Tag Archive: cricket

Bowling success!

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South Asian cricket fans help shape the future of cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the governing body for cricket in England and Wales, has, over the past month been running a series of regional consultation workshops to help improve its understanding and levels of engagement with South Asian cricket fans across the country.

The ECB wants to ensure that cricket is a game for everyone; full of great experiences whether people play, watch, follow, or work in the game. To help with this, the ECB was keen to hear feedback, ideas and thoughts on how cricket can do this for South Asian communities.

The workshops took place in seven regional venues in Birmingham, Bradford, Dewsbury, East London, Leicester, Manchester and South London, and were designed to encourage local communities to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on playing, attending or following the game.

Attended by members of the Afghani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani, or Sri Lankan communities, the workshops were a resounding success, with over 500 cricket fans from all walks of life taking part and sharing their views with the ECB.

The feedback from the workshops has been more than encouraging with

many important and valid points raised and shared.

One attendee said: “It was a very interesting and informative session of two hours where many valid points were made and very useful suggestions were put forward in promoting and developing cricket within the South East Asian communities living in the United Kingdom.”

Another commented: “It was an eye opener with some of the figures quoted. As a lay member and with an ardent task of coaching my 11-year-old who loves cricket, we thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Vikram Banerjee, Head of Strategy at the ECB said of the response and initial learnings from the workshops: “We have been blown away by the interest and the passion shown by South Asian cricket fans throughout this process. Every session has seen large numbers of people attend and there have been some fascinating discussions and talking points.

“We will use everything we have learnt from these consultations to help continue to ensure that cricket is a game for all and make the sport better for everyone.”

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Birkby becomes “selfie central” as cricket legends descend on local club

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Birkby Rose Hill Cricket Club was packed to capacity when an international team of all-stars took on regular players.

The charity match, watched by around 500 people, featured legends such as Misbah Ul-Huq (Pakistan), Saj Mahmood (England), Aamir Sohail (Pakistan), Derek Pringle (England), Iain O’Brien (New Zealand) and Wasim Jaffer (India).

The line-up also included Pakistan’s Aizaz Cheema, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Taufeeq Umar, Abdur Rehman and Asad Ali as well as England fast bowler Alex Tudor.

And the accessibility of the stars off the pitch meant that sports buffs were able to get up close and personal with some of the biggest names in the game.

Organiser Shahid Ahmed said the club’s ground turned into “selfie central” as players were mobbed by adoring fans.

“It was a fantastic day,” he said. “It couldn’t have got any better. The whole event was great. We’ve had such good feedback from everyone that attended, and the weather was kind.”

The Eshaki XI versus the International Cricketers XI was held in partnership with the London-based Eshaki Foundation, which provides young people with support and development, encourages young people with disabilities to effectively express themselves and creates a platform to drive social acceptance of young girls/women.

Mr Ahmed said the quality of play from locals was surprisingly good.

“A lot of the members had never performed that well before. They knew they were up against international players and they gave it all they could. They only lost by 20 runs.

We didn’t know if Misbah would play. When he walked out the crowd just went nuts. The whole place was chanting ‘Misbah! Misbah!’. Iain was also entertaining the crowd. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

The charity match is believed to have broken even, with Eshaki and the club happy that it has raised awareness of the foundation within the Huddersfield area and the cricket community.

“Prior to the match a charity dinner event was opened by Imam Qari Asim. I’d like to say a big thank you to both him and Regal Bakery for the fabulous cake donated on the day,” added Mr Ahmed.

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Bollywood celebs ‘proud’ of Indian women’s cricket team

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Bollywood celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar say they are "proud" of the Indian women's cricket team for their good game at the ICC Women's World Cup final at Lord's in London.

Though India lost by nine runs after looking good for major part of their 229-run chase, celebrities have shown their love, support and admiration for the team.

Here's what they tweeted:

Amitabh Bachchan: Until you lose, you shall never know the joy of victory! Well played ladies. Bhartiya Nari Zindabad!

Akshay Kumar: Even broken hearts can laugh! These women have started a revolution and I couldn't be more proud.

Priyanka Chopra: Well played women in blue. It's been an incredible journey and you will always be an inspiration for girls across India.

Shahid Kapoor: This team has woken us all up to women's cricket in India. Great game girls. Almost had it. Proud.

Shah Rukh Khan: I wish I was there to give the lovely ladies a hug. Be proud girls. We have achieved greatness today. BCCI women, you've made all Indians proud.

Shraddha Kapoor: It's okay team India. You girls made it to the finals! That in itself is such a proud moment. Womens' World Cup 2017. Girl power all the way.

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International cricket stars to play at Birkby

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SPORTING SPIRIT: Co-founder of Eshkari Foundation Tanzil Bukhari, with former England Rugby legend, team up to raise money for disabled youngsters

SPORTING SPIRIT: Co-founder of Eshaki Foundation Tanzil Bukhari, with former England Rugby legend, team up to raise money for disabled youngsters

Eshaki Foundation Charity cricket match brings legends such as Saeed Ajmal, Amir Sohail and Derek Pringle together for a T20 game

A husband-and-wife team are ready-set-go after they secured cricket greats for a charity T20 match under a cricket-carnival atmosphere – all to raise crucial funds for disabled youngsters.

Former legends such as Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal and Amir Sohail, England’s Derek Pringle, Saj Mahmood and Kabir Ali, along with New Zealand’s Ian O’Brien will join forces to play a game at Birkby Rose HILL CC against an Eshaki XI on Sunday 30th July.

Prior to the main match, cricket fans will have the opportunity to attend a charity dinner with the international cricket stars at Lala’s restaurant in Huddersfield.

There will also be a unique opportunity to meet and dine with Pakistan’s most successful Captain, Misbah-Ul-Haq.

The charity cricket event which is free of charge to attend is being organised by trustees and founders of the Eshaki Foundation, Tabussum and Tanzil Bukhari.

Tabassum Bukhari says: “We are very excited and looking forward to hosting the day’s events.  

“As a charity we take pride in focusing our efforts on driving impact in the UK by engaging and supporting young people. We look forward to engaging with all sections of the community and hope this event is the start of a special relationship between us.

“At The Eshaki Foundation, we believe that all young people, when given the right support and opportunities, can and do make lasting contributions to their communities.

Key social and life skills fostered through the power of sport coupled with a joint commitment to achieve an education deliver the core values we promote.

“To help us to achieve this we focus on three main areas: Providing young people with support and development opportunities; encouraging young people with disabilities to effectively express themselves and creating a platform to drive social acceptance of young girls/women.”

Hosting this event with a galaxy of former international cricket stars will provide the Eshaki Foundation the platform to showcase the charity and raise much-needed funds to support its endeavours.

Tanzil Bukhari comments: “As a family-funded and run charity, we have been supporting many causes over the years. We feel the time is right to take both the charity and its goals to the next level.

“This event is the start of that journey for Eshaki Foundation and so we are extremely thankful to Birkby Rose Hill Cricket Club and all of our sponsors for their support.’


 

For further information on the Eshaki Foundation and the event please visit the website: http://www.eshakifoundation.com/

 


 

Tickets for the dinner at Lala’s are available on http://www.eshakifoundation.com/ site and start from £25

 


 

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Your chance to shape the future of cricket

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ECB to host Consultation Workshop in Bradford on South Asian Community Engagement

“Whether you are involved in cricket or not; you could be a community leader, regular player, volunteer, coach, school teacher, an armchair fan or a parent of a cricket mad child – everyone is welcome to attend.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the governing body for cricket in England and Wales, is planning to run a series of regional consultation workshops, including one in Bradford.

The ECB wants to ensure that cricket is a game for everyone; full of great experiences whether people play, watch, follow, or work in the game.

To help with this, the ECB wants to hear feedback, ideas and thoughts on how cricket can do this for Bradford’s South Asian communities. They want to hear from people from Afghani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani, or Sri Lankan communities.

The consultation will be held at the Carlisle Business Centre on 18th July from 7pm-9.30pm, to help improve its understanding and levels of engagement with South Asian cricket fans across the country.

As well as Bradford, the workshops will take place in seven other regional venues in Birmingham, Dewsbury, Manchester, East and West London, Leicester and Sheffield. They are designed to encourage local communities to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on playing, attending or following the game.

Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, independent director at the ECB, said: “We know that there is an incredible passion for the game within South Asian communities nationwide. Cricket is in their DNA and we want them to help shape our future plans for the game.

“Today we are only scratching the surface of the potential engagement with cricket from the UK’s South Asian communities. This is a huge opportunity to grow the game and we want to hear from people in South Asian communities who play or follow cricket, but also from those who don’t.

“Get involved, tell us what you think and contribute to deliver a change and help make cricket a better experience for all.”

Taking place at the Carlisle Business Centre in Bradford on Tuesday 18th July, the workshops will take place throughout July and August, and will not only offer guests an opportunity to have their voices heard, but also give them the chance to get a taste for the sport both at a local level through tickets to local NatWest T20 Blast matches as well as being entered into a draw to win four VIP tickets to England vs India or England vs Pakistan in 2018.

This is your chance to make your voice heard, and ECB are looking for your support. People interested in attending can register by visiting ecb.co.uk/southasiancricket or emailing rsvp@ecb.co.uk

 


 

CONSULTATIONS

People interested in attending can register by visiting ecb.co.uk/southasiancricket or emailing rsvp@ecb.co.uk

 

Thursday 13th July 6-8.30pm The Kia Oval Cricket Ground, London

Sunday 16th July 12-2.30pm Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham

Monday 17th July 7-9.30pm Dewsbury Town Hall, Dewsbury

Tuesday 18th July 7-9.30pm Carlisle Business Centre, Bradford

Wednesday 19th July 6-8.30pm Fischer County Ground, Leicester

Thursday 20th July 6-8.30pm Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester

Tuesday 25th July 7-9.30pm Jack Carter Pavilion, Ilford

Wednesday 23rd August TBC Sheffield – location TBC

 


 

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Ace Ali wins Test

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Moeen Ali skittled through South Africa's batsmen to give England a 211-run win in the first Test at Lord's

The off-spinner gave the finest performance of his Test career taking 6-53 on the fourth day for match figures of 10-112, the best by an England spinner at Lord’s since 1951.

Ali’s a ten-wicket haul inspiring England to a landslide victory bowling the visitors all out for 119 to take a 1-0 lead in series and achieve their first win here since 1960 against South Africa.  

The all-rounder man-of-the-match performance didn’t stop with the ball as he proved potent notching 87 in the first innings to help Joe Root to his first win as captain.

The 30-year-old’s sterling has moved him up to an all-time high in all three categories of the International Cricket Council’s world Test rankings.

Going up nine places to 19th among the world’s best Test bowlers, up three to 21st as a batsman and rising above England team-mate Ben Stokes to fourth in the all-rounder’s list.

There were suggestions that Moeen had been replaced as England's number one spinner by left-armer Liam Dawson but this display has quashed those murmurs.

With opener Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance in at the start of day four, England had been expected to hang around until tea time and set an unassailable lead for South Africa to chase.

But with an unpredictable wicket, nine batsmen were sent packing in just 36.1 overs leaving the South African’s with a target of 331 to win.

However the ball continued to drift and spin throughout the day which put Moeen in his element and to excel.  

England's first win in seven Tests and puts them in high spirits going into the second in the series at Trent Bridge.

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Kohli’s Terrific Tons

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INCREDIBLE: Virat Kohli basks in glorious century

INCREDIBLE: Virat Kohli basks in glorious century

 

Virat Kohli beat Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 17 hundreds in 232 innings in chases, reaching his 18th in just 102 innings

The Indian captain did so with an unbeaten 111 to seal another ODI series win for India at the expense of the West Indies in Kingston.

The Indian’s have totally dominated the West Indies in the one-day format making it seven consecutive wins home and away since January 2007.

They won the final game of the series by seven wickets to clinch it 3-1 and make it three successive wins when visiting the Caribbean, winning 2-1 in 2009 and 3-2 in 2011.

Kohli himself boasts a 75% winning percentage as captain in ODI’s with 22 wins and seven defeats and one no-result match out of 30 he’s contested.

Of all the Indian captains with at least seven matches his success percent is the highest.

Kohli remains the only batsman to have averaged sixty-plus in ODIs involving India and West Indies (minimum ten innings) his tally being 1387 in 27 matches.

Just two batsmen have registered more hundreds in a winning cause than Kohli’s tally of 24 – Tendulkar (33) and Ricky Ponting (25).

His overall tally of 28 hundreds in ODIs is another only two have exceeded with Tendulkar (49) and Ponting (30) again ahead.

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First class debut: 16-year-old leaves cricket in a spin as he becomes the first 21st century cricketer in England

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Hamidullah Qadri who made his first class debut this week at the age of 16 making him the first 2000 born player in England.

Hamidullah Qadri who made his first class debut this week at the age of 16 making him the first 2000 born player in England.

 

Young cricket star Hamidullah Qadri has been talk of cricket this week as he become the youngest player in first class cricket making his debut at the tender age of 16.

In a week that the new pink ball was supposed to take the headlines, with the County Championship’s inaugural day night match set of fixtures taking place featuring many of England’s superstars, it was a 16-year-old Afghani born Englishman taking centre stage.

Qadri who this week made his first-class debut for Derbyshire CCC against Glamorgan became the first cricketer in England to be born in the 21st century.

Earlier in the season he made his list A debut against South Africa A and he also became the youngest player to represent Derbyshire at first class level.

In the match against Glamorgan Qadri batted at number 11 and although he did avoid an early scare being bowled off a no ball, he regained focus and batted efficiently against the more experienced opposition under the lights.

