Arnold Lodge School pupil Justin Hollingsworth was left awestruck by his first taste of World Cup cricket after helping England’s visually impaired team to the semi-final of the inaugural T20 competition in Bangalore, India.
Inspired by texts and tweets from Alistair Cook, England overcame a difficult start to the group phase, eventually reaching the last four where they went down to Pakistan.
Hollingsworth got his first taste of World Cup cricket against Bangladesh, but his debut was wrecked by rain which washed out the game in the second over.
He scored 11 in defeat to Sri Lanka before featuring in a match-winning partnership alongside Matt Dean against South Africa which lifted England to their first victory of the tournament.
Dean scored an unbeaten 139 while Hollingsworth weighed in with 69 as England amassed a commanding 265 for one on their way to an 85-run success.
Nepal, Australia, and West Indies were then brushed aside before Pakistan proved far too strong in the semi-final.
Hollingsworth chipped in with 17 to round off a promising tournament for the 16-year-old and he said it was a trip he will never forget.
“It was a great experience for me,” said Hollingsworth. “Training and travelling to India with the squad, being greeted at the airport in Bangalore by hundreds of supporters and then on to the opening ceremony in Bangalore.
“What a a feeling. It will stay with me for the rest of my life.
“So many turned out to wish all the teams good luck in the World Cup.”
More than 5,000 fans turned out for the final which saw India overcome Pakistan by 29 runs.
For Hollingsworth, however, it is now back to reality as he returns to school to study for his exams, which he needs to balance with gym work and Warwickshire VI nets.
And the teenager, who last year finished as his county’s leading wicket-taker will be hoping to take his World Cup batting form into the new season.
He said: “I finished the tournament with 97 runs from three games so with my average of 32.3 I am overjoyed.”
Anyone with a visual impairment wishing to have a go at visually impaired cricket can visit www. warwickshireccvi.co.uk for more information and news about have-a-go days.