Sheffield visually impaired cricketer Peter Blueitt insists England have returned home from the Blind World Cup more determined than ever to close the gap on the globe’s finest teams.
Blueitt and England fell to an eight-wicket defeat against Pakistan in the semi-finals in South Africa but recorded good wins over the hosts as well as Bangladesh and Australia along the way.
And 54-year-old Blueitt - who lost his sight in 2008 following an operation to remove a brain tumour - has faith in the young England side to carry on improving in the future.
“I was very pleased with how the tournament went,” he said. “It was a very enjoyable experience and as a team we did ourselves proud.
“The performances were great, and the youngsters were coming on really well. The coaching staff were exceptional as well; it was a really good tour all round.
“It was my second World Cup and I think it went better than the first in all aspects. I knew what to expect a bit more and felt at ease with things.
“It is a little disappointing not to win it, and we were hoping to do a bit better but that’s how it is and the performance was very positive.
“We’ve made a lot of steps forward in recent months and did well against some tough teams. The Pakistanis and the Indians are still a league ahead at the moment and we need to catch-up somehow, but we are getting closer and working hard.”
England’s semi-final conquerors in South Africa, Pakistan, were beaten by India in the final with the newly-crowned world champions due to tour British shores next year.
And, following the response England received both in South Africa and back home, Blueitt believes competition for places is only going to grow by next summer.
“Everyone was very welcoming there and we had a massive response on social media with people supporting us,” he added.
“That means a lot and will be beneficial in terms of more people playing the game. It’s good to think that we might inspire people to get involved and I’d recommend starting playing to anyone. I just played the best I could in the tournament, and I thought I played well, better than I did in the last World Cup as I was more settled.
“I got a few wickets and loved the experience. I want to stay involved as long as I can, but for the time being the Indians are coming over next May and I want to play in that.”
The England Blind team’s next tournament will be in May 2015, taking on defending champions India in England.
If you would like more information about Blind Cricket or to find your nearest club visit www.bcew.co.uk.