The youngster managed to score 11 not out as his side were bowled out for 288 in their first innings, he didn’t look out of place and helped prevent his side from capitulating.

The youngster who was born on December 5th, 2000, signed his first professional contract with Derbyshire in the winter penning a two-year deal with the division two side.

The Academy spinner has been playing in the Derbyshire Premier League for Alvaston & Boulton taking 223 wickets at an average of 20.41 in five seasons since moving from Afghanistan.

Qadri’s Development Coach Mal Loye spoke about the youngster following an impressive spell in the academy and second team before making his maiden appearance against South Africa A earlier this summer.

Loye said: “Hamidullah has shown a lot of skill and ability during his time with the Academy.

“He has a real hunger to continue to learn and improve his game and this has been rewarded with impressive performances in the second team which has led to a call up to the first team.

“He has the potential and desire to develop into a genuine all-rounder and we look forward to watching him develop his game over the next few years.”

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Medics ready to bowl over the competition

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Registrars and Consultants go head-to-head in charity cricket match at Headlingley

Yorkshire’s Orthopedic registrars are looking to leave their consultant counterparts stumped as they match up in a charity cricket match in aid of St. Gemma’s hospice.

The event, which takes place on 1st July at Glen Road Cricket ground in Headingley, is hoping to attract many families who are being encouraged to bring picnics and bask in the sun while watching the cricket drama unfold.

The match sees the Yorkshire Orthopedic Consultants take on the Registrars all in aid of charity with all proceeds and money raised going directly to St. Gemma’s hospice. It costs £9million a year to keep the hospice running.

Organised by Captain of the Registrar Team Dr Syed Bokhari said: “Once a year we look to create a charity event and this year we have chosen to play cricket and hope it continues for years to come.

“We chose St Gemma’s hospice because we felt that it was a righteous cause, we have players coming from Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull and York, giving, everyone is doing it for free.

“There’s only so much we can do, that’s why we created this charity match which we hope will be a fun filled family day with lots of money raised for a very worthy charity, we want people to embrace the event and we are trying to build a community feel.”

Syed who himself is a surgeon, trains around the Leeds region and has worked in York and Harrogate since 2010. Giving a bit more background about the event, he said: “There are around 300 bone surgeons in Yorkshire who deal with bone cancer amongst other bone-related cases.

“The Orthopedic Network has completely funded the event including the fee for the pitch.

“We want to ensure 100% of money raised goes directly to the charity. There are free refreshments including teas and ice-cream and free bouncy castle. It’s not about who wins but raising money for a worthy cause.”

The event is set to start at 10am and will finish at around 6pm. Everyone is welcome to go along and watch with entrance free for all.

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Plucky Pakistan upset the odds to win The ICC Champions Trophy

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How Pakistan went from zeros to heroes and the story of how they lifted the Champions Trophy

Pakistan Cricket has shocked the world of cricket by dismantling their fierce rivals India to unexpectedly lift the ICC Champions Trophy following their 180-run victory in the final.

Going in to the showpiece tournament held in England, which sees the top eight teams in the ICC rankings compete, there was a perception that there was a gap forming between the elite in world cricket and the rest.

Pre-tournament, bookmakers, pundits and cricket fans had all predicted England basically had one hand on the trophy before a ball had even been bowled, and that India, South Africa and Australia would be their main threats.

Pakistan were unfancied and almost forgotten about and came into the tournament ranked eighth in the world, with the side nearly not actually qualifying for the tournament at all.

They started the tournament how they ended it, against their fierce rivals India. A partisan crowd at Edgbaston watched on as both sides adhered to the form book as India dispatched of Pakistan with distain as they put on a batting clinic with the top four all scoring 50’s before skittling through the Pakistani batsmen to win comfortably by 124 runs (D/L method).

The men in green quickly dusted themselves off and produced one of the most eye-catching results of the tournament in their next game as they turned over much fancied South Africa in a rain affected game at Edgbaston winning by 19 runs (D/L method).

Their bowlers tore through a formidable South African batting unit restricting them to a below par 219-8 including the wicket of the world’s best one day batsman Ab de Villiers for a first ball duck. Pakistan were sat on 119-3 before rain ended the match prematurely which gave them a crucial 2 points.

Pakistan’s final group game saw them play in what was effectively a quarter final with all teams in the group sat on two points after two games it was winner goes through as they took on a Sri Lankan side who just beat India.

Hasan Ali was the spearhead as he was throughout the tournament as his three-wicket spell inspired Pakistan to bowl out Sri Lanka for an under par 236 with Junaid Khan also taking three wickets.

In reply Pakistan stumbled to victory winning by three wickets. A swashbuckling fifty by precocious talent Fakhar Zaman and a cool captain’s innings of 61 not out by Sarfraz Ahmed whose captaincy was inspirational throughout guided his side to a semifinal showdown against hosts and favourites England.

England went into the semi having swept aside all their opponents being the only unbeaten side left in the competition having won all three group games. But it was Pakistan who dominated the encounter.

Hasan Ali again proved unplayable as his three wickets derailed the usual England charge as they were restricted to a lowly 211 all out. Pakistan cruised to an eight wicket win with Azhar Ali’s 76 and Zaman’s 56 guiding them to the final.

This set up a mouthwatering final as Pakistan met India in a repeat of their opening encounter. But that’s where the similarities ended as Pakistan turned the tables and continued their impressive form.

They weren’t intimidated by their fierce rivals and the youthful exuberance of rookie opener Fakhar Zaman shone through as his thrilling century guided to Pakistan to an imposing 338-4.  

India were then blown away by a match winning burst by Mohammed Amir who knocked over Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and the big wicket of Virat Kohli as India capitulated to 158 all out to give Pakistan a monumental 180 run victory and crowned ICC Champions Trophy champions,

Pakistan’s Hasan Ali was named player of the tournament for his 13 wickets which spearheaded the bowling attack as batsman found him almost impossible to deal with at times.

The trophy success has seen Pakistan rise to Sixth in the world rankings leapfrogging both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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Joining forces

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Leeds Rhinos Star’s Jimmy Keinhorst and Ashton Golding joined students from Christchurch Primary School at the launch of the Children’s day at Headingley Carnegie

Leeds Rhinos Star’s Jimmy Keinhorst and Ashton Golding joined students from Christchurch Primary School at the launch of the Children’s day at Headingley Carnegie

 

Headingley Carnegie Stadium and Leeds Rhino’s to host Leeds biggest free family festival this July

Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Cricket Foundation are combining for their annual children’s day which is going to take place on 16th July at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

The daylong event which has been held annually since 2008, is set to attract thousands of families from across the region.

The event which will feature a host of child friendly organisations who will be providing activities in what is set to be a fun filled family day out. An event which will feature many guest appearances throughout the day from Leeds Rhinos players.

The child friendly organisations involved in providing activities on the day include Eureka, The Rainbow Factory and The Works Skatepark, with Yorkshire Cricket and Leeds Rhinos offering children the chance to practice their skills with coaching and skills zones.

The event has many partners with the Garry Chappelow Memorial fund a long-term partner. This year sees the emergence of Nandos as a new associate partner. They are joined by local organisations, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police.

This year’s event will also see the return of the popular junior sports tournaments for community teams from the city, these will give the children involved the chance to play on the World famous Headingley Carnegie Cricket ground and rugby pitch.

Leeds Rhinos Foundation will also be showcasing the impact of their Rugby League Development Plan and Sky Try delivery with an under 7’s tournament including a number of newly formed teams in the club ambassador scheme playing matches on the pitch.

The Children’s day event takes which takes place on Sunday 16th July, is free to the public but families attending the event can make a suggested donation of £3 per adult and £1 per child attending on entry, all proceeds will support the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Yorkshire Cricket Foundation. Gates open at 10.30 am.

Yorkshire Cricket Foundation project officer Nick Robinson commented on the prospect of the event: “Children’s Day is a fantastic opportunity for families to enjoy a day out at the world famous Headingley Carnegie Stadium.”

“There’s activities to suit all interests and ages and with this year’s talent show, there is no shortage of entertainment.”

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Haris Sohail: “I want to make up for lost time”

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“I am confident, I am now fit and I am ready to score runs for Pakistan once again. I've lost two-years of my career due to injury and I want to make up for lost time."

Regarded as one of Pakistan’s brightest talents, the left-handed batsman Haris Sohail debuted for Pakistan in July 2013 on the tour of the West Indies. Whilst a promising international career beckoned for Haris, his march towards establishing a permanent place in Pakistan’s frail middle order was interrupted by a career-threatening knee injury.

He last played for Pakistan in the historic home-series against Zimbabwe in 2015 and has struggled since then to recover from his injury until recently when he has been given a chance to represent Pakistan in the Champions Trophy in England.

Whilst his recall to the Pakistan side was more of a side-effect of Umar Akmal’s fitness issues, 28-year-old Haris Sohail is relieved that he now has another chance to continue his international career.

“I'm delighted to be back in the international fold once again. It's been a tough two years and it's been a long and at times difficult road back to fitness.

“I worked at the National Cricket Academy, went to UAE for treatment, came to England and eventually I have made my way back to full fitness.”

To have been marked as one for the future and to have had a bright start to his international career would have been heartening for Haris but the devastation of facing up to an injury which could have destroyed his dreams did take a toll on his psyche.

He explained: “Yes there were some dark days when I was unfit and there were times when you get frustrated. But I had faith in the Almighty that one day I would be back and that is what drove me on and spurred me on to keep working hard on regaining my levels of fitness and overcome the injury problems.”

Many concerns were raised about Haris’s ability to recover from his injury but thankfully, he has put all that speculation to rest by passing fitness tests and is now ready for duty for his national side in the Champions Trophy campaign.

“There are no issues with my fitness now at all.

“I passed the fitness test in Lahore at the National Cricket Academy and then when I came to England I had a further fitness test which I also passed. So, there are no concerns or issues about my fitness at all which is a massive boost for me.”

The weight of expectations on players making comebacks seems to be unusually high as a well-meaning fan-base looks to players like Haris Sohail as the answer to a lot of Pakistan’s recent issues with the batting.

The left-handed batsman, confident after a good domestic season, is not worried about this stress as he remarked: “Yes there is pressure on me as I am coming back to international cricket after two years but you have to take that challenge head on.

“I knew that one day I would come back to the international squad and I was counting the days for my return to the Pakistan team. I gained a lot of confidence from my return in domestic cricket. I was happy with my form there and to do so well after a gap of nearly 18-months in domestic cricket was a huge release of pressure and gave me a lot of confidence.”

Pakistan’s recent form in ODIs has shown some glimpses of hope but the eighth ranking in ICC’s ODIs is a matter for concern. In that context, Haris’s possible return to international cricket is a cause for hope amongst the die-hard fans.

However, for the moment, all eyes seem to be only on one game and that is the upcoming marquis clash between arch rivals India and Pakistan at Edgbaston. For Haris, a much-awaited comeback to the national side could become even more special if he is picked to play in the final XI on June 4th.

“There is nothing quite like an India versus Pakistan clash and the atmosphere is bound to be brilliant. These are unique matches and to be a part of these matches is what cricket is all about. I hope that I am picked, but that is up to the team management so let’s see how this goes.”

So, what in Haris’s view can the world of cricket and especially the Pakistan fans expect from the Pakistan side in the iconic clash with India?

“Our preparations for the India clash have been excellent and whist the Indian team is a strong one we are here to play cricket also and not just admire the opposition team and players. We will plan for Virat Kohli just the same as we will for the other Indian players. We are here to win the tournament and are not here to make the numbers up.”

Haris Sohail’s impending return to international cricket is indeed excellent news for Pakistan but more importantly, it is a great opportunity for the player to resume his career and continue his journey towards establishing himself in the national side.

This is a task which will not be easy but Haris has no doubts in his ability to make this chance count: “Even though I was called up last-minute for the Champions Trophy, my preparations have been very good.

“I am confident, I am now fit and I am ready to score runs for Pakistan once again. I've lost two-years of my career due to injury and I want to make up for lost time," he concluded.

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Living the dream

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ECSTATIC: 22-year-old Inzy Rashid knocks out the competition in securing a LCCC Dubai reporting job, pictured here with Warren Hegg

ECSTATIC: 22-year-old Inzy Rashid knocks out the competition in securing a LCCC Dubai reporting job, pictured here with Warren Hegg

 

Journo student beats off the competition for much sought after reporting role in Dubai

A student at the University of Salford and lifelong Lancashire CCC supporter has landed his dream role, reporting on the Club’s pre-season tour of Dubai next month.

22-year-old Inzy Rashid, from Warrington, will assist the Club’s Senior Media and Content Executive James Price, in covering the tour for Lancashire’s website and digital channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

He will also have the chance to interview the players, provide behind-the-scenes content and produce highlights for the Club’s fixtures whilst out in Dubai. James and Inzy will also be working on behalf of the Emirates T20 Tournament at the ICC Academy on 23rd and 24th March.

Inzy, who is a third year broadcast journalism student at The University of Salford said: “I’m a huge cricket fan, and I have been playing the sport since I could walk, and supporting Lancashire County cricket club since I was a kid.

“I have also been interested in journalism for as long as I can remember, right back from the days where I used to stay up past my bed time as a kid just to watch the news. So for me to be able to combine journalism and cricket is a dream.”

He continued: “I have visited some of the cricket grounds in Dubai several times before, and I absolutely love the place, so I can’t wait to go back. I have been lucky to have done filming work for LCCC in the past, but this is the biggest project that I’ve ever done.”

