A CHRISTLETON cricketer has been barred from England’s Deaf Ashes series – on the grounds that he is not deaf enough.
Australia challenged the severity of Little Heath skipper Paul Allen’s disability just an hour before the first Test began.
An audiogram reading showed his average hearing in his better ear – the measure for deafness in sport – was 0.4 of a decibel above the 55dB limit for deaf players, meaning England had to send Allen home.
The 23-year-old, who was born deaf due to nerve damage in his ear, said: “I have never been so upset because someone told me my hearing was too good.
“I am disappointed because I have played for England for six years and been measured in that time. While I have always been borderline it has never been a problem before.”
What has made the situation worse is that the English Cricket Association for the Deaf (ECAD) knew about Allen’s results three months ago but selected him anyway.
“I feel let down,” said Allen, of Winsford. “ECAD have had my test results for three months so to be told while in the pre-match warm-up I couldn’t play was hard to take.
“I can blame the Aussies for gamesmanship for contesting the audiogram so late, but if they knew it didn’t meet the standard why didn’t ECAD know three months ago?”
Ian Martin, national disability cricket manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: “Following an audiogram relating to the England bowler Paul Allen the Australian team raised a challenge to his eligibility for the Ashes series for deaf cricketers.
“Australia suggested that the hearing loss was not severe enough to qualify for the inclusion in the England team.
“As a result it was decided by the England team management to withdraw him from the squad. England are now awaiting opinion as to his level of hearing loss.
“When this expert opinion is received the matter will be considered further.”
The tour, which began this week in Southport, is made up of two three-day Tests, a Twenty20 match and four one-day internationals.
To warm up, England’s deaf team took on a Christleton Select XI featuring Allen at Little Heath on Sunday and lost by three wickets, the Chester side taking the winning runs from the last ball.
Now Allen has been forced out of the Ashes series, it means he won’t have to miss any of Christleton’s forthcoming Cheshire County League games.
Rick Moore took over the club captaincy last Saturday. Christleton visited third-placed Poynton, who declared on 171-5 (Iroshan de Silva 3-38) in a rain-reduced game. Poynton then restricted Christleton to 108-9 (Iroshan de Silva 52) and a losing draw.