The National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) will take place for a fourth consecutive year in Geelong with more than 250 of Australia's most talented cricketers with a disability competing at the tournament from January 13 - 17.All states will be represented across the four divisions at the championships including blind or low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, and cricketers with an intellectual disability at nine venues in the city of Greater Geelong.South Australia are reigning champions in the deaf and hard of hearing division, whilst New South Wales will be looking to back up their 2019 blind and low vision title.
In the intellectual disability division, Victoria are the defending champions and for the first time ever, two deaf women's teams, Victoria and the All Stars (comprised of players from Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Australia Capital Territory), will compete for the 'Melissa Hale Trophy' in a three-match series.Following these championships, a national blind and low vision squad will be selected and begin preparations for a tour of England in June 2020, and the national deaf and hard of hearing squad will begin preparations for a World Cup in November.Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager of Community Cricket, Belinda Clark said: "With one in five Australians having a disability, it is important to provide meaningful opportunities for all Australians to play cricket and reach their full potential.""The NCIC provides cricketers from across the country an opportunity to represent their state or territory, which is a tremendous honour, but to do so alongside other cricketers identified as the best in the nation is particularly special. A representative of the pathway that now exists for cricketers with a disability, beginning with club cricket, these championships, through to our national disability squads," Clark added.National Inclusion Ambassador for Cricket Australia, Nathan Lyon said: "I've seen some amazing performances over the years from cricketers with a disability and this week in Geelong will be no exception. Their skill, passion and love for the game is an inspiration to all Australian cricketers.
Making cricket more accessible to people from all walks of life is something I am particularly passionate about. A tournament like the NCIC is a wonderful example of how cricket truly is a sport for all Australians," he added.
The Commonwealth Bank has been actively committed to the ongoing promotion and celebration of Australia's favourite summer pastime for almost 30 years. As part of its partnership with Cricket Australia, the Commonwealth Bank helps to fund the country's national disability teams, providing access to the same high-performance support that other elite representative cricket teams receive.
In addition, Cricket Australia, in partnership with Cricket Victoria, acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government in delivering the Championships through the Significant Sporting Events Program.
The NCIC will start in Geelong on January 13 and conclude on January 17.
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