A Stockport cricketer has been re-called for England for The Deaf Cricket World Cup.

36 year old James Dixon who has been deaf since birth, will pack his bags for Qatar next month for his second world cup.

After picking up a bat aged just 4 he never looked back, breaking into the senior Southport & Birkdale team at 13, and progressing quickly through the ranks earning a first England call-up for the 2005 for the World Cup in India. The Formby resident is a talented all-rounder and committed marathon runner and plays cricket for Sefton Park, Lancashire’s Cricket Foundation Disability D40’s, the MCC and England.

He played 4 games and cemented his place in 2006 to face Pakistan in two ODI’s and a 20/20 clash. Since then, he has faced South Africa, Pakistan and even the big on in terms of cricket, an Ashes series against the old enemy Australia. England were runners up to Pakistan in their last World Cup in 2016, in Dubai.

Eight teams will take part in the tournament and according to Dixon progress could be tricky with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India in their Group A: “India and Pakistan are the favourites to win the World Cup because Cricket is their national sport for Deaf people, India and Pakistan have around 30 Deaf teams over there compared to us in England who has around four Deaf teams because Football is the number one sport for Deaf people in UK.”

He juggles his playing commitments with a full time job as a school officer for Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Events and is a Disability Sports Coach with Pantathlon Challenge UK, which provides sporting opportunities for children with disabilities and special educational needs in a variety of sports. The England International is open about the challenges for Deaf athletes: “Communication is the main challenge because of my Deafness, when facing a mainstream cricket environment, I have to lip read instead of using sign language like I would within a deaf cricket environment.”

Cricket and social life are centred around communication and understanding one another: “Sometimes I was really struggling to watch their lips while discussing in a group or working as part of a team about on-field teamwork and communication, I find it difficult to understand what they said about our plans as how to win the game.

Sometimes I struggle in mainstream social groups when chatting if there is a lack of deaf awareness in the environment, but if anyone has the knowledge or understanding about Deaf Awareness, I feel comfortable getting involved with them.

“Mental Health is the main risk factor for Deaf people in the community and outside of cricket because of the communication issues between hearing people and Deaf people when hearing people cannot sign aren’t Deaf aware to the Deaf people.

We need to be getting engaged together and support each other as to teach and communicate with Deaf people in social interactions and build up our relationships together.”

Playing in the World Cup means putting his business cap on, and after securing a bat deal, he’s now on the look out for more sponsors.