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Afshari Receives First England Call As Turnham Returns

3rd December 2015

The England squad in June 2014

Kent Spitfires B1 Amin Afshari has been called up to an England squad for the first time as England head to Australia in January for the 2016 Blind Cricket Ashes.

Astonishingly Afshari, a former Great Britain Athletics & Goalball International, had never played blind cricket in any form before starting to train with Kent in January 2015, less than 11 months before his England call-up.

He said: “It is an honour not only to have been invited to the England team after playing only one domestic season but, more significantly, to be selected as part of the England Squad to represent England in The Lord’s Taverners International Blind Cricket series in Australia is truly amazing, which no doubt, further validates the much understated phrase: 'hard work always pays off'.”

Mark Turnham, another B1, returns to the squad for the first time since 2008. The Warwickshire Bear isn’t the only returning player, with Metro’s Amit Amin and Mark Bond also coming back into the squad after missing the home series versus India this summer.

Turnham commented: “I am proud to be selected into the squad after over 5 years away. It is an honour to represent my country again.”

Two of England’s squad from that India series, Nathan Foy (soon to become a father for the second time) and Matt Page (concentrating on athletics for the time being) were unavailable for selection so join Kelvin Duncan and Joshua Nonet-Black in missing out on the tour.

This is the fourth Blind Cricket Ashes Series, England won at home in 2004 and in Australia in 2008 before the Aussies swept to a 3-0 win on English soil in 2012.

The two sides have faced each other in four matches since the 2012 Ashes and England have won all of those encounters, two in the 2012 Twenty20 Series between the sides and then group stage matches at both the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup and the 2014 One Day World Cup. At both of those World Cups, England finished fourth with Australia fifth, so the Ashes look set to be closely contested.

England Head Coach Ross Hunter told the ECB Website:

“This is the strongest team that I have had the pleasure to select. The players have been chosen based on the quality of their skill, their commitment to self-improvement and their devotion to the team. There were some very difficult decisions and some very good cricketers unfortunately missed out.”

“It is with pleasure that we have welcomed players back to the squad and given opportunities to some exciting new prospects. A series between England and Australia is always going to be tough, the players are looking forward to the challenge.”

Full England Squad

B1

Amin Afshari (Kent Spitfires)
Amit Amin (London Metro)
Hassan Khan (London Metro)
Mark Turnham (Warwickshire Bears)
Mo Khatri (Warwickshire Bears)
Peter Blueitt (Former Yorkshire VICC)

B2

Mark Bond (London Metro)
Matt Dean (London Metro, One Day Captain)
Rob Comber (London Metro)
Si Ledwith (Sussex Sharks)

B3

Dan Field (Sussex Sharks)
Ed Hossell (Somerset VICC)
Jimmy Millard (Sussex Sharks)
Justin Hollingsworth (Warwickshire Bears)
Luke Sugg (Warwickshire Bears, Twenty20 Captain)

Tour Itinerary

All Matches in January 2016 at Park 25, Adelaide, Australia

Australia VI v England VI

Friday 22nd
1st Twenty20 International

Saturday 23rd
1st One Day International

Sunday 24th
2nd One Day International

Tuesday 26th
3rd One Day International

Wednesday 27th
4th One Day International

Friday 29th
5th One Day International

Saturday 30th
2nd Twenty20 International

Sunday 31st
3rd Twenty20 International

Mark Turnham