HUNSWORTH lad Liam Thomas has returned from a tour with the England Disability Cricket Team as The Man – in more ways than one.
Not only did the talented wicket keeper turn 18 while away for the series against Pakistan, in Dubai – he was also named Man of the Series.
Liam, who was born without part of his right leg and uses a prosthesis, also had the chance to train with England stars such as Kevin Pieterson, Stuart Broad and Jos Buttler.
The teenager celebrated his birthday on the day the team arrived in Dubai – and was presented with a birthday card and bottle of bubbly at the airport.
However, he did not have time for revelry – the team got down to the serious business of training and playing straight right away.
Over 17-days, Liam and his team mates took on their Pakistan counterparts in two 20/20 games and three 40-over tests, where the youngster made a big impression.
“I couldn’t believe it when they told me I was Man of the Series. I was so shocked,” Liam said.
“My wicket keeping got better as I went on and it’s probably the best I’ve ever played. I was also batting quite well too.”
He certainly made an impact on one of the older Pakistani players, who contacted him after the series to say he was an ‘inspiration’.
Liam explained: “He had seen me running and said he wanted to run like me. We had a chat and he told me ‘I want to run like you do’.
“I’m happy I’m a motivation for him and want help people as much as I can. I wasn’t expecting it at all though.”
Despite his success, Liam is very modest about his considerable talent.
He hopes to be involved with the disabled team for six matches this summer, as well as any future tours. On Tuesday, he was named vice-captain of the Yorkshire County Disabled Cricket team.
Proud mum Joanne added: “Considering the journey he has been on since he was little, this was the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake. He has a very supportive family and excellent role models who encourage him all the way.”
Liam. who is studying at New College, Huddersfield, belatedly celebrated his birthday with his friends and family at a party at Scholes Cricket Club last Saturday.