ECB disabled cricketer of the year Umesh Valijee
from ECAD Secretary Sula Gleeson
Location: Lord's, London, 31 May 2011
Last night (31st May) our mighty Captain, Umesh Valjee was presented with the prestigious award of 'Disabled Player of the Year' by the ECB. Umesh, Bobby Denning (the elite squad's coach), Ian Martin (National Disability Cricket Manager) and myself went to Lords for the special dinner in the Long Room.
It was a star studded evening - well, cricket stars anyway. Many of the men's team were there, we even had KP (Kevin Pieterson) sitting on our table! The women's team were also there, along with several other notable names of the great and good of cricket.
Nasser Hussain MC'd the night, interviewing each recipient as they came on stage to receive their respective trophy - the 12th Man Moment of the Year, won by James Anderson, Women's Player of the Year, won by Lydia Greenway, Men's Player of the Year - Jonathon Trott and the Life Time Career in Cricket was awarded to Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff.
Umesh had his award presented to him by the England Captain, Andrew Strauss and was then asked a few questions by Nasser. Despite Umesh always claiming to be shy at such occasions, he did very well and raised a few laughs with the crowd. As the dinner drew to a close, many people came up to congratulate him, including, Andy Flower, Stephen Finn, Eoin Morgan, Jonathon Trott, Richard Halsall, Mike Gatting, Claire Taylor (who has started learning BSL!!) and Claire Connor. Before we were allowed to go home, Umesh was also interviewed for Sky Sports - which will be broadcast in the lunch break during the game this Friday (3rd), and also for ECB TV which is already on the website - take a look! (http://www.ecbtv.co.uk/video/20110531/trott-greenway-and-valjee-take-awards_2276250_2369828)
Ian Martin also organised an extra very special presentation before the beginning of the whole event. He had had Umesh's shirt and the three score cards that record each of his 100s from the recent Tri-Nations and Ashes Tour to Australia, framed. Ian had also managed to persuade KP to present it to him!! What an honour and great surprise for Umesh, and he was really happy to receive it - although not quite so happy to have to get it home!
It was a great evening that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks Ian for organising such a wonderful evening in such an amazing place. I wonder who the next Dear cricketer will be to be honoured in such a way!