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Disability cricketer defies bullies to represent England

Alfie Pyle has represented both England and Sussex’s D40 sides

Alfie Pyle has already achieved one big thing in his cricket career – he’s beaten the bullies.

Pyle made his debut for England’s disability cricket team (D40) over the winter, having previously stopped playing because of bullying at school.

Pyle, who has a learning disability and a speech impediment, said the bullying he endured affected his confidence.

“I couldn’t concentrate playing cricket,” said Pyle.

“I got bullied at school, I lost some confidence and stopped cricket for a little bit and that didn’t really help me.”

The 21-year-old batter recently became the first cricketer to play for England after coming through the Super 1s programme.

Super 1s was set up by the Lord’s Taverners, the United Kingdom’s leading youth and disability cricket charity.

The programme is targeted at young people aged between 12 and 25 with a disability and gives them the chance to play regular, competitive cricket. It runs in every county, plus in Scotland and Wales, with it being the first games programme of its kind.

Pyle has spent four years with Super 1s and has reaped the rewards of it. After impressing there as a player, not only has he broken into Sussex’s D40 side, he has also got international recognition, playing for England’s learning disability side in a tri-series against Australia and South Africa.

He made his England debut in November against Australia in Pretoria and featured seven times, ending with a batting average of 31.

Alfie Pyle coaching during a Super 1s session at the K2 Centre in Crawley, Sussex
Alfie Pyle coaching during a Super 1s session at the K2 Centre in Crawley, Sussex

“I first started playing cricket when I was five and when I got to an older age I played two years above my age,” said Pyle.

“Now, I have forgotten about the bullies and I am playing cricket again. I’m proud, everyone’s proud of me.”

Pyle also starred for Sussex last summer, scoring 162 runs in a match against Surrey, while he played in the televised final of the 2023 Disability Premier League.

“Super 1s has been amazing for me, it’s a good experience,” said Pyle. “I want other kids to be able to look up to me and, hopefully, play for England soon.”

Outside of cricket, Pyle is studying a RHS level two certificate in Horticulture at Brinsbury College in Pulborough, Sussex.

Pyle’s aim is to get further opportunities in the sport, as well as continuing with his coaching and school work.

His message to anyone with a disability who has not tried a sport that they want to is to give it a go and allow themselves the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport.

“Continue what you are doing,” said Pyle. “If you are struggling, if you don’t want to play cricket or do anything, just take a breath and come back in the next session. Hopefully, you will feel better and you will enjoy it.

“I don’t really like seeing people with a disability struggling, I just want them to be happy and do what they do.”