FONTWELL’S Jonathan Dakic says the chance to take on Australia with the England Learning Disabilities cricket team is a dream come true.
Dakic is one of 15 players selected by head coach Derek Morgan to travel to Melbourne for the INAS international series between Australia and England.
The series will comprise four one-day internationals and two T20 matches and will be the first time the two sides have met since the 2011 tri-nations, with the first match taking place on March 17.
On that occasion England picked up two wins out of two against the Aussies in South Africa and 20-year-old Dakic, who turns out for Eastergate Cricket Club, is optimistic his side can repeat the trick this time around.
“I didn’t think I would ever have the chance to play at this level and it’s a dream come true to be doing it,” he said.
“I think playing for England is one of the highlights of my life. I love being with the team no matter if that’s on the field or in our own time. It’s a great bunch and I feel lucky to be part of it.
“I’m very excited about going and I think it’s going to be really enjoyable for us all.
“They are going to be a really tough side and we know that to beat them we will have to be at our very best.
“But we are preparing well and making sure we work hard to reach our potential and if we do that then I think we can get good results.”
Dakic, who has asperger syndrome and dyslexia, began playing cricket in 2005 after being inspired by England’s 2-1 Ashes victory over Australia and has since gone on to represent Sussex. And he admits that he never thought he would have the chance to emulate his cricketing heroes... until now.
“I played for my club and then after six years started playing LD cricket and got scouted from there and came into the England set-up,” Dakic added.
“I’ve been playing for England for three years now and started in cricket about ten years ago after watching the Ashes in 2005.
“I enjoyed it and started to play myself so to think that I’m going to play Australia now is amazing. I’m really excited to head out there and take part in a great rivalry.
“I would say playing in this team is more or less the same as another but the main difference is I feel that other teams don’t really understand our disabilities.
“Everyone knows and understands each other and will ask what’s wrong instead of why aren’t you playing well. Everyone is more relaxed and I think playing ld cricket has helped me to be more confident because I can speak to anyone now and feel open and take that everywhere else.”
* 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.