Liam Thomas on return England trip to Dubai

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Liam Thomas during an England training session Liam Thomas during an England training session

Hunsworth's Liam Thomas insists lightning will not strike twice against Pakistan in Dubai this month as he and England head back much improved from his last trip.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Thomas has been chosen as part of the 15-man England physical disability side for their second international tour, which sees them play a one-day international and Twenty20 series against the Pakistanis.

The 20-year-old, who plays for Scholes in the Central Yorkshire League, is not heading into the unknown, having been a part of the maiden tour to Dubai two years ago.

On that occasion the squad claimed a one-day international victory against Pakistan but they were eventually beaten by their more experienced opponents in both the 40-over and 20-over series.

Two years on, and with six new faces in the party, Thomas is hoping to see England exact some revenge, with the former Whitcliffe Mount Business and Enterprise College pupil grateful for his previous experience second time around.

Thomas, who had his lower right leg amputated shortly after birth, said: “I went on the last tour when I was 18 but now I’m 20 I’m a bit older, wiser and stronger.

“I think my fitness has improved and I’ve worked really hard on my batting over the past few years.

“When I bat, sometimes if I move my foot too far across my stumps I might get caught LBW because I’m falling over a bit, but it’s not a major hindrance.

“And when I keep wicket I don’t have the ability to push hard on my right leg, so if the bowlers send the ball to that side I can’t push towards it. I just tell them not to bowl that side!”

With six uncapped players in this year’s touring party, Thomas’ previous experience and knowledge of Dubai will certainly come in handy to those new faces.

He admits the chance to play more of a leadership role this time around is something he is relishing.

“I’m quite a big character on the team and even though I’m only 20, the new guys are still asking for advice” he said.

“You want to take every bit of information that you can get. Sometimes you don’t want that from a young kid but they’re a good set of lads and listen to what I have to say.

“We’ll be facing a lot of spin when we play Pakistan. In a way it’s a good thing that we know a little bit about them before we go out, so that will help us when we’re over there – especially with six or seven lads who have been before.

“We can help the new lads settle in as we know what to expect when we’re out there in terms of conditions and facilities.”

Follow the England physical disability squad in the UAE at www.ecb.co.uk.

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