Sean Walsh: From Rocky to New Delhi
The 14-man Australian squad to tour India for the 2018 Deaf T20 Cricket World Cup has just been announced, and we were so thrilled to learn that Rockhampton-based cricketer Sean Walsh was among those selected. We chatted to Sean before he flew out to meet the rest of the team ahead of the tournament, which begins 23 November.
Sean, 21, is proud to be not only the sole Queensland player selected, but also the only player from a regional area. “I’m representing not only my state, but anyone outside of a capital city,” he said. “I want to show kids there’s still a pathway to sporting success if you don’t live in the big smoke.”
“Making the squad is an absolute dream come true. This selection is something I’ve been working towards for a long, long time, so it’s very satisfying.”
Sean developed significant hearing loss due from perforated ear drums due to complications from childhood ear infections, and struggled throughout his early life dealing with what it meant to be deaf.
“It took me a while not to hide it,” Sean said. “It wasn’t until I was 16 I thought why am I ashamed of this? I decided then to take pride in it. Rather than trying to hide my culture, I embraced it.”
Sean explained that welcoming his deafness meant also welcoming his true identity. “Deaf culture has given me a place to belong,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. If I was given a magic pill to have my hearing back, I wouldn’t take it. It’s made me who I am.”
"The more exposure we can give to the challenges Deaf kids face, the better."
Despite his young age, Sean has already committed himself to helping those around him. He has spent time mentoring Deaf and hard of hearing kids and teenagers through Cricket Australia, Queensland Rugby League and in his local community.
“The more exposure we can give to the challenges Deaf kids face, the better,” Sean said. “If I can inspire just one of them, then my job is done.”
Sean shows similar commitment in his dedication to cricket. As well as travelling fortnightly from Rockhampton to Brisbane to train, he recently made his debut in Rockhampton’s A-Grade competition alongside his brother.
We can’t wait to see Sean in action at the World Cup. As one of Australia’s frontline spinners as well as a handy lower-order batsman, he will be integral to the team’s success. He will also captain Queensland in next January’s National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Geelong, and encourages anyone who’s interested in cricket to apply to join him.
We can’t wait to cheer Sean on as he undoubtedly moves on to even greater personal and sporting success. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Sean!