Brentwood School cricketer has not let deafness stop his sporting ambition

A Brentwood School cricketer has not let deafness stop his sporting ambitions.

Nisal Karunaratne, 15, an off-spinning all-rounder, has made four appearances for the full England Lions development team for the deaf.

Nisal, who taught himself to bowl on an all-weather tennis court, is partially deaf.

His hearing was permanently damaged when he was six months old after he contracted a superbug in a hospital in Sri Lanka.

Without an aid his hearing is 45 per cent of what it should be; with hearing aids it is 75 per cent.

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Since he started playing cricket competitively four years ago, he has been picked for the Brentwood School first XI, Essex County Cricket Club youth teams and now the Lions.

He said the main difficulty for deaf cricketers was not being able to hear teammates’ shouts which meant players had to be more alert and rely on their eyesight to see when the other batsman wanted to run.

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Nisal, who hopes to one day become a doctor, said: “Being selected for England was the best moment of my life. I felt like I could do anything in the world.

“My disability prevents me from getting on. What got me here is just a result of four years of training in the rain with my dad on a tennis court at weekends and after school.

“The sport is special to me because it is sort of linked to life. Some days are good, some bad. It gives you obstacles to overcome and it teaches you what life is about.”

Brentwood School’s director of sport Ian Wignall said: “It’s an incredible achievement and a testament to Nisal’s hard work, dedication and talent.”

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