OPPORTUNITY: Students are given the chance to undertake internships at Emirates Old Trafford throughout each cricket season, Inzy pictured here with James Price, Warren Hegg

OPPORTUNITY: Students are given the chance to undertake internships at Emirates Old Trafford throughout each cricket season, Inzy pictured here with James Price, Warren Hegg

 

The opportunity is just one of several ongoing projects that students from the School of Arts and Media can be involved with, as part of a continuing partnership with Lancashire County Cricket Club and the University of Salford. Lancashire’s highest viewed video ever on YouTube of James Anderson interviewing fellow England player Haseeb Hameed with over 35,000 views was filmed and edited by University students earlier this year.

This partnership also means that students are given the chance to undertake internships at Emirates Old Trafford throughout each cricket season.

Paul Broster, Director of Journalism at the University of Salford said: “This is yet another example of how we work at the highest level with industry, not only to give our students fantastic opportunities, but also to ensure they are ready and leading the way in the workplace. I know that Inzy is thrilled to have been selected but also how impressed Lancashire were, with all the students who applied to go."

Sales and Marketing Director at Lancashire CCC, Justin Hopwood, said: “We were really impressed by the candidates supplied to us by the University of Salford and we’re delighted to have Inzy on-board with us for our pre-season tour to Dubai. It will give him a very unique, and hopefully enjoyable experience of being very much part of the team whilst we’re out in Dubai.

“We are continually striving to deliver quality and engaging content through the Club’s digital channels that our supporters can enjoy. The pre-season tour to Dubai will offer a fantastic opportunity for exactly that and we look forward to seeing what will be produced.”

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Shahid Afridi says ‘Kuadah Hafiz’ to international cricket

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And so, it was announced. Much-loved all-rounder Shahid Khan Afridi says he has quit international cricket and will just focus on playing Pakistan Super League for the next two years.

"I have said goodbye to international cricket," Afridi revealed in a press conference in Sharjah on 19th February, soon after his 28-ball 54 runs nearly pulled off victory for his team Peshawar Zalmi against Karachi Kings in the PSL.

The man affectionately called ‘Boom Boom’ said: "I am playing for my fans and will continue to play this league for another two years but it's goodbye from international cricket.

"Now my foundation is important for me. I have played with seriousness and in a professional way for my country."

The 36-year-old Afridi played 98 T20 internationals, scoring 1,405 runs at a strike rate of 150.75, and took 97 wickets.

Last year, Afridi stepped down from the T20 captaincy as Pakistan could win only one match out of four in the World Twenty20 in India.

However, selectors seemed to have lost confidence in Afridi's ability as he wasn't picked for a one-off T20 against England, nor the three-match series against the West Indies in the United Arab Emirates.

There were reports Afridi was interested in a farewell international before he quits the shortest format. But that apparent understanding with Pakistan Cricket Board officials seems to have not come to fruition.

Afridi quit the longest format of the game in 2010 after playing 27 test matches, scoring 1,716 runs and taking 48 wickets.

He burst onto the scene in 1996 when he smashed 37-ball century in only his second ODI — the then fastest hundred in a one-day international — against Sri Lanka.

He played 398 ODIs and scored 8,064 runs at a strike rate of 117.00 besides claiming 395 wickets at an average of 34.51.

Afridi's ability to score better than a run-a-ball enabled Pakistan to finish runners-up in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 in South Africa. He was also instrumental in Pakistan winning the 2009 World Twenty20 in England.

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CRICKET: “Andre Russell should be grateful that he wasn’t banned for two years

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For Andre Russell, the rest of this year will feel like forever.

In the prime of his cricketing life at the age of 28, and with his value in the lucrative T20 format of the game increasing significantly following a phenomenally successful 2016, the Jamaican all-rounder is now cast into the wilderness, banned from the sport in which he has already earned so much and also brought so much success and delight all over the world.

Barring an overturning of the decision on appeal, he is now serving a one-year suspension from all officially-sanctioned cricket following a decision handed down January 31 by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission after he failed to fulfil the whereabouts requirements of the anti-doping regulations three times between January and July of 2015.

Instead of feeling aggrieved and bitter though, Russell should be grateful that he was not banned for two years, which appeared likely given the efforts by the international sporting organisations to clamp down on the abuse of banned performance-enhancing substances.

Patrick Foster, the cricketer’s lawyer, maintains that his client is a “clean athlete.” But that really isn’t the issue, which might appear to be a contradiction in the context of a discussion on doping in sport. What this clearly appears to be is a case of negligence on Russell’s part rather than enhancing performance illegally. It should serve as an object lesson to Caribbean cricketers, many of whom may have a very relaxed attitude towards anti-doping processes and procedures.

Of course, Pakistan has had its own very recent experience with a doping violation involving a prominent player, so there is no need to re-tell the Yasir Shah saga in this context.

Russell’s argument about a lack of experience in filing the required paperwork on his whereabouts and preoccupation with many international cricket commitments in Twenty20 franchise tournaments across the globe always sounded weak. It no doubt comes across as extremely burdensome for active young men and women to have to continuously advise authorities exactly where they are in the world, but this is what the modern sporting personality effectively signs up for when they seek to develop their careers on the international stage.

All major sporting organisations regularly counsel their competitors on the need to be extremely vigilant, both in what they consume and in fulfilling the anti-doping administrative requirements. There is no special consideration for West Indians, who may be presumed to be laid-back and lackadaisical, when it comes to meeting these standards.

Cricket has been slow to come up to mark with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It was actually ten years ago that the International Cricket Council signed on to the WADA code, but it would be another five years before the “whereabouts” clause was accepted by the international umbrella organisation for the sport.

As has been the case for the universal application of television review technology, it was the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which led the resistance to players having to continuously keep authorities advised of their movements. It is understood that several of their prominent stars at the time objected to the requirement on the basis of it being a violation of their fundamental right to privacy and that it also posed a security threat.

Skepticism over the integrity of the process was fuelled last year when the initial two-year ban imposed on Sri Lankan wicket-keeper-batsman Kusal Perera was overturned after an accredited laboratory in Qatar was revealed to have botched the analysis of his urine sample. Yet whatever its failings or shortcomings, the WADA code is now essentially the ICC code and players are expected to come up to scratch or pay the penalty.

In the case of Russell, the task will be to put the entire experience into perspective, even if he continues to hold out hope that a legal challenge could still see him cleared to resume playing sooner rather than later.

Yes, the money he earns as one of the most versatile and successful Twenty20 cricketers around will be missed. But as with any sports personality of note who is forced onto the sidelines for whatever reason, the real loss is the inability to be part of the contest, whether it’s for Twenty20 World Champions West Indies or any of the franchise teams for whom he has already played key roles in their title successes everywhere from the Caribbean to Australia.

That includes Islamabad United, who are commencing the defence of the Pakistan Super League title without his services. Steven Finn is not a bad replacement as a fast bowler, but there are few in the game to surpass Russell's lower-order power-hitting.

If nothing else, Russell would have learnt a difficult lesson, one which his contemporaries all over the world, including Pakistan, dare not ignore.

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39 years of cricket

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DELIGHTED: Hanif Mayet and Abdul Ravat received an engraved bat commemorating a match at Headingley from Mark Arthur

DELIGHTED: Hanif Mayet and Abdul Ravat received an engraved bat commemorating a match at Headingley from Mark Arthur

Sporting elites from English & Wales Cricket Board and Yorkshire County Cricket attend club event

Mount Cricket Club in Batley hosted their annual event, where over 800 attendees got the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in cricket from this region.

On Saturday 14th January Mount Cricket Club celebrated its 39th Annual Presentation Event in the presence of a whole host of leaders from the community and voluntary sector, statutory organisations, public and private businesses and members of the cricket elite too.

John Wright and Mohammed Arif from the English & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Mark Arthur and Richard Pyrah from Yorkshire County Cricket (YCC) graced the evening. Collis King the ex-West Indian cricketer who played in the 1979 Cricket World Cup final against England with a telling contribution - 86 runs off just 66 balls, also attended.

In front of a packed audience at the Al-Hikmah Centre, Batley, the club reminisced about how it had been formed back in 1976 by two friends - Mr Hanif Mayet and late Mr Farid Karolia (who sadly passed away in 2014).

Special messages were read out from Father Eamonn O’Higgins, L.C. Manager and Committee, the Team of St. Peter’s Cricket Club, the Vatican and from Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford OBE.

Mr Colin Graves, Chairman of ECB sent a very special message congratulating the Club as follows: “From their tireless work in the local community to their success on the field, Mount Cricket Club is a shining example of what a community club should be.  

“We believe that cricket truly is a game for all and can bring people together from different walks of like, faiths and cultures. Mount Cricket Club represents that and more. Thank you for everything you do.”

Also in attendance was Maryam Ali who recently received the ‘Inspiration Award’ at the 2016 Asian Cricket Award and the Club’s Women’s Group are looking forward to working with her to develop cricket and coaching for girls and women.

A photographic exhibition ‘From Parks to Pavilions’, illustrated the grass roots beginnings of Asian Cricket in Yorkshire.  

Mr Hanif Mayet, Chairman of Mount Cricket Club, commented: “Mount’s Annual Presentation Evening is a keenly awaited occasion for our supporters, sponsors and stakeholders where we celebrate the achievements made both on and off the pitch.  

“I said that 2015 was a great year, but 2016 has eclipsed this which has been even more memorable.  

“We were honoured to be selected for the special cricket fixtures and inter-faith events to win hearts through the medium of cricket.  

“On behalf of the Club, a very big thank you to everyone for their continued financial support as we are dependent on the generosity of businesses and residents to allow us to support and serve our community”.

Mr Mark Arthur, Chief Executive from Yorkshire Cricket, commented that: “Seeing so many young boys and girls participating in the game of cricket is remarkable, as well as your development programme for girls and those with disabilities. It was wonderful to see Mount celebrate a season of success.”

During the evening the audience were informed of Mount’s application to play its senior cricket in 2017 with the Halifax Cricket League (HCL).  

Mr Anthony Briggs, Chairman of the HCL, thanked the club saying how impressed he was by both the junior and senior players.

Mr Abdul A Ravat, Mount’s Development Officer summarised what the club has achieved and what its future challenges are: “‘Mount has been running community cricket for almost four decades and what a journey it has been,” he said.

“Mount is a unique community asset capable of doing so much and we have lots of plans for 2017 and beyond. So a humble plea for your support, skills, expertise and above all prayers that together we can deliver our objective of improving the playing facilities and pavilion at the Field of Dreams.”

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England crumble in Chennai: Hosts rally after tea to secure 4-0 series victory

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FLYING HIGH: Fans celebrated in Chennai as they watched England lose their final six wickets for just 15 runs

FLYING HIGH: Fans celebrated in Chennai as they watched England lose their final six wickets for just 15 runs

A six wicket haul for just 15 runs all but summed up England’s miserable Test record in India this winter as they succumbed to a 4-0 series defeat at the hands of the hosts.

Despite heading into tea on 192-5 in the fifth and final Test, the visitors collapsed to 207 all-out in Chennai to lose their second successive Test by an innings.

India had amassed a huge first innings score of 759-7, meaning England has to register at least 282 runs to force a follow-on.

Starting the day on 12-0, they looked well on their way to reaching this goal when the first wicket fell with 103 on the board.

First Alistair Cook clipped a wide Ravindra Jadeja delivery to KL Rahul at leg slip just one run short of his half-century, whilst fellow opening batsmen, Keaton Jennings, made just five more runs before he was caught on 54.

When Joe Root came out knowing that he needed just 11 runs to break Michael Vaughn’s record for Test runs in a calendar year by an English batsman, hope, temporarily, seemed to be restored for fans in the stands.

Unfortunately, that hope was short-lived as the Yorkshire cricketer managed just five runs before being given out LBW on review to Jadeja.

Jonny Bairstow also had his eyes on Vaughan’s record when he stepped up to the crease yet fell to a stunning catch in the deep from Jadeja.

DISAPPOINTED: Alistair Cook is said to be considering his future as England Test captain following the 4-0 series defeat against India

DISAPPOINTED: Alistair Cook is said to be considering his future as England Test captain following the 4-0 series defeat against India

The spinner charged back to apprehend a lofted leg clip from Bairstow and take the ball over his shoulder.

England found themselves on 129-4 at this stage and needed a strong middle-order display to avoid a collapse in front of a raucous home crowd.

The visitors were able to see themselves through to tea thanks to a partnership between Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, yet it was after the break that the home side picked off their opponents with ease.

Moeen came down the track to Jadeja for a big shot but failed to clear Ashwin at mid on and went for 44. Stokes joined him two overs later as he clipped a gripper from Jadeja straight to Karun Nair at mid-wicket to hand the bowler his fifth scalp of the innings.

By the time Liam Dawson was bowled by Mishra for 0, England had lost three wickets for five runs. Adil Rashid was the next to go, a leading edge flying to that man Jadeja at point off Umesh Yadav.

Fittingly, Jadeja wrapped proceedings with his sixth and seventh wickets. Stuart Broad gloved to Cheteshwar Pujara at leg slip before Jake Ball prodded at a turner and found Karun Nair. It handed Jadeja his maiden 10-fer in Test cricket and his best figures to boot.

With the ODI series starting in January, England will be hoping a New Year will bring new fortunes in India.

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Using sport as a tool to educate

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FRESH IDEAS IN SPORT: A new organisation co-founded by Halima Khan and Former England and Ikram Butt is setting out to use the power sport has as a positive tool to increase the awareness of violence against women and girls.

FRESH IDEAS IN SPORT: A new organisation co-founded
by Halima Khan and Former England and Ikram Butt is setting out to use the
power sport has as a positive tool to increase the awareness of violence
against women and girls.

