A TALENT disabled cricketer will spend his 18th birthday in Dubai after being selected for a series against Pakistan.
Liam Thomas, from Hunsworth, was born without part of his right leg, but his prodigious displays as a wicket keeper caught the attention of a national selector.
For the last two years, Liam has been part of the disabled Yorkshire County Cricket team.
Before Christmas, Liam received a phone call offering him the chance to travel to Dubai as part of the England Disability Team to take part in a series of Twenty 20 and one-day matches against their Pakistan counterparts.
Liam is due to fly out on February 5 – two days before the Huddersfield New College pupil turns 18.
“I was on the bus to college when I got a phone call,” Liam said.
“The head coach said that I was picked and I didn’t know what to say. All my mates were chuffed and couldn’t believe I would be playing for my country.”
Liam first got involved with cricket as a 12-year-old when a friend’s father spotted him bowling at a barbecue.
From there, Liam took up wicket keeping and has not looked back.
Liam said: “I just thought it was a bit of fun.
“I started to get pretty good and I was able to have the opportunity to play for the county disability team.
“Last year, they selected a development squad of 15 players and I got picked to go with them.
“We’ve been training every month and I have a gym programme as well. I love the game and I have met some great people.
“I can’t wait to get out to Dubai. Time is going really slowly now and I just want to get out there.”
Liam will spend 17 days away from his family – who will celebrate his coming-of-age upon his return to Spen.
Despite his success in the crease, Liam has had to overcome so many obstacles since he was given a prosthetic leg as a young child.
Liam’s attitude is an inspiration to his parents Joanne and Graham and sister, Hayley.
Joanne said: “He is a very determined and loves sport, whether he is watching or playing it. If someone had said on the day he was born, that 18 years later he would be playing cricket for England in Dubai, I would have thought they were having a laugh.”
Dad Graham added: “We are all just really proud of him from the set-back he had when he was born, to get where he is now. I think he can go a lot further in the game if he puts his mind to it.”
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