Cricket Australia today announced the National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) will be held in Geelong for the next three years with the support of a multi-year investment from the Victorian government.
The first NCIC, which will feature 14 teams and more than 200 players, will be staged in Geelong from 17-24 January 2017.
The Championships will consist of three divisions: blind and vision impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and cricketers with an intellectual disability. It will be the first time in Australia that these three divisions will be played as part of one competition.
Cricket Australia Executive General Manager, Game and Market Development Andrew Ingleton said: "Bringing together, for the first time, the most talented cricketers who are blind, deaf or have an intellectual disability as part of three divisions of the one championships is an exciting development for sport in Australia.
"Cricket is focused on being a sport for all Australians and the National Cricket Inclusion Championships are another piece of this vision. The Championships will provide a strong link between community participation and international representation for the 17,000-plus cricketers with a disability currently playing, as well as help inspire the next generation of cricketers.
"We're extremely thankful for the support of the Victorian government, Cricket Victoria, the City of Greater Geelong and the Geelong Cricket Association that has helped bring the Championships to Geelong."
Victoria won the right to host the NCIC for the next three years through a competitive national expression of interest process. The event will be jointly staged by Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria, the City of Greater Geelong and the Geelong Cricket Association.
Victorian Minister for Sport the Hon. John Eren said: "The National Cricket Inclusion Championship is an Australian first, and it's going to be right here in Geelong.
"Australia's best deaf and blind cricketers and cricketers with an intellectual disability will be vying for national honours. It's going to be a great spectacle."
The NCIC has been made possible through MoUs recently struck between Cricket Australia and Blind Cricket Australia, Deaf Sports Australia, Sport Inclusion Australia and Special Olympics Australia.
The MoUs mean greater support for high performance programs for cricketers with a disability, including access to coaching and facilities, as well as enhanced participation opportunities for Australians with a disability.
The NCIC also has the support of long-term supporters of Cricket Australia, The Lord's Taverners Australia, who have supported cricketers with a disability for 30 years.