Award for woman who encourages exercise at a grassroots level

A new organisation co-founded by Bradford born Halima Khan and Former England and Pakistan Rugby International Ikram Butt is setting out to use the power sport has as a positive tool for equality and peace, whilst increasing the awareness of violence against women and girls.

Cricket Beyond the Boundary line (CBBL) is on a mission to use sport as an educational engagement platform to inspire more women and girls to reach their full potential.

The organisation has already been recognised of its unique way of engaging with audiences to raise the issues of gender abuse and gained national recognition for their work in empowering communities to stand up against violence towards women and girls by national charity White Ribbon UK .

CBBL was recognised for setting up a ‘Bowling Out Domestic Violence’ campaign with the Armed Services and using the Sport of Cricket as a platform to empower women in speaking out and seeking the right channels of support to understand and how to deal with violence issues.

Last month, Halima was recognised for her hard work with an award from a leading charity.

Chris Green, founder of White Ribbon UK said: “We are extremely pleased to present Halima from CBBL with this award and recognising her efforts of using Sport as a tool to educate and spread the message to end violence against women and girls.

“Her commitment to engage with new audiences and influence them will only spread the message of equality and peace and she deserves to be applauded for her efforts.”

Halima has worked in sporting industry for over a decade now and is keen to bring it back to the grassroots and community.

A strong believer in prevention being better than the cure, Halima is keen to educate youngsters to understand the principles of what it means to live in an equal world and live in peace.

INSPIRATIONAL: Iqra Ali and Halima Khan (left)

INSPIRATIONAL:
Iqra Ali and Halima Khan (left)

A current project working in partnership with Adil Rashid Academy and funded by BBC Children In Need has been set up to work with young girls to engage in talks through the medium of football and cricket.

The sessions have a different theme each week where some time is spent on topics including teamwork, conflict resolution, women in leadership roles and many more. The premise of the theme’s are for the girls to gain skills which will educate them and most importantly for them to understand the positive role women play in society and to never give up on their dreams and aspiration.

The group were treated by a visit from FA women’s premier league side Guiseley AFC Vixens footballers, Iqra Ali and Zanib Taj who talked about their experiences in football as Asian Women.

Their speech touched upon how wearing a hijab and being Muslim has empowered them to break down misconceptions in football for women, whilst hoping to inspire more women in sport.

Both girls have set up their own junior girl’s team with Phoenix Juniors FC and hope to register with a league soon.

Halima said: “As an organisation, I want to be able to break down barriers and address these taboo issues around gender inequality and violence in an open and safe environment which I believe sport provides.

“It was once said to me that when women are empowered, they are less likely to be the victims of abuse. I say what better way to empower women than through sport, which is often seen as male-dominated.”

“As someone who previously coached Iqra, I am extremely proud to have welcomed her and Zanib to speak at the session as it shows what can be achieved through believe, perseverance and the right support around you.

“When these young girls see women from their own city doing well in sport it inspires them to believe everything is possible with the right mindset and what equality stands for.”

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A match made in heaven: England cricket team members meet budding sport talents in Mumbai

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SUPPORTIVE: England cricketer and British Asian Trust Ambassador Moeen Ali, visits Mumbai for a ‘Give a Girl a Future’ project initiative

SUPPORTIVE: England cricketer and British Asian Trust Ambassador Moeen Ali, visits Mumbai for a ‘Give a Girl a Future’ project initiative

England’s cricket stars inspired the next generation of sports champions at a special training session in Mumbai.

Ten girls between the ages of 13-19 who are supported by a British rural development project called Mann Deshi, were delighted to meet England cricketers including Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali and Joe Root ahead of their test match with India on Thursday 8th December.

The British Asian Trust, one of the Prince of Wales’ charities, arranged for the England stars to meet with the girls, who have all excelled in a range of sports from running to hockey. The event marked the final day of the Trust’s major public appeal ‘Give a Girl a Future’.

England cricketer and British Asian Trust Ambassador Moeen Ali said: “The British Asian Trust is putting incredible work, funds and resources into transforming the lives of thousands in South Asia.

“The ‘Give a Girl a Future’ appeal has demonstrated that with the support of the UK public, we have been able to make a massive impact on so many lives in the region. It was an eye opening experience to meet some of these beneficiaries today, children from Mumbai who have little hope or future. Their lives have been transformed by the British Asian Trust.”

Richard Hawkes, CEO, British Asian Trust said: “It’s fantastic to give some of our children this once in a lifetime experience here in Mumbai. These children have been involved in our Mann Deshi project for a number of months as part of our overall livelihoods work in India.

“Today is a special day for us as we bring our ‘Give a Girl a Future’ appeal to an end. The appeal has been our most successful in the Trust’s 9-year history and we’d like to thank the England team for taking some time out today and spending it with us in Mumbai.”

The British Asian Trust’s ‘Give a Girl a Future’ appeal launched on 7th September and has focused on providing education and skills training to engage vulnerable girls and women in South Asia. All funds donated during the appeal have been doubled by the UK Government. The appeal has seen support from the Trust’s key ambassadors and celebrities such as Zayn Malik, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Anita Rani, Naughty Boy, Anil Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty and Rahul Dravid.

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Women at the wicket

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WORTHY WINNERS: Captain, Jasmin Akter, shows off the team’s Chance to Shine title

WORTHY WINNERS: Captain, Jasmin Akter, shows off the team’s Chance to Shine title

Bradford cricket team show what they can do when given a ‘Chance to Shine’

Two years ago, Zaheer Jaffary – a PE teacher and cricket coach at Carlton Bolling College – asked a group of girl students if any of them were interested in playing for the school team.

With cultural barriers to break down and talents to build up, he was determined to succeed.

“The immediate response I received was screams of delight and jumps of joys,” he said.

“Little did I realise that none of the girls had ever played cricket outside of the school. It soon dawned upon me what a large task this was going to be,” Mr Jaffary said.

Through ‘sheer dedication, tenacity, fight and adopting a strong mind-set’, the girls began to grow in stature and started to believe in themselves.

Victory soon followed victory for the girls, with the imminent arrival of silverware welcomed in by all at the school.

Earlier this month, the team’s success earned them the prestigious Special Recognition accolade at the annual ‘Chance to Shine’ National Cricket Awards, held at Lords on the 2nd November.

TEAM EFFORT: The squad, pictured with head coach, Zaheer Jaffary

TEAM EFFORT: The squad, pictured with head coach, Zaheer Jaffary

Mr Jaffary explained: “What an amazing two years these girls have had. Two years ago I asked a group of girls if any of them were interested in playing cricket for the school team and now they have beaten  17.5million other ‘Chance to Shine’ participants to the impressive gong.”

Looking back on a successful two years, Mr Jaffary added: “I recently entered the girls in an indoor Yorkshire tournament and they were amazing. We went to Headingley not knowing what to expect and five hours later we were in tears of joy as we had just become Yorkshire Champions.

“The girls did themselves proud by winning seven out of seven games and winning the final.  Everything just felt so surreal.”

Their journey is one of dedication and devotion. At school, the girls began to dedicate all their spare time to playing cricket and even gave up their lunch times and stayed after school to practice.

The team continued to train and never showed any sign of backing out.

“What makes this story amazing is that these girls came and embraced the game of cricket, despite some of the possible cultural and religious barriers,” Mr Jaffary said.

“The girls were not deterred and it is a testament to their hard work and incredible fight that they continued to pursue their dream and – in turn - soon developed a school academy for all the other girls.”

CHAMPIONS: The Carlton Bolling College girl’s cricket team received the Special Recognition award from Chance to Shine earlier this month

CHAMPIONS: The Carlton Bolling College girl’s cricket team received the Special Recognition award from Chance to Shine earlier this month

Several months later, the girls were entered into the outdoor tournament at York. They played out of their skins, won the tournament and became Yorkshire U15’s champions.

The girls beat the best school cricket team in England, even after playing under their age group.

“Even though this tournament was for the U15’s, I entered an U13’s team because, deep down, I just knew that they could compete.

“Since winning the Yorkshire championships both in and outdoor, the girls have received much Media coverage. They have been interviewed by BBC Radio Leeds and Radio 5 Live and were even invited by Lord Patel to Lords for a training session with Isha Ghoa and Mark Robinson, the new England National Coach,” Mr Jaffary continued.

The girls have now set up their own academy that invites girls from all nationalities to come and try out the game for themselves, whilst coaching the young girls at lunch times to promote the game in the community.

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“A whole new ball game”

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BUILD ON DEFEAT: Following their loss in Bangladesh, England will be hoping to bounce back in India

BUILD ON DEFEAT: Following their loss in Bangladesh, England will be hoping to bounce back in India

Jonathan Trott previews England’s winter tour

Jonathan Trott is a cricketer who, in his prime, would have walked into any international setup in the world.

From scoring a maiden century on his international test debut against Australia in the 2009 Ashes, to cementing his position amongst the world’s top ‘number three’ batsmen, his career with England was sadly short-lived yet his achievements speak for themselves.

What England would give for a player of his ability and temperament to come in at ‘number four’ nowadays is anybody’s guess.

This past week, he has been speaking with the Asian Express Newspaper about England’s chances in India and what went wrong in that final Test against Bangladesh.

Reflecting on England’s post-lunch collapse in Dhaka last month, which saw them lose all 10 wickets for just 64 runs and ultimately tie the series, Trott said lessons need to be learned.

“I think England will obviously be disappointed,” he said. “They found themselves playing very good cricket for the majority of the day and it just goes to show, you lose one session in a Test match and it can lose you the game.

“They will be disappointed not to have finished the tour on a high, but they will also be going to India now, pleased to have got in some competitive cricket.”

Despite the defeat, Trott remains somewhat upbeat about the national side.

“I think a two test series against Bangladesh which they didn’t win can also be a good thing,” he added.

“They went to Bangladesh and sometimes teams can just spend three weeks playing warm up games and not get prepared. This time around, Bangladesh gave them a good eye opener and good preparation for India.

“Playing India will obviously pose a completely different threat. The environment you play in and the level of opposition, taking nothing away from Bangladesh, will create a much tougher test.

“If England had gone and thrashed Bangladesh they could have perhaps got a rude awakening in India and found themselves a couple of games down, whereas now, they know that they are going to be in a scrap and that’s the sort of mentality they need.”

TALKING TACTICS: Trott was lethal with the bat in his prime and believes there are many good options for England

TALKING TACTICS: Trott was lethal with the bat in his prime and believes there are many good options for England

England begin their tour of India on Wednesday 9th November with the first of five Tests kicking off in Rajkot.

The hosts haven’t lost a Test series at home since they were defeated by England back in 2013 and are currently ranked as the number one side in the world.

Trott was one of the star batsmen in the final Test three years ago, smashing an unbeaten 143 runs.

Ahead of the first ball of the 2016 series being bowled, he says he predicts a low-scoring series and is optimistic for England’s chances.

“I’d like to think England can go there and draw the series,” he said. “It will be difficult to win, especially the way India have been playing at home – I’m not sure they’ve lost many at all recently.

“They are preparing pitches for spin bowling a lot more but hopefully we can come away with a draw.”

He added: “India will undoubtedly have a lot of skill in their side, a lot of energy in the field.

“They have a lot more younger players and playing in the IPL has definitely improved their fielding a lot since I was playing especially.

“When I played 25 years ago, they had the Tendulkars, Lakman, fielding wasn’t high on the tactic sheet but these guys nowadays are good all-round cricketers.

“It’s going to be competitive and they will definitely be backing themselves.”

In Bangladesh, England once again showed their frailties when facing spin bowlers, with 19 wickets taken by the inexperienced 19-year-old, Mehedi Hasan.

With the likes of Ravi Ashwin ready to pounce on any hesitation in England’s batting order, there can be no slip up at the wicket.

“A lot of the players who travelled to Bangladesh have been on Lions trip tours where they have experienced subcontinent conditions so inexperience isn’t really an excuse,” Trott said.

“Last year they went to Abu Dhabi and Sri Lanka so they do spend a lot of time playing spin in test cricket.

“You can play as much of it as you want to in the net but actually coming up against it in an actual match is a whole new ball game. For a lot of them, it’s their first Test in a subcontinent experience and they struggled.”

TIME TO FOCUS: Jonathan Trott believes England can draw the Test series with India but need to hit the ground running (Pic credit: Chance To Shine)

TIME TO FOCUS: Jonathan Trott believes England can draw the Test series with India but need to hit the ground running (Pic credit: Chance To Shine)

Gary Ballance was one of those singled out for his poor performances in the Test matches with Bangladesh, managing just 24 runs in four spells at the wicket.

With the Yorkshire batsmen unlikely to feature in the Test series squad in India, Trott says there are still many possible replacements for the ‘number four’ spot.

“It will be interesting to see whether they want Moeen (Ali) to bat further up and then possibly bring in an all rounder or perhaps Jos Buttler could bat further down,” he said.

“They’ve got so many options because they have so many bowlers who can bat, like stokes and Rashid and Ansari, it’s really difficult.

“It looks like Ballance isn’t going to play anymore so perhaps Buttler would be a good choice for experience in India and let Jonny (Bairstow) keep the gloves.”

He added: “I think it will also be interesting to see how we line up from the start. Everyone goes on about wanting Hales to open the innings, wanting to put impetus on the top but I think Duckett gives you that.

“He has played really well and hopefully that will give him confidence to play at the top, the way he did in the last innings, even though the situation was dictated to him. I’d like to think Duckett will stay at the top.”

England will play a five Test series in India (between 9th November and 20th December), followed by three One Day Internationals (15th January to 22nd January) and three T20 games (26th January to 1st February).

Sky Sports will show all five of England’s Tests v India this winter as part of a year round schedule of international cricket.

