Blindcaps Aussie bound

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NZ Blindcaps Andrew McDonald and Donna McCaskill, of Ashburton, are heading to Oz for an eight match cricket series.

An Ashburton trio have been named in the New Zealand Blindcaps cricket team.

Andrew McDonald, Donna McCaskill and Deacan Dunn will don the black shirts when New Zealand take on Australia in an eight match series in Brisbane from June 8 to 17.

There will be five T20 matches, and three one day internationals.

Donna, who is also team manager, has spent the past few weeks getting together a team for the series, which has seen New Zealand a last minute fill-in team for England, unable to attend.

‘‘It’s a reasonably good team,’’ she said, also helped by the addition of Donna’s sons; Deacan, 21, of Ashburton, and Marquele, 23, of Auckland.

Deacan will co-captain with Mark Flowerday, of Christchurch. The coach is Brett Wilson.

Both co captains are in the B3 category (partially blind) and were part of the 2018 NZA Development Team, 2019 Bangladesh Series and 2020 South Africa Series.

Deacan was also a part of the T20 World Cup team in 2017.

Donna and Andrew, both 42, are rated B3 and B1 (totally blind) respectively. They have been playing blind cricket locally, or at international level for at least 20 years.

Andrew, originally from Peel Forest, spent many years living in Auckland where many blind sports are played.

Cricket was his summer option and a good team sport to play, he said.

His strength is in the field where he can confidently run and accurately pinpoint where the ball – made of plastic with audible rattle – stops rolling.

Donna, who hails from Auckland and has been in Ashburton for just the past 20 months, also has been involved heavily in blind sport.

She is also on the Blind Low Vision New Zealand board, and is vice chairperson of Blind Sport NZ.

The Australian series is one of two international trips the Blindcaps are set to take part in this year. The other is the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in India at the end of the year.

She plays wicket keeper and her voice helps direct the bowlers aim.

Donna McCaskill and Andrew McDonald look forward to the trans Tasman cricket series.

The Australian series is a great build-up in preparation for the world cup in November, Donna said.

Players will mostly be self-funding their trips but had begun fundraising ahead of the World Cup in India, and ramped up efforts with Australia now added to their annual tour.

They have set up a NZ Blindcaps Givealittle page but have also received some community support in the past few days with a donation from Mayfield and District Lions Club ($500) as well as from AgStaff, where both Donna and Andrew work.

Andrew is frequently seen around Ashburton walking with his guide dog, Carla, who will not be joining him while he is on tour.

Blind cricket is played by 10 cricket nations New Zealand, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

Players are divided into three sight classifications decided by their level of blindness. A team is made up of four B1s (totally blind), three B2s (partially sighted) and four B3s (partially blind).

Players who are totally blind wear blacked out glasses to ensure consistency in the category and have a runner when batting.

When it comes to batting, batters are listening out for the sound of the ball and a call from the bowler once its delivered.

But if it’s missed timed – or if the bowler is able to spin the ball to make no sound – it can catch out the batter. The stumps are metal for audibility.

The first two games on the tour are T20s which will be played under lights on June 8, and are expected to be livestreamed. Check out the NZBlindcaps Facebook page for details.