CRICKETER Gordon Laidlaw has been called up by England to face Pakistan in the first ever international physical disabilities series.
Laidlaw, 31, will travel to Dubai in February as part of a 15-man England squad that will play three 40-over and two Twenty20 matches against Pakistan at the ICC Global Cricket Academy.
The Sprotbrough Cricket Club all-rounder is expected to open the batting for his country after proving himself to be a big hit for Yorkshire’s disabled side.
Laidlaw, of Adwick-le-Street, told the Free Press: “It’s a dream come true to be selected by England.
“As a club cricketer you never really think you’ll get the opportunity to play at international level but here I am four months away from going to Dubai and playing against Pakistan.
“It’s a great honour for me, especially given that this is the first series of its kind.
“The hardest thing will be adapting to the conditions and the heat we’ll have to contend with out there - I’ve already started running in the gym with five layers on to prepare!”
Laidlaw, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, made his England debut earlier this year after a number of eye-catching displays for Yorkshire.
He smashed a sensational unbeaten 170 against Warwickshire to alert selectors.
He is one of two White Rose players to make the final squad, along with Liam Thomas.
The historic series between England and Pakistan will be the first to take place between two teams of physically disabled players that are recognised and endorsed by the governing body of cricket in their country.
Ian Martin, national disability cricket manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: “It is just reward for our talented squad of players to be able to compete at the highest level and fantastic for the profile of disability cricket that matches will take place at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, at the same time England’s senior side also play in the UAE.
“I hope the series will inspire many other children with disabilities to choose cricket.”