Meet Kearan Gibbs: The Inspirational Cricketer Defying the Odds
At just 11 years old, Kearan Gibbs met the legendary Shane Warne at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl. This meeting would spark a flame that would ignite his passion for cricket, despite having a rare congenital anomaly that led to him being born without hands.
As a sports enthusiast, Kearan had dabbled in football, rugby, and basketball at school before falling in love with cricket. His first taste of the sport came during a beach holiday, where he played with his uncle. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Kearan. He had developed a unique bowling action, gripping and releasing the ball from the fold of his elbow, but he was struggling with the technique and becoming disillusioned.
Enter Shane Warne, a cricketing legend and a source of inspiration for Kearan. Shane’s words of encouragement convinced Kearan to stick with cricket. He shared, “Shane was brilliant. He convinced me to stick with it.” Shane suggested that Kearan focus on spin instead of trying to bowl fast, and he even took the time to give him valuable advice. This guidance had a significant impact on Kearan’s development, and he now boasts a consistent bowling action, regularly taking wickets for Warwickshire’s cup-winning Disability Access team.
Since joining the team in 2014, Kearan has scored 384 runs and taken 64 wickets. He also plays club cricket for Astwood Bank CC, Redditch, and has taken 51 wickets in the last three seasons. With his sights set on the national disability D40 hardball league, Kearan is eager to test himself against the top disability players and has aspirations of playing for England in the future.
Furthermore, Kearan’s story is a testament to the inclusivity of cricket. He emphasized, “Cricket was the first sport that really welcomed me, that let me in.” Despite initial challenges with his batting due to his disability, he persevered and has seen significant improvement in that aspect of his game.
Kearan’s journey with Warwickshire’s Disability Access team culminated in a regional cup championship victory last August, marking a significant milestone for the team and showcasing the power of inclusivity in sports.
Warwickshire Cricket Board runs beginners Super 1s hubs in various locations, allowing individuals with disabilities to access cricket coaching and equipment while also teaching life skills, welfare, and healthy eating. Kearan encourages those with disabilities to give it a try, stating, “There are probably people with disabilities living in Birmingham and Warwickshire who feel they can’t play cricket, that their disability excludes them. But I would say come along and give it a go.”
Kearan’s determination, combined with the support of organizations like Warwickshire Cricket Board, highlights the message that whoever you are, and whatever your disability, cricket is here for you. With his story as an inspiration, Kearan Gibbs embodies the spirit of perseverance and inclusion in the world of cricket. So, next season, maybe you’ll see Kearan playing for England.