"He’s a very experienced left-arm off-spinner that can dart it in and also give it a rip. He’ll probably bowl in the Power Play and at the back end as well.”

"I'm really hoping I can do a job for the team," added Danny. "We've got a squad full of many talents from up and down the country and we're all striving for the one goal of beating India."


England Men's Physical Disability Team India Tour Fixtures

Sunday 28 January India v England, Narendra Modi Stadium, 10am 

Tuesday 30 January India v England, Narendra Modi Stadium, 10am 

Thursday 1 February India v England, Gujarat College, 10am 

Saturday 3 February India v England, Railway Ground, 10am 

Tuesday 6 February India v England, Narendra Modi Stadium, 10am