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Tahir targets Derbyshire

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SNAPPED UP: Derbyshire will become Imran Tahir’s fourth County Club when he joins the team next summer

SNAPPED UP: Derbyshire will become Imran Tahir’s fourth County Club when he joins the team next summer

World’s top T20 bowler joins County Championship side

As the focus of cricket fans turns to the international game during the winter months, business has already begun back at county level with Derbyshire pulling off one of the coups of the season so far.

The signing of South African leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, was announced earlier this month on the club’s official website and signals their first overseas signing for 2017.

The 37-year-old is due to join up with the squad in June 2017, after the ICC Champions Trophy, and will be available in all formats of the game until the end of the season.

Currently ranked as the number one bowler in the world in Twenty20, the signing has been praised by club officials and fans alike.

Chairman, Chris Grant said: “At the end of the season, we committed to investing in top quality players to improve the squad and ensure we could compete more strongly in 2017.

“This signing clearly demonstrates that we are delivering on that commitment and we look forward to welcoming Imran to Derbyshire.”

Tahir has represented South Africa on over 100 occasions, taking 211 wickets with an average of just 26. As a professional, he has taken 1,193 wickets in over 500 games.

Director of Cricket at Derbishre, Kim Barnett said the club were ‘excited’ to have him onboard.

“We are keen to strengthen our squad with experienced match winners who will also help our talented youngsters,” he said.

“With his vast international and domestic experience here in England, Imran fits the bill perfectly.

“He is one of the best leg spinners in the world and we’re very excited to have him on board. Not only will Imran bring an added dimension to our bowling line up, his influence on the team and players, such as Matt Critchley, will be immense.

“Whilst our initial plans are very much focused on next summer, we are both going into this with an open-mind and a view to looking at long term options.”

As well as starring on the international scene, Tahir has tasted County action in the past, turning out for Hampshire, Warwickshire and most recently Nottinghamshire.

In total, he has appeared in 188 first-class games, claiming 766 wickets at an average of 26, with best figures of 8-42. He has also featured in 311 limited overs matches taking 427 wickets at an average of 22.

Ahead of his move next summer, the talented bowler said: “I love playing cricket in England and I’m looking forward to playing a senior role at Derbyshire.

“I’ve learned a lot over the years and if I can pass my knowledge on to youngsters and help win matches, then it’s a great option for me.”

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Putting a ‘spin’ on multifaith

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TWO TEAMS: The Yorkshire and Lancashire sides were made up of Imams and Vicars from both sides of the Pennines

TWO TEAMS: The Yorkshire and Lancashire sides were made up of Imams and Vicars from both sides of the Pennines

Iconic cricket match brings together religions and counties

An interfaith cross-county cricket match, which saw clergy from the Muslim and Catholic religions unite for a game at the wicket, resulted in a Yorkshire victory last weekend yet it was the community who were the true winners.

Organised by the Kumon Y’all youth group in Dewsbury, two mixed teams of Imams and Vicars – representing Lancashire and Yorkshire - faced off in the first match of its kind at the Mirfield Monastery.

After a long day of cricket, it was Yorkshire who eventually lifted the trophy with a six-run victory, with crowds applauding all who took part on the day.

 

Farook Yunus, who runs the Kumon Y’all group, spearheaded the project.

AT THE CREASE: After a day of cricket, Yorkshire were eventually crowned champions

AT THE CREASE: After a day of cricket, Yorkshire were eventually crowned champions

Having previously staged interfaith football and cricket matches in the past, he said this was the biggest game of its type to date and was delighted with its success.

“This event has been organised to show the wider communities of Lancashire and Yorkshire that even though we may look different or have different faiths, we have much more in common,” he said.

“Everyone really enjoyed themselves on the day.”

Despite their defeat, representatives from the Lancashire side remained in a buoyant mood following the final delivery of the day.

Bishop David of Manchester said: “We have had fun together and having fun together is more important than anything else.”

Molana Hanif, from Blackburn, added: “All faiths have one message and this is the message of peace."

BIG HIT: Rev Mark Umpleby shows off his batting skills at the wicket

BIG HIT: Rev Mark Umpleby shows off his batting skills at the wicket

 

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A holy game: All roads lead to Batley for Vatican side

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INTERFAITH: Mount Cricket Club headed to the Vatican last year to face the Vatican St Peter’s XI

INTERFAITH: Mount Cricket Club headed to the Vatican last year to face the Vatican St Peter’s XI

When most people think of Vatican City, they think of the Pope, historic buildings and holy land.

Not many will have the West Yorkshire town of Batley on their minds, yet relations between the two areas are once again being strengthened this month through the means of cricket.

Last year, representatives from the Mount Cricket Club made the long trip across Europe to take on the Vatican St Peter’s XI in the Pope’s ‘back garden’ as part of an interfaith relations initiative.

The team, made up of all-Muslim players and representatives from Batley’s Madina Masjid, faced off against the Roman Catholic side during a four-day visit.

Now, just less than one month after that historic match-up, the two sides will face off again in Yorkshire as the St Peter’s side travel to England.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Headingley Stadium will host the iconic game on Monday 19th September, with Mount CC hoping to get one over their opponents following their defeat in Rome last year.

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, part of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said the visit would be extremely beneficial for all parties.

He said: “I believe that sport has the ability to break down boundaries and bring communities together.

“Cricket, particularly with its rich and diverse history, is a great example of this.

“As a lifelong cricket fan and a member of the ECB, I am pleased that cricket has been the catalyst to bring these communities together.”

As well as their headlining game, the tour will see the Vatican representatives visit Batley’s Mount Pleasant Islamic Trust and St John Fisher Catholic Academy in Dewsbury.

A Twenty20 match between St Peter’s and a multi-faith community XI from Batley will also be held at the town’s PKWA centre.

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Bowling out domestic violence: Cricket history at Headingley

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COMPETITIVE: Despite being unable to play outdoors, the men’s teams were still able to play out some overs in the indoor facilities (pic credit, Tabz Media)

COMPETITIVE: Despite being unable to play outdoors, the men’s teams were still able to play out some overs in the indoor facilities (pic credit, Tabz Media)

History was made at Headingley last Sunday as the UK’s first all Asian women’s cricket team took to the field to ‘bowl out domestic violence’.

Led by female cricket icon Salma Bi, the ‘Asian Inspiration’ side took on the Combined Services women for the White Ribbon Trophy as part of a day of cricket devoted to raising the issue of domestic violence and abuse against women and children.

This historic occasion marks a new chapter in Cricket as the ECB (English Cricket Board) have already set out to develop cricket within South Asian communities.

BIG SUPPORT: Men, women and children teams lined up for the event aiming to raise awareness of domestic violence against women (pic credit, Tabz Media)

BIG SUPPORT: Men, women and children teams lined up for the event aiming to raise awareness of domestic violence against women (pic credit, Tabz Media)

The day was organised by Halima Khan and Ikram Butt, co-founders of Cricket Beyond the Boundary Line, which aims to use sporting initiatives as platform for campaigns that facilitate peace and equality around the globe.

The event was endorsed by the ECB and Yorkshire County Cricket Club, whilst the festival also featured 80 junior players demonstrating ‘quick cricket’ as well as Bollywood dancers, Bhangra drummers and an Army band.  

The Inspirational Women’s team batted out their overs, however the game ended in a tie due to the rain and both teams shared the trophy. Unfortunately, the weather did not allow the men's game to take place, however, they did go into the indoor facilities and played a number of over’s against each other in the spirit of cricket.

HISTORIC: The Asian Inspiration side were led out by cricket icon, Salma Bi

HISTORIC: The Asian Inspiration side were led out by cricket icon, Salma Bi

Chris Green, founder of White Ribbon UK, explained: “There’s substantial evidence showing that when women are empowered, they experience less violence. As a leading organisation in the field of preventing male violence against women, we were delighted to support this event.”

Halima Khan, Director of CBBL commented: “Today marks the start of a new era for cricket empowering women and men from diverse communities to take to the crease and speak out on bowling out domestic violence against women.

“As we move forwards we would like the ECB to support more of these initiatives which aim to inspire communities at grassroots levels and BEM (British ethnic minority) women to play the game and get involved in the game’s administration,” added Halima.

OPPOSITION: The Combined Services sides eventually drew the contest

OPPOSITION: The Combined Services sides eventually drew the contest

West Indies international player Jonathan Carter, Ex- England International Sajid Mahmood, ECB Independent board director, Lord Patel of Bradford, Greg Mulholland MP, Leeds North West,Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner,  and Dr Hanif Malik OBE, were present to watch the proceedings as well as special guest Jackie Janmohamed, President of Kenya Cricket and the first female to head up an international cricket board.

Ms Janmohamed commented: "It was great to be a part of this innovative initiative campaigning to end violence against women and empowering people to speak up through the medium of cricket.

"I look forward working with CBBL and the combined services to replicate a similar event in Kenya in the future."

Major LM Marr, Head of Engagement  for Yorkshire and the Humber, commented: “’We, the Armed Forces, were delighted to take part in the White Ribbon ‘Bowling out domestic violence event’ as it supported two focus areas that we feel really strongly about. 

MINI SPORTS: As many as 80 children took part in small games of cricket on the day, whilst activities were also on offer (pic credit, Tabz Media)

MINI SPORTS: As many as 80 children took part in small games of cricket on the day, whilst activities were also on offer (pic credit, Tabz Media)

“Firstly the issue of domestic violence which we are as keen as every other area of society to stamp out and secondly the empowerment of women from any religious or ethnic background to be able to play sport, or take part in physical activity of any nature.

“It was a fantastic event and we feel very honoured to have been able to take part in it. The Combined Services Team are very much looking forward to the rematch.”

TEAMING UP: Ikram Butt, Mark Burns-Williamson and Lord Patel of Bradford were in full support of the day (pic credit, Tabz Media)

TEAMING UP: Ikram Butt, Mark Burns-Williamson and Lord Patel of Bradford were in full support of the day (pic credit, Tabz Media)

Former rugby league and union international Ikram Butt, founder of BARA and Sport Campaigns Manager for White Ribbon was pleased to see so much support on the day, despite the rain.

He added: “This was a great opportunity to raise awareness of violence against women and develop women in sporting roles at the same time.

“We aim to make this an annual fixture for both the men and women’s game as well as organize tours and expand opportunities for people from diverse communities to take part in cricket.

“I would like to thank all of those involved in the day. Sponsors, supporters, players and organisers all played their part in getting out this vital message.”

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A grassroots game

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Documenting the love affair of Asian cricket in Yorkshire

A photography exhibition, illustrating the grass roots beginnings of Asian cricket in Yorkshire, has been launched at the Yorkshire Cricket Museum at Headingley to coincide with the Pakistan tour.

The exhibition contains over 30 photographs, taken by cricket enthusiast Mohanlal Mistry, of back-street cricket being played in West Yorkshire in the early 1990s.

It is part of the ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ project which is documenting the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire.

FPTP-03b (280x450)The project was developed by the AYA Foundation, with support of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, the England and Wales Cricket Boards (ECB), and Bradford Local Studies Libraries, and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mobeen Butt, the curator of the exhibition and Project Lead of the ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ project said: “The photographs perfectly capture how young Asians played cricket in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

“They didn’t play on cricket grounds, in practice nets or even in parks - they played wherever they could, and that meant playing in alleyways, car parks and waste grounds.

“They played with milk crates, traffic cones and crisp boxes for wickets and would carve out a bat from pieces of broken floor board or fence”.

Maria Hussain is one of the young people who has been helping with the project.

Growing up watching her father play cricket from before she ‘can even remember’, she said the images help to document the change in the relationship between the sport and the Asian community.

“My dad plays cricket... he plays for a club,” she said.

“The ground he plays on is really nice and green, and well kept. These young people in the photos played in very dirty and sometimes dangerous conditions. They played in the streets”.

She continued: “This exhibition is only a small part of our project. We’ve been to visit archives and museums. We’ve been to Lords, and we’ve been taught how to conduct oral history interviews and been on photography workshops.

“We will be producing a radio and video documentary and putting everything on YouTube for everyone to see.”

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: The exhibition was officially opened by Yorkshire CCC CEO, Mark Arthur, and Bradford’s Lord Patel

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: The exhibition was officially opened by Yorkshire CCC CEO, Mark Arthur, and Bradford’s Lord Patel

Mark Arthur, CEO of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Lord Patel of Bradford, Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were at the launch of the exhibition last weekend.

Speaking of the project, Mr Arthur said: “With the Quaid-e Azam League continuing to go from strength to strength, and players such as Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq both playing in the First XI, Asian cricket has and will continue to play a major part in the rich history and heritage of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

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“An exhibition celebrating the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire is long overdue and we were delighted to help launch it here at Headingley Cricket Ground.

“There is a real appetite for cricket in local Asian communities, as was demonstrated at the Fourth One-Day International when Pakistan supporters came in their droves and created such a vibrant atmosphere.”

Lord Patel added: “We often hear people say that for Asians cricket is a religion, and playing the game is in our blood – an inherent part of who we are.  I believe that this exhibition captures that sentiment perfectly.

“For me personally, it brought back many memories of my childhood experiences of playing this great game – it is so important that we do not forget this rich history, learn from it, understand it, build on it and all move forward – not just in Yorkshire but around the country.”

The exhibition is planning to tour numerous indoor as well as outdoor venues around West Yorkshire.

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Love of the Roses: Imams and vicars to bat it out in cross-county cricket contest

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HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Yorkshire and Lancashire teams will face-off on Saturday 17th September

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Yorkshire and Lancashire teams will face-off on Saturday 17th September

Religious leaders from both sides of the Pennines will come together later this month for an inter-faith cricket match, aiming to eliminate any ‘boundaries’ which may exist between different communities.

