Brendon Parr (No 77) in a team huddle during a game on the B Ground next to the Modi Stadium<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent


CULLOMPTON captain Brendon Parr had his eyes opened to a whole new world of cricket while touring India with the England Disability squad.

One day the squad were training alongside the England Lions squad in the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad – the biggest cricket ground on the planet and venue for the 2023 World Cup final.

Contrast that with watching gangs of young cricket lovers playing pick-up games in parks from 7am in the morning with any equipment they could get their hands on!

It really was a world away from what 31-year-old Parr is used to in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League with B Division side Cullompton.

“From the moment we first arrived to the trip home it was a 100 per-cent experience of a lifetime,” said Parr.Brendon Parr hits out against India at Gujarat College

“The sights, the smells, the food – lots of chilies and noodles from breakfast onwards – it was a trip I will never forget.

“The cricket was different to what I was used to and, also I had a different role to my usual one.

“There is a possibility England might be going out to India again either later this year or early next year – and I would love to go again.”

England played five Twenty20 games against their Indian counterparts, who defeated them 3-2.

Parr said pitch conditions were a huge factor in all of the games and winning the toss was essential.

“Although all the games were close – no more than 20-25 runs in them either way – you really had to bat first to win,” said Parr.

“No one won batting second and we soon learned that 140-150 was a winning score as the pitches deteriorated quicky.

“Four of the pitches we played on were some sort of brown soil and one was like a red clay-based surface. There was not much bounce and the pitches were slower than I expected, especially second innings.

Brendon Parr ready for England action“The Indians loaded their teams with left-arm bowlers – two spinners, three seamers – and relied on changing the angle they bowled at more than moving the ball massively.”

Parr, whose reputation as a big hitter is well known up and down the Tolchards DCL, found himself tasked with a different role against India.

“I was being sent in a five, six or seven to try and see the innings through,” said Parr.

“It did not start too well – out second ball in the first game – but I had 32 not out off 20 balls in another and 17 off 11 as well.”

Parr said the Indian players had similar disabilities to the England players, but there was one notable difference.

“We learned a good 70 per cent of them were full-time cricketers … totally unlike us,” said Parr. 

“Even the guys who did have jobs were only part-timers as that left them three or four days to train and play.

“We did not get to spend too much time with the opposition until near the end of our trip when we went on a river cruise together and were able to chat with them. It was one of the few sightseeing trips we had.”

The first four games of the series were played on out grounds around Ahmedabad, such as Gujarat College and the Railway Ground. The last match was in the huge Narendra Modi Stadium in front of a crowd of around 3,000 spectators.

“It was a bit gutting that I did not get to play in the final game,” said Parr.

“One of the guys had announced it was going to retire at the end of the series – he had to play – and another was on his third tour and had never played in a game. So he was in. We won that game…”

That's out! Brendon Parr is run-out going for a second run at the end of the innings