BENDIGO’S Zac Sheehan says he is ready and in-form to help Victoria to victory at the National Cricket Inclusion Championships.
The 21-year-old will be representing his home state for the sixth-time in the blind and low vision division, when the championships hit-off in Geelong next week.
He has also represented Queensland once.
Sheehan is intent on making amends for a gut-wrenching three-run loss, which handed New South Wales the title at last year’s championships.
“One of our blokes got caught … he tried to smack a six, but one of their fielders ran from about four-deep and took a great catch. That’s cricket,” he said.
Sheehan, who was born with no retinas - a condition called retinal dystrophy – is no stranger to championship success.
The former Australian representative has been a part of two championship wins for Victoria and would like nothing better than to return the Vics to the peak of the inclusion cricket mountain.
The talented all-rounder, who took up cricket when he was 14, has enjoyed a remarkable eight years in the sport.
He has travelled to New Zealand to represent Australia, and played in the Ashes against England.
Sheehan has this season taken on extra responsibility with his Melbourne club St Paul’s, after being named captain of its predominantly young side.
“It’s a bit different overseeing over rates and who will bowl,” he said.
“But I’m well and truly enjoying my cricket as much as I was when I started.
“We haven’t got a win this year, so we’ll work on that. We’ve got two games left to go in the season, so the aim is to get a win.
“We have a very young squad – there’s only one player over 25 and he’s 49.”
Sheehan spent his childhood working with Vision Australia and Guide Dogs Australia to help navigate his way through life, learning about everything from cooking and mobility access in the home, to road safety awareness and transport.
Two years ago, he joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and now receives additional funding to support him in daily life, including funding for assistive technology, occupational therapy and for a personal trainer who helps him find his way around the gym.
“I didn’t know a lot about the NDIS when it first came to Bendigo, so I did a bit of research, got connected with my local office and went through what my needs would be,” he said.
“Having no sight in the long run, you actually need a lot more help to teach you how to live your life, and I will have that extra support now.”
But for Sheehan, it’s the extra sessions in the gym that are having the most impact.
Alongside playing every Saturday in Melbourne, Sheehan has put in extra work in the gym and the training track this pre-season to improve his fitness.
“For this carnival I’ve done a lot of work in the pre-season and also in training, the coaches want to move me up the batting order,” he said.
The National Cricket Inclusion Championships will showcase Australia’s most talented blind and low vision and deaf and hard of hearing cricketers, and cricketers with an intellectual disability.
The championships will run fro January 21-25.