Titled ‘Love of the Roses’, the event sees two teams - made up of a mixture of imams and vicars – face off in a Twenty20 match, representing both Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Farook Yunus, project manager at youth group Kumon Y’all, is one of those spearheading the project this year, building on the success of a similar event in 2015.

With the 11-man teams all signed up and ready for action, the community figure says he is looking forward to seeing the first ball of the day.

“We are confident that this event has the potential to be even bigger and better than last year,” he said. “Last year, the game was simply an ‘Imam XI versus a Vicar XI’ form the local area.

“This year we have our own war of the roses, except we are crossing out the word ‘war’ and replacing it with the word ‘love’ instead.

“We want to show the world that you can have different beliefs, different looks and different backgrounds but we have so much more in common which we can share. It’s as simple as that.”

RELIGION AND SPORT: Vicars and imams from across Yorkshire and Lancashire will face off later this month is a unique cricket game arranged to promote interfaith relations

RELIGION AND SPORT: Vicars and imams from across Yorkshire and Lancashire will face off later this month is a unique cricket game arranged to promote interfaith relations

Amongst those signed up to be a part of the ‘White Rose’ team is Batley, Purlwell and Hanging Heaton priest, Reverend Mark Umpleby.

Describing himself as a ‘proud Yorkshireman’, he is a keen advocate of the contest and represented the Vicars XI in last year’s matchup.

Speaking about this year’s game, set to take place The Mirfield Monastery on Saturday 17th September, Rev’d Umpleby said: “It’s a great initiative.

“Instead of vicars facing off against imams, we are playing together as Yorkshire against the old enemy – Lancashire.

“By playing side-by-side with different faith leaders, it shows what the whole event is about - growing friendships, understanding one another more. In today’s world it is a great thing for us all to be doing.”

On the day, free food and drink will be on offer for spectators as well as entertainment for children including archery and bouncy castles.

The event is headed by the youth group, Kumon Y’all and supported by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF).

Taj Butt is the Community Development Officer at YCF and he said it was important for the county club to back the project.

He added: “Last year it was a local event and we heard really good things about it.

“This time around, with it being Yorkshire versus Lancashire, we thought it was really important to get involved as it is not only a really good advert for the game but it brings different communities together.

“That’s what cricket is all about and we are really pleased to be involved with something like this.”

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Champions…Again!

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VICTORIOUS: Bradford Gymkhana clinched their sixth H Broadbent Trophy this past month with victory over Salem Athletic (pic credit: John Bolloten)

VICTORIOUS: Bradford Gymkhana clinched their sixth H Broadbent Trophy this past month with victory over Salem Athletic (pic credit: John Bolloten)

Bradford Gymkhana cast their winning spell on Salem

The 24th edition of the H Broadbent Trophy final played out in front of an expectant crowd last month as Bradford Gymkhana cemented their place in the history books as the tournament’s most successful side ever.

The cricket tournament, which sees teams from Bradford’s Mutual Cricket League compete for the treasured trophy, concluded with a meeting between the Gymkhana side and Salem Athletic.

After a closely fought contest, it was the experienced favourites who once again came out on top for a sixth time in their history with Gymkhana (240 all-out) defeating their opponents by 40 runs.

With a host of youthful talent currently breaking through the ranks at the 2016 winners, the future looks bright for cricket in Bradford.

Bradford Gymkhana - 240 Vs Salem Athletic – 200 (Gymkhana win by 40 runs)

After winning the toss, Gymkhana elected to bat first in testing conditions at Manningham Mills Cricket Ground yet got off to a flying start.

Their ever-reliant openers, Nadeem Aslam and Saudagher Hussain, shared an opening partnership of 54 in 12 overs, setting the platform for Gymkhanas middle order to cash in with Majid Baig and Mohammad Saleem taking the score to 102-2 at the drinks break.

Salem struck back straight after with Abdul Jabbar trapping Baig LBW.

Out came Mohammad Saeed making a quick 29 before going for a shot too many over the covers and hauling out.

HANDS ON THE PRIZE: The Gymkhana side continued their recent dominance in the H Broadbent Trophy, pictured is man-of-the-match, Nazam Hussain, lifting the trophy

HANDS ON THE PRIZE: The Gymkhana side continued their recent dominance in the H Broadbent Trophy, pictured is man-of-the-match, Nazam Hussain, lifting the trophy

Salem struck two wickets in quick succession, leaving the match poised at 157-5 after 30 overs. A crucial 77-wicket stand partnership between Habib Ur Rehman (61) and Mohammad Saleem (47) took Gymkhana to a score of 240.

Habib’s innings was at a strike rate of over 200 which included four sixes, one of which landed out of the stadium and onto the road.

In reply, Salem started their innings briskly but kept losing their wickets trying to keep in touch with their required run rate. At 77-3 the innings was rebuilt with Hafeez Rehman (38) and Mohammad Awais (60) sharing a stand of 73.

Salem were cruising at 150-3 after 27.3 overs and were looking on course with a target of 90 runs in 74 balls.

However, just as the side looked to be taking control, Awais was out to the bowling of Mohammad Zaman after being caught by a stunning catch by Nazam Hussain.

This was the turning point for Gymkhana as, in the 29th over, Nazam Hussain took two wickets in two balls.

Salem’s late order tried to revive the chase but to no avail and were eventually bowled out for 200 to spark the celebrations.

Gymkhana won the game by 40 runs which was good entertainment for the neutral spectator.

Man of the match was awarded to Nazam for his outstanding bowling performance of 4-46 and taking the vital catch which turned the game around.

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Having faith in sport: Cricket and religion go hand-in-hand at Headingley

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CUTTING THE CAKE: Baroness Scotland of Asthal cuts the cake at the opening of the room

CUTTING THE CAKE: Baroness Scotland of Asthal cuts the cake at the opening of the room

Some people say sport is religion and religion is sport.

The latest addition to Headingley Cricket Ground certainly reinforces this idea, as Yorkshire opened their first multi-faith room this past week.

The area will be available for visitors to use with immediate effect and builds further on the club’s commitment to work with all communities.

At the official opening on Friday 26th August, dignitaries gathered for a ribbon cutting event and to cut a celebratory cake.

Qari Asim, Imam of the Makkah Masjid, was one of those in attendance on the day and praised the ‘inclusivity’ that the room promotes.

“It’s an honour to be sharing these few moments with everyone here today,” he said. “I’ve been on a journey with Yorkshire County Cricket Club for quite some time and talks have been held about launching this multi-faith room.

“Having this space here today, in this iconic stadium, symbolises the relationship that exists between faith and sports. Yorkshire has really shown its commitment to honour inclusivity and diversity in this area and they should be commended on this fantastic work.”

OPEN: Dignitaries gathered for the launch of the multifaith room at Headingley Cricket Stadium this past week

OPEN: Dignitaries gathered for the launch of the multifaith room at Headingley Cricket Stadium this past week

The multifaith room will provide a quiet space for prayer or reflection and is open to people of all and no faith.

It is sponsored by Regal Bakery and was launched with the support of the White Ribbon Campaign – which works to end violence against women.

Mohammed Younis, from Regal, said: “As soon as I was contacted regarding this initiative I was eager to get involved.

“We, as a business, believe that we need to be giving something back to all the communities that we serve and this room does just that.”

Baroness Scotland of Asthal, who was amongst the guest speakers, said the room represented a strengthening of the relationship between sports and religion.

As a leading international advocate for the end to violence against women, she added her thanks to the White Ribbon campaign.

Meanwhile, Hanif Malik, who became the first Asian person to sit on the board at Yorkshire earlier this year, added: “Since taking up this position, people have been asking me ‘why have you done it?’

IN SUPPORT: Mohammed Younis and Faisal Ali, of Regal Bakery, celebrate opening the room with White Ribbon Sports Ambassador, Ikram Butt (centre)

IN SUPPORT: Mohammed Younis and Faisal Ali, of Regal Bakery, celebrate opening the room with White Ribbon Sports Ambassador, Ikram Butt (centre)

“I have done it because I share this club’s vision in terms of not only trying to make Yorkshire the greatest county cricket club in the country, but also a club which is a lot more reflective of the wonderful vibrant and diverse communities we have here in Yorkshire.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club worked with several faith organisations and communities to setup the multifaith room.

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Rashid in the running: Bradford bowler targets ACA crown

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STAR MAN: Rashid may have starred recently for England’s T20 setup and the Adelaide Striker in Australia’s Big Bash competition, yet he still found time to help out at his cricket academy in Bradford

STAR MAN: Rashid may have starred recently for England’s T20 setup and the Adelaide Striker in Australia’s Big Bash competition, yet he still found time to help out at his cricket academy in Bradford

Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid is hoping to stop his international team mate, Moeen Ali, from making it a hat-trick of wins at the 2016 Asian Cricket Awards (ACA) when the annual ceremony returns in September.

Coming off the back of a successful season, Rashid has once again been nominated for the coveted Player of the Year trophy and is likely to prove a stiff challenge to the Worcestershire all-rounder.

The 28-year-old from Bradford made his international Test debut against Pakistan in October 2015 and took five wickets for 64 runs in the second innings in Abu Dhabi.

He cemented his place in the national ODI setup and helped England reach the final of this year’s T20 World Cup competition in India.

STAR MAN: Rashid may have starred recently for England’s T20 setup and the Adelaide Striker in Australia’s Big Bash competition, yet he still found time to help out at his cricket academy in Bradford

STAR MAN: Rashid may have starred recently for England’s T20 setup and the Adelaide Striker in Australia’s Big Bash competition, yet he still found time to help out at his cricket academy in Bradford

Domestically, he has also starred for the Adelaide Strikers in Australia’s Big Bash competition.

“I’m honoured to have been nominated in the 2016 Asian Cricket Awards alongside my England team-mate Moeen Ali,” Rashid said.

“I’m very proud of my Pakistani heritage, and to be representing England at cricket.

“There are so many people in the British-Asian community who give so much to the sport in this country at every level, and I wish all the nominees the very best of luck.”

The ACA, which are held in association with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and supported by the Club Cricket Conference (CCC) are open to people with British-Asian heritage, as well as those dedicated to increasing Asian participation in British cricket.

The 2016 ACA were launched last week at the Kia Oval, with the gala awards ceremony scheduled to take place at the same venue on Friday 23rd September.

Tom Harrison, chief executive of the ECB, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Asian Cricket Awards once again as part of our wider commitment to South Asian communities in England and Wales.

“Our congratulations to all those nominated for these awards, which are a fantastic way of recognising the South Asian players, coaches, officials and volunteers who give so much to our game every year.”

Speaking at the launch, Lord Patel of Bradford, a director of the ECB, said: “Cricket is a great vehicle for bringing people together – different communities, different faiths.

“Over the last three years lots of work has been done – we’ve invested in more than 450 new coaches and umpires, and 2,500 more young Asians are playing indoor cricket. We will continue to be partners and help to make sure the Asian Cricket Awards continue year in, year out.”

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Cakes and cricket

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SPORTING DREAMS: Asim Saleem,CEO of Kashmir Crown Bakery, with members of successful Great Horton Church Cricket Club under 9s team supported by KCB

SPORTING DREAMS: Asim Saleem,CEO of Kashmir Crown Bakery, with members of successful Great Horton Church Cricket Club under 9s team supported by KCB

Asian bakery gives its backing to one of Yorkshire’s greatest sports

Kashmir Crown Bakery (KCB) are celebrating 50 years of business by teaming up with Yorkshire Cricket to promote the game amongst young people in West Yorkshire.

Widely acknowledged as one of the first Asian bakery in Europe, KCB will be supporting a number of events and activities organised by Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s South Asian Communities Project.

The South Asian Communities Project is an exciting initiative in Leeds and Bradford aimed at engaging the Asian community in playing, attending and following cricket in Yorkshire.

The funding for the project has been received by Sport England until March 2017. Five cities were chosen in total: Leeds, Bradford, Birmingham, Leicester and London.

To carry out the work in Leeds and Bradford, the project have employed a full time Community Development Officer, Taj Butt,to work with the community to ensure everyone has the opportunity to play, watch and enjoy cricket.

Bradford will have a representative team in the National Cities Cup competition – in the under 22 age group. There’ll also be ‘summer turn ups’ and ‘Enjoy Cricket’ sessions in various areas; the Ramadan Cup and Asians will be able to support Quaid e Azam Sunday Cricket League and the Junior teams at Great Horton Church Cricket Club.

Asim Saleem, CEO of KCB , said: “We are delighted to be working with Yorkshire Cricket Club and we thank the people of Yorkshire who have been supporting our business for the last 50 years.

“We are particularly keen to promote the sport amongst young people in Yorkshire.”

Will Saville, Yorkshire Cricket Foundation Manager, said: “We are ecstatic to have the support of one of the best known brands in the country to assist with our aims in Education, Health, History & Heritage, Participation and Inclusion through Cricket.

“They will be working closely with our South Asian Communities Project headed up by Taj Butt.

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‘Time to get ahead of the game’

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SHAKING THINGS UP: Lord Patel joined the ECB Management Board in July 2015 and has been a lifelong cricket enthusiast

SHAKING THINGS UP: Lord Patel joined the ECB Management Board in July 2015 and has been a lifelong cricket enthusiast

Bradford’s Lord Patel reflects on 12 months with the ECB

There are few more powerful advocates for the transforming effect cricket can have on people’s lives and their communities than the ECB Board’s recent recruit, Professor Lord Patel of Bradford.

