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Disability Cricket: Cricket opens plenty of new doors for Fred Bridges

Age: 27

Team: England Physical Disability

How has your winter with the England Physical Disability squad gone?

We had training camps at Edgbaston in Birmingham throughout winter and then in March, we went out to the Desert Springs resort in Spain in March to do fitness and skills-based training.

We also had some early pre-season matches a couple of months ago.

You’re hoping to be named in the squad for July’s Vitality T20 Tri-Series against Pakistan and Bangladesh. What sort of challenge awaits you?

In 2015, we won the T20 tournament in Bangladesh, which was a really good achievement for the team, and then in 2016 in Dubai, we got through to the final against Pakistan but unfortunately we lost – it was still a good series to be involved with.

This is our first home international series, so it’s a really good opportunity to see how we go on home soil. I’ve been involved in England Physical Disability cricket for about eight years and we’ve been on about four or five overseas tours, but this is the first one in England. To get the opportunity to play in front of friends and family is amazing.

How different a prospect is it be to the home nation in a series?

It will be different because we’ve had a lot more time to prepare as a team – we’ve probably had a lot more contact time over the last six months. The team’s gelling really nicely and we’re just trying to work out our tactics for approaching Twenty20 cricket in England.

You’re a left-arm bowler. What sort of role do you play for England?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a few different roles in the team. I’ve opened the bowling, I’ve bowled middle overs and I’ve bowled the death overs as well.

I fit in anywhere, really!

The luxury of our team is that we’ve got quite a few bowling options and anyone can bowl at any particular time, so that’s a real challenge that we face, trying to get our formula right so that we challenge everyone.

A few months ago, you were part of the official launch for the new England Twenty20 kit and modelled it alongside a number of top England players. What kind of experience was that?

I got invited down to the kit launch in Peckham with Joe Root, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow.

That was really good to be involved with and also to see how those guys operate.

It was an incredible opportunity. To be involved in such a high-profile event like that is just incredible.

It shows how far the disability game has come on and the profile it’s got now – we get so much support from the ECB and that’s amazing.

Was it one of those moments that highlighted just how far your England career has taken you?

Growing up, you always had your idols on the TV but you never really believed that you could be in a position where you could represent your country. You do pinch yourself.

In the last couple of years, I’ve gone to Downing Street, met lots of players from the world of cricket, and had some amazing opportunities travelling the world.

Disability cricket has given me great opportunities to go to new countries, meet new people and develop important life skills.

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