ENGLAND S cricketers might be preparing for the Ashes in December but a Bury man is busy preparing for a unique cricketing challenge of his own. Barry McCormick, 45, is preparing to tour South Africa with England s over 45 team at indoor cricket. Barry, w

A typical Indoor Cricket venue, complete with nets

ENGLAND'S cricketers might be preparing for the Ashes in December but a Bury man is busy preparing for a unique cricketing challenge of his own.

Barry McCormick, 45, is preparing to tour South Africa with England's over 45 team at indoor cricket.

Barry, who has been playing the sport for more than 20 years and has previously travelled to Australia to represent England, said: "It's a great, fun, sport to play. It's fast, colourful and best of all, it's all over in just over an hour!"

The self-employed gardener also manages England's under-19 side and will take charge of them when the World Cup comes to this country next year.

The sport is incredibly popular in Australia, where it is in the top five sports in the country - outdoor cricket being the number one. South Africa and New Zealand are other hot-beds for the sport.

Barry, who recently moved to the area from Birmingham, said: "I can't wait to go and represent England. We'll be moving around the country, playing in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. We only have two days when we're not playing cricket but we'll have the chance to see some wildlife as well.

"It'll be a great challenge and although the South Africans will be tough to beat, I think the standard of the sport in England is improving and we'll give them a good game.

"It's all about being agile and having the ability to both bat and bowl and I think we've got all those qualities in our side."

Barry will be away for two weeks on his tour but his wife Alison is understanding. She said: "Barry has been playing Indoor Cricket ever since I've known him and I'm 100 per cent behind him, it's a great pastime and I back him all the way."

Indoor cricket is played in sports halls with netted walls. Each side has eight players who bat in pairs with each pair batting for four overs, making a total of 16 overs per side.

Runs are scored by hitting the back or side walls and batters are not given out but five runs are deducted from their total. Sides can therefore record minus run totals if they lose enough wickets.

INFORMATION: To find out more about indoor cricket, visit www.bica.co.uk