Horsham cricketer Fred Bridges is older and wiser than he was two years ago – and he is determined to spin England to success in Dubai this month.
Bridges has been an important part of the England Physical Disability squad since its inception in 2010, taking his place in a competitive spin section. The 23-year-old, who plays his cricket for Broadbridge Heath, was on the plane in 2012 when England went to Dubai for their first international tour to face Pakistan.
England picked up just one win on that occasion but, two years down the line and with far more thorough preparation this time around, Bridges expects a different set of results altogether.
“I think I know my game a lot better,” he said. “As a spinner I have been working hard with my action and been trying to get some more variation with it. From a physical point of view I have got stronger and know my game a lot better than I did two years ago so hopefully we will be able to put in some good performances. We have a really good chance. We have a mixture of youth and experience and we have made a few additions to the squad – powerful hitters and dynamic fielders. So it’s really shaping up well at the moment. Last time it did take a bit of turn and it’s a great opportunity with some good batsmen so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Bridges, who has right-sided hemiplegia, started playing cricket at the age of nine and joined the England Physical Disability setup when it was in its infancy. As an experienced member of the squad, and one of nine players undertaking their second international tour, Bridges believes he can draw on the 2012 tour when the pressure is on.
“It was really good,” he added. “Obviously it was the first time the boys were out there so it was a brand new experience. We all learnt a lot from that tour and this time around we have a lot more experience and hopefully we can come back with a win. My job as a spinner is to tie the batsman down and get some wickets – I’m looking to bowl tight overs and pick up wickets. If I am needed in the back end of the innings to get some runs I am happy to do that too. Hopefully we can come back with a trophy.”
Follow the England Physical Disability squad in the UAE at www.ecb.co.uk