England captain, Alastair Cook, took time out of his ICC Champions Trophy 2013 campaign to play cricket with 20 young Blind and Visually Impaired (VI) cricketers.
Cook delighted the young fans from Cricket for Change (C4C) and the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) with an hour long session on Monday (10th June), at the Cricket Change HQ in Wallington, near Croydon.
Mark Bong, C4C's and RLSLB's 'Sports without Limits' coach, tutored the England captain. Bond, who also plays for the England Blind Cricket Team, taught Alistair Cook how to play Blind Cricket whilst wearing special VI simulation glasses, to give him a sense of what it would be like to be visually impaired.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Alistair Cook said: "The kids here are clearly as mad about cricket as I was at their age. It's great that RLSB and Cricket for Change run this group so they can excel at a sport they love playing, regardless of their visual impairment."
Mark Bond,Â said: "The kids couldn't believe that they were stood on the pitch they play on nearly every week with the England Captain. Alastair was fantastic with them. I know they will remember this day forever."
Fresh from England's recent ICC Champions Trophy win over Australia, Cook then gave a batting master class to the group, followed by a presentation of signed bats. The visit was part of Yorkshire Bank's 'Giving Bat to You' campaign whichÂ rewards fans for supporting cricket and aims to get more people picking up a bat and playing the sport in their communities this summer.
Andy Dalby-Welsh, C4C's Director of Operations, said: "Our close partnership with the RLSB in the 'Sports without Limits'programme is very important to us. So, to have the opportunity of being able to meet Alistair Cook, England Captain and one of the best batsman in the world through this partnership has been fantastic.
"The time that Alistair spent playing some VI cricket at the C4C Cricket Centre with our blind and visually impaired young people was such a great inspiration to them." Â Â Â