A stalwart of the Yorkshire leagues and a qualified coach, he also happens to be one of the country’s most authoritative voices on social policy; a highly respected figure in Whitehall and Westminster whose expertise ranges across issues such as mental health, drug abuse and extremism.

He joined the ECB Management Board in July 2015 as an independent director and its first Asian member – and has spent the last 12 months getting deeper under the surface of a game which has been a major part of his life since he first arrived in Bradford as a wide-eyed Kenyan-born immigrant in the 1960s.

“I don’t have a greater in-depth knowledge of cricket than your average cricket lover,” he says. “But I do have knowledge of running big organisations and big systems and that’s where I can make an important contribution.”

GRASSROOTS: The Bradford Lord said he was more interested in getting people engaged with cricket from a young age than winning trophies

GRASSROOTS: The Bradford Lord said he was more interested in getting people engaged with cricket from a young age than winning trophies

Lord Patel describes his career as “oddball” and it has certainly been varied. He has sold cars, worked in a betting shop, been a paramedic and a police special constable.

But after forging a successful career in social work, he has branched out into wider public policy fields and operated at the highest levels of government.

He was awarded the OBE in 1999 and became a Cross Bench peer in 2006, joining the Labour party as a senior ministerial adviser in 2009 and becoming a minister in the House of Lords a year later.

Add to the mix his current role as chair of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and patron of 32 charities and you have a man hugely experienced in social policy and change.

In 2010 he authored the Patel Report, a review on treatment for drug abuse in prisons.

More recently, he has taken on another high-profile role as a personal adviser to the new Secretary General of the Commonwealth and the first woman to hold the post, Baroness Scotland of Asthal. “She’s a cricket lover as well – thankfully,” says Lord Patel of the Caribbean-born barrister and Labour peer whose Antiguan-born father played cricket with Viv Richards’ father.

In his first year as an ECB Board member, he has helped formulate a new game-wide strategy for cricket – and has a clear vision of how best to deliver change.

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“If a system isn’t broken, don’t fix it but if it is broken then don’t tinker with it,” says Lord Patel. “I think many big organisations are guilty of just tinkering at the edges because they’ve always done things a certain way.

“My view is don’t change for the sake of it but if you do want change then have a system reform. Provide the evidence and then go back to the fundamentals of ultimately what the organisation is for.

“For me, the ECB isn’t just about producing World T20 finalists - nice though that is – it’s about getting people engaged with cricket from an early age. But I don’t think it’s something the ECB can do by itself. There’s now clear evidence worldwide that sport contributes to health, well-being and leadership and skill acquisition. The ECB has to play a part in that.

“We need to be ahead of the game and have a diverse, transparent structure with good governance not just at ECB level but at county level and below.

As one of the founders of Bradford’s famous Quaid-e-Azam league in 1980, Lord Patel has retained a love of grassroots cricket. He retired from playing in the 1990s after taking all ten wickets in an innings but donned the whites again to play alongside his son Dru, who fell in love with the game during the 2005 Ashes.

Lord Patel, 55, played regularly for Northowram Fields in Halifax last summer and is hoping to do so again despite his hectic schedule. “It’s been a new lease of life for me,” he says, “and there’s nothing better in the world than playing with your son in a cricket match.”

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Youngsters’ wicket wise-up

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FROM PARKS TO PAVILIONS: The history of Asian cricket started with small beginnings and quickly grew into the phenomenon it is today (Pic cred: John Bolloten)

FROM PARKS TO PAVILIONS: The history of Asian cricket started with small beginnings and quickly grew into the phenomenon it is today (Pic cred: John Bolloten)

History of Asian cricket in Yorkshire to be celebrated

England cricketers Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid owe part of their success to early Asian migrants who played in local parks and set up teams and leagues over four decades ago.

Now, a new project, ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to document the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire.

The AYA Foundation, a community organisation specialising in promoting minority heritage, arts and culture, has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with young people from across West Yorkshire to record interviews and collect memorabilia from the founders of one of the oldest Asian led cricket leagues in Britain - the Bradford based Quaid-e Azam Sunday Cricket League.

Mobeen Butt, Projects Director at the AYA Foundation said: “The Quaid-e Azam League has been running for nearly four decades. Players from these Asian cricket leagues are now being scouted by county cricket clubs and have even gone on to play for England.

LEGENDARY: In 2006, bowling coach David Parsons considered Adil Rashid the most talented young leg-spinner in the country

LEGENDARY: In 2006, bowling coach David Parsons considered Adil Rashid the most talented young leg-spinner in the country

“I believe the way Black and mixed-race players and audiences have changed the face of football, Asian players and supporters could go on to change the face of cricket – and when this happens the material that a project like this collects will be vital to help tell a wider story of cricket in Britain.”

The project will work with over 20 young people and include trips to museums and archives, as well as visits to Headingley and Lords.

A documentary will be produced which will  exhibit at this summer’s England versus Pakistan one day international at Headingley.

Mr Butt added: “It’s very important that minority ethnic communities start writing their own history. Recording first-hand the voices of the pioneers and collecting primary source material is invaluable.

“We have already started losing some of our ‘founding-fathers’ - those that arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. It is imperative that we empower the second, third and now fourth generations by giving them the resources and skills necessary to capture their own histories; before they are lost forever.”

He went on the say: “This project is important on so many levels. Young people will be taught how to conduct oral history interviews; how archives and museums work; how to produce documentaries;  how to develop exhibitions; how to conserve fragile objects; and hopefully one day in the not too distance future they will start to develop their own heritage projects.”

Nasser Hanif, a BBC Radio journalist and Project Manager of the From Parks to Pavilions project, commented: “This project has been developed to coincide with this summer’s Pakistan tour of England.

“Older members of the Quaid-e Azam League say that it was when Pakistan toured England in the 70s that their passion for cricket was ignited and they would grab a bat and ball and start playing in the streets, alley ways and parks.

“Asian men came to England to work in the 60s and 70s. They worked unsociable hours, did the night shifts and many worked six days a week.

“The only day they had off was Sunday, and as cricket was traditionally played during the week and Saturdays, the Asian cricketers didn’t get a chance to play with the established teams.

“Asian cricketers ended up playing in the streets, in carparks and play grounds. They started their own teams and competitions, and eventually their own Sunday leagues. The investment the Asian cricketing pioneers put in nearly four decades ago is now reaping rewards as theirs sons, nephews and grandchildren are now starting to break into the highest levels of English cricket.”

Mr Hanif added: ‘We are looking for enthusiastic and energetic young people from across West Yorkshire, aged14 to 24, to help with the project. So please do come forward if you are a young person or know a young person that would benefit from taking part.”

Anyone interested in finding out more should email info@asianyouthalliance.co.uk

 

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Howzat for a result

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BRADFORD CHAMPS: Southmere Academy under-nines cricket team have secured their place in the West Yorkshire Drax Cup finals

BRADFORD CHAMPS: Southmere Academy under-nines cricket team have secured their place in the West Yorkshire Drax Cup finals

Bradford school seal place in county finals with unbeaten qualifiers

A team of young cricket stars of the future cemented their place in the West Yorkshire School’s finals earlier this month after success in their regional heats.

The Southmere Primary Academy under-nine’s smashed their way to victory in the Bradford Drax qualifiers, defeating every opponent on their way to the top of the table.

It is the first time the side, made up of boys and girls, have played competitively together.

Shazad Bashir, PE Co-ordinator at the school and coach of the cricket team, said he was extremely proud of the children’s efforts.

“The under nine’s can be really proud of themselves,” he said. “They were fantastic in the Bradford Drax Cup and deserved to go through without even losing a game.”

The Southmere squad’s success in the first stages of the Drax cup ensured their entry into the West Yorkshire finals.

If they continue their fine form in the contest, they can progress into the Yorkshire finals, set to be held once again this year at Yorkshire CCC’s Headingley Stadium.

WAHEY!: The team celebrate their success in the Bradford qualifiers

WAHEY!: The team celebrate their success in the Bradford qualifiers

Head of Academy, Delyth Roberts, was equally delighted to see the school represented so well on and off the field.

“The boys and girls have been fantastic with their performance and their attitude in every game,” she said.

“Not only are they great representatives of the school but they have gone out there and won as well which is a fantastic achievement.”

Mr Shazad, who trains the team, was also singled out for praise by Ms Roberts.

She added: “He has been great with the team as he is every year. The children really take on board what he says and you can see how much they listen to what he says,”

Since its inaugural tournament in 2007, the Drax Cup has seen over 22,000 children compete.

The competition begins each year after the Easter holidays and is open to all primary and junior schools in the Yorkshire and Teesside region.

The Drax Cup is sponsored by Drax and organised by The Yorkshire County Cricket Club in conjunction with the Yorkshire Cricket Board, The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and Yorkshire Schools’ Cricket Association.

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Rashid’s renewal: New contract at Yorkshire for bowling ace

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HOME OF CHAMPIONS: Yorkshire have recorded back-to-back County Championship titles over the past two seasons

HOME OF CHAMPIONS: Yorkshire have recorded back-to-back County Championship titles over the past two seasons

Yorkshire leg spinner Adil Rashid has put pen to paper on a new three-year-contract at the reigning County champions, keeping him at Headingley until the end of 2019.

The 28-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2015 - at both national and club level, making his international test debut in Abu Dhabi and picking up a league medal with Yorkshire.

He has represented the country in all three formats of the game over the past 12 months, which included a memorable five wicket haul against Pakistan.

BOWLED OVER: Adil Rashid says he is delighted to have penned a new three year deal with his home county

BOWLED OVER: Adil Rashid says he is delighted to have penned a new three year deal with his home county

Speaking of his new contract, Yorkshire’s Director of Cricket, Martyn Moxon, said it was a sign of real intent for the club.

“I’m thrilled that Adil has signed a contract extension,” he said.

“Adil is a special player across all three forms of the game and has had a memorable year in 2015, both in England and overseas.

“He has been a very important player for Yorkshire and has played a crucial part in our recent success.

“We look forward to seeing Adil continue to perform for Yorkshire and on the world stage.”

In county cricket, Bradfordian Rashid has proved time and time again that he can be a match-winner with both bat and ball.

Although he has long shown potential, his real breakthrough year came in 2013, when he sailed beyond 300 wickets and 4,000 runs in first-class cricket.

The following year he starred for Yorkshire in their first of back-to-back championship titles, before being rewarded for his fine form with England honours under new coach Trevor Bayliss in 2015.

Rounding off 2015 in style, Rashid finished as top wicket-taker in the renowned Big Bash whilst playing for the Adelaide Strikers.

Speaking after signing his new deal with Yorkshire, he said he was thrilled to be committing his future to his hometown club.

“I’m delighted to sign a contract extension with Yorkshire,” he said. “The last year has been great for me after winning the Championship, playing across all three formats for England and experiencing the Big Bash at Adelaide Strikers.

“I love representing my home county and I hope to win more silverware with Yorkshire in the years to come.”

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Bowled Over!

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Credits: studio68.org.uk

Credits: studio68.org.uk

Bradford welcomes cricket legend Waqar Younis as he supports Syrian relief efforts and inaugurates city’s Biriyani Festival

Last week Bradford played host to one of Pakistan’s most celebrated cricket legends, as stepped up as guest of honour at a fundraiser for Syria and also launched the city’s Biriyani Festival – an initiative of Jinnah Restaurant (see pages 26-27).

Waqar Younis, hailed as one of the greatest and fastest bowlers of all time, mingled with attendees of an emergency Zakat dinner named ‘A Night for Aleppo’ on Saturday 28th May, organised by DEC charity Islamic Relief.

As guests stepped up to help raise an impressive £101,000 for the people of war-torn city in Syria, Waqar Younis said that he was hugely honoured to have been part of an event that would help fund hospital supplies for the wounded in Aleppo.

The night featured eye-witness accounts of Syrian families and gave the opportunity for guests to partake in a question and answer session with the former Pakistan cricket coach and long-standing supporter of Islamic Relief’s work.

The event tied in to Islamic Relief’s wider Ramadan 2016 campaign, which aims to raise over £11 million to save and transform lives around the world.

To date the charity has assisted 6.5 million Syrians since the conflict began, delivering over £140 million worth of aid and assistance.

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Yorkshire Cancer Research teams up with Quaid-e-Azam cricket league

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RAISING AWARENESS: (L-R) Basharat Hussain, Chairperson of the Quaid-e-Azam Cricket League, with Sophie Bunker, Community Engagement Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, and Naheem Malik, League Secretary

RAISING AWARENESS: (L-R) Basharat Hussain, Chairperson of the Quaid-e-Azam Cricket League, with Sophie Bunker, Community Engagement Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, and Naheem Malik, League Secretary

Yorkshire V Cancer

Yorkshire Cancer Research has teamed up with the Quaid-e-Azam Cricket League to raise awareness of cancer among Yorkshire’s Asian community.

Staff and volunteers from the charity will attend events throughout the summer to help people understand the signs and symptoms of the disease and encourage them to attend screening appointments.

The league will also hold a special ‘Yorkshire V Cancer’ fundraising event on Monday 29th August, at Saltaire Cricket Club.

The 8-a-side tournament will raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research through donations, a raffle and entertainment.

Yorkshire Cancer Research is the current charity partner of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and the Yorkshire Cricket Board.

The three organisations are working together to reduce the impact of cancer in Yorkshire, where people are more likely to get cancer, and more likely to die from it, than most other areas in England.

One of the charity’s main priorities for 2016 is improving the early detection of cancer in Yorkshire.

Patients diagnosed with cancer at an early stage - before the tumour grows or spreads to other tissues or organs - tend to be treated more successfully and have a better chance of survival.

Basharat Hussain, Chairperson of the Quaid-e-Azam League, said: “The promotion of a health issue so undermined within the Asian community can only be for the benefit for those that play in the league and their families and we are proud to work with Yorkshire Cancer Research on this issue to get the Asian community talking about cancer."

Sophie Bunker, Community Engagement Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Our outreach into the Asian community is a major focus for us this year and cricket is a fantastic tool for us to bring the community together.

“We will be pushing our early diagnosis campaign at the varying events the Quaid-e-Azam league is involved with throughout the year to ensure people understand and are aware of cancer's signs and symptoms and when they should visit their GP for further advice.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research is encouraging all 778 local clubs in Yorkshire to hold a ‘Yorkshire V Cancer’ event during 2016 and help to raise funds. Clubs or businesses that choose to host a fundraising day will receive a pack with hints, tips and promotional materials to get events up and running.

For more information about holding a ‘Yorkshire V Cancer’ cricket match, visit www.ycr.org.uk/yorkshirevcancer or contact Sophie by emailing sophieb@ycr.org.uk or calling 07470 057493.

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From Bradford to India

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TALENTED: Adil Rashid is currently in India as he prepares for the T20 World Cup

TALENTED: Adil Rashid is currently in India as he prepares for the T20 World Cup

Adil Rashid discusses World Twenty20 during latest academy masterclass

He is one of the top spin bowlers in the country and has just jetted off to India to compete in the World Twenty20 tournament.

Now, as he prepares to make an impact on the world stage, Adil Rashid catches up with the Asian Express newspaper to discuss all things cricket, from the national team’s chances in India to his passion to promote cricket at grassroots level.

Going into the international tournament next week, Rashid is part of an England team determined to make up for a disappointing 2014 World Cup.

Eliminated in the group stages in Bangladesh, which involved a defeat to cricketing minnows The Netherlands, it was certainly a competition to forget for the national side.

This year, England have been drawn alongside the likes of Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies and Rashid says he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m ready to hit the ground running,” he said.

“I don’t have aims as such, I just try to play to the best of my abilities and I will always give it my all whether it be for England, Yorkshire, or Adelaide strikers.

“I just thank God for giving me the opportunity to play for my country and I am looking forward to the start of the World Cup next week.”

Rashid was speaking during a visit to his cricket academy in Bradford.

There, he hosted a leg-spin masterclass alongside brother and fellow coach, Amar Rashid, giving young cricket stars of the future the chance to learn from one of the country’s best bowlers.

MASTERCLASS: The Bradford-born bowler visited the Adil Rashid Cricket Academy last week

MASTERCLASS: The Bradford-born bowler visited the Adil Rashid Cricket Academy last week

Despite eyeing up glory in India this month, Rashid says it is always great to return to his home city and see how the academy set-up is progressing.

“They say no place is like home and I totally agree,” he said. “Travelling to different places is nice but Bradford is home, my family all live here, and I would consider myself a very family orientated person.

“The academy is also going from strength to strength. We are actually branching out now into different areas of Yorkshire and have had so much support from the local community.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff behind the scenes involved with the Adil Rashid Academy.”

The academy was established in 2012 as a way for Rashid to give back to his local community.

Open to children of all ages and abilities, the setup aims to get children into cricket and provide development advice for those who wish to make it in the professional game.

“I feel the academy can provide a strong platform to give youngsters of all communities and backgrounds the same opportunities I had,” Rashid added.

“It is very important for me to give as much back to the community as possible. I was fortunate that my father and family guided me from a young age.”

Rashid and England start their T20 World Cup campaign on Wednesday 16th March as they come up against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium.

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EXCLUSIVE: Cricket star speaks with Asian Express ahead of T20 World Cup

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BRING ON THE WORLD: Rohit Sharma says he is fully prepared for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 competition

BRING ON THE WORLD: Rohit Sharma says he is fully prepared for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 competition

Rohit’s ready

On 15th March 2016, the eyes of the cricketing world will focus in on the New VCA Stadium as India take to the field against New Zealand to kick off the ICC 2016 World Twenty20 tournament.

In front of an expectant home crowd, India will look to win the highly sought after trophy for the first time since the inaugural 2007 tournament.

Key to any of the nation’s success will be the form of opening batsman, Rohit Sharma, who is currently enjoying life at the wicket in the Asia Cup.

Speaking to the Asian Express newspaper earlier this week, the big hitter said he was eager for the commencement of the tournament and to bring smiles to the faces of India’s cricket-mad population.

BIG HITTER: The Indian batsman was part of the 2012 national side that lost out in the final to Sri Lanka and is determined to get his hands on the trophy this year

BIG HITTER: The Indian batsman was part of the 2012 national side that lost out in the final to Sri Lanka and is determined to get his hands on the trophy this year

“There is always pressure playing for India our fans rightfully expect a lot from the team,” he said.

“It’s pressure but it’s excitement at the same time. We want to succeed. We want to play good cricket for them and bring smiles to their faces.”

He continued: “Preparation so far has been going really well and it’s going to be exciting times playing in the world cup in front of our home crowd so I can’t wait.

“I hope it will be a good one for all of us.”

Sharma is one of the world’s top batsmen, smashing 1,204 runs in his 54 T20 internationals to date.

Alongside the likes of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, it is clear to see why the hosts are considered ‘favourites’ by many to lift the world title on 3rd April.

Sharma, however, insists he and his international teammates will not be taking any one in their group for granted, after being drawn against New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan.

“It’s a very tough group,” he said. “These teams are playing some really good cricket at the moment so it will be a challenge playing them.

“If you look at New Zealand’s recent performances over the past few years, they have been really great. They are a different side now and look like they are playing as a unit – that is always good for any team, when you play like one and you get the results you deserve.

“Pakistan obviously will be a very interesting game. The match has always been a big game, especially for the spectator.

“We need to look at it like just another game of cricket but for people back home in India they will be more excited than us, for sure.

“Australia is one of the teams to beat, so to have all three teams plus one of the qualifiers will be a tough group, there is no doubt about it. But we are up for it.

“We will make sure these teams have a hard time against us and they will know they are playing against a top quality side.”

India suffered heartbreak in the final of the last T20 World Cup two years ago when they were defeated by underdogs Sri Lanka in the final.

The loss ensured India’s wait for a T20 world title would extend to at least nine years.

WORLD CLASS: Sharma is officially ranked as one of the world’s top T20 international cricketers, hitting 109 fours and 42 sixes in his 54 matches

WORLD CLASS: Sharma is officially ranked as one of the world’s top T20 international cricketers, hitting 109 fours and 42 sixes in his 54 matches

Sharma scored 29 runs in the 2014 final and finished fourth in the most runs table. Speaking about match preparation for the 2016 tournament, he says ‘consistency is key’.

He said: “My routine has always been the same through all Twenty20 matches.

“I don’t take note of the opposition as a whole but I do read into the bowlers a lot. I want to understand them, what they do and how that could affect my game.

“We have a good video analyser with the national squad and I spend around 40-45 minutes with him behind the scenes to prepare. What length and line they are bowling can be crucial to our game.”

A T20 World medal is the aim for Sharma and few would back against it, but who would be the perfect final?

In 2007, India played Pakistan for the coveted trophy in South Africa. The atmosphere was like ‘being in India’ according to Sharma and one he would like to recreate this time around.

“I don’t mind playing any team really, it is just exciting because it is the world cup final,” he added.

“I think maybe India Pakistan would be great for people back home. We played them in 2007 in the World Cup and we had a feeling that we were in India, even though we were in South Africa.

“So many people flew down from India to watch that game, so it was like a home game for us. That’s what it does, the India Pakistan game, it brings a lot of crowds, it brings a lot of joy.”

First round matches for the ICC World Twenty20 begin on 8th March before the group stages commence one week later.

Sky Sports will show every ball of the ICC World Twenty20 as part of a year round schedule of live cricket.

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Historic victory: India register first Test series victory over South Africa in 11 years

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MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Ravichandran Ashwin took figures of 7-66 to help India defeat South Africa

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Ravichandran Ashwin took figures of 7-66 to help India defeat South Africa

It may have taken over nine years to occur but on Friday 27th November a top-ranked South Africa side lost an away Test series as they succumbed to defeat at the hands of India.

An inspired performance from spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, taking figures of 7-66, guided the hosts to a well earned victory with one match still to play, as they defeated the Proteas in a Test series for the first time in 11 years.

Beginning day three in Nagpur on 35-2, South Africa required a further 310 runs to maintain their impressive record on the road yet it didn’t take long for the Indian bowlers to dismantle the Proteas’ attack as they were all out for just 185 with two days to spare.

India have now won eight of their last nine home Tests, all of which have been concluded within three days.

Reviewing the game, there is no denying the reason why South Africa were unable to chase down their target, as they failed to deal with the spin bowlers in the home side’s arsenal.

All of the visitor’s 20 wickets in the game were taken by spin bowlers, with man-of-the-match Ashwin, taking 12 in total.

On day three he tore through the attack, dismissing Elgar (18), Van Zyl (five), de Villiers (nine), Duminy (19), Vilas (12), Rabada (six) and Morkel (four), to register his commendable figures.

Despite complaints about the state of the pitch, India captain, Virat Kohli, said it was all about ‘application’ when tackling such an obstacle.

“It was a challenging wicket, definitely,” he said. It's all about application. You've just got to prepare accordingly, no excuses. Throughout the series you would have five to six good balls.

“Other than that it's been mental blocks or bad shots from the batsmen.”

It is the fourth time in 31 Tests that Ashwin has taken 10 wickets. The final Test will take place in Delhi from Thursday 3rd to Monday 7th December.

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India-Pakistan cricket series hits roadblock

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Britain ICC Trophy India Pakistan Cricket

Britain ICC Trophy India Pakistan Cricket

The potential India-Pakistan series in December has hit a roadblock with the Pakistan Cricket Board adamant on the series being played in the UAE.

Pakistan will not tour India to play their 'home' bilateral series scheduled in December. A cricket website has quoted Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan as saying that a third 'home' series in India was out of the question.

Khan claimed last week that Board of Control for Cricket in India had invited Pakistan to play a series in India in December. According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the BCCI and PCB in 2014, this is Pakistan's turn to play host. For security reasons, Pakistan play their home matches in the UAE.

"There is no question of playing in India. I (am) still awaiting the reason of not playing in UAE," Khan said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the national cricket team should not accept BCCI's offer.
"I personally oppose it. The prime minister will take the final decision," Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said last week that due to government restrictions, Team India will not travel to play in the UAE.

Khan said Pakistan have played two 'home' series in India. With PCB adamant on playing host, the December series once again hits a roadblock.

"We went there in 2007 and 2012. This time not again. It is our series and we will play at our home venue which is the UAE," he reiterated. "What is the problem playing in UAE as they had also played their IPL there as well so why not Pakistan series?"

India have repeatedly thwarted the December series largely due to terror attacks, allegedly sponsored by Pakistan. Thakur, a BJP MP, has categorically stated that cricket was impossible in a climate of terror. But things have looked up after Shashank Manohar took charge as BCCI president in October.

More than security reasons, PCB and BCCI are also fighting over broadcast rights. Pakistan have a tie-up with TEN Sports while STAR India are the broadcast partners of the wealthy BCCI.

After the series with South Africa ends on 7th December, India have a month's window to play Pakistan. If the tour gets government’s nod and the Boards agree on the venue and profit sharing, the series will possibly see ODIs and T20s.

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Batley XI face off against Vatican XI

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CRICKET: The Mount Cricket Club, from Batley, faced off against the Vatican’s St Peter’s XI earlier this month in the Friendship Cup

CRICKET: The Mount Cricket Club, from Batley, faced off against the Vatican’s St Peter’s XI earlier this month in the Friendship Cup

Mount Cricket Team building faith relations around the world

All roads led to Rome for an amateur cricket club from West Yorkshire earlier this month as faith relations were strengthened through a unique match with the Vatican.

Batley’s Mount Cricket team swapped their local field for the Italian capital on 14th October after being invited to compete in a T20 game, for the Sir John Mayor’s Friendship Cup, with the Vatican’s cricket team - St Peter’s XI.

The local squad, made up of all Muslim players, faced off against the Roman Catholic side in the first such game organised to promote interfaith relations through the medium of cricket.

In total, a party of 33 travelled from Batley’s Madina Masjid for the inaugural event, including the team of 11 players, key members of the Club’s Executive Committee and supporters.

Lasting four days, the group were treated to a personal tour of St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, whilst nine members of the party attended Sunday mass led by his Holiness, Pope Francis.

Fiaz Rashid, one of those who attended mass, said of the event: “The congregation prayers had such vibrancy that you felt connected with all around you.  

“It was one of the most moving experiences I had encountered.”

FAITH: All members of the Mount team are of Muslim faith and played against the Roman Catholic side in an attempt to further build faith relations

FAITH: All members of the Mount team are of Muslim faith and played against the Roman Catholic side in an attempt to further build faith relations

Prior to the match with St Peter’s XI the visitors played a warm up game with the Roma Capannella Cricket Club, eventually clinching a six-wicket victory.

However, the matchup the following day with St Peter’s XI proved to be a more challenging encounter with the home team edging out their opponents in the final over of the game.

Aimed at promoting relationships between the two faith groups, the occasion was organised to build bridges and friendship and for those involved, it excelled expectations.

Hanif Mayet, Chair of Mount Cricket Club, summed up the whole experience saying: “The four days in Rome will be etched into our memory and hearts as an unforgettable experience.  Thank you Vatican.”

Pratheesh Thomas, a member of the Vatican team and a Seminarian, added: “Today we have realised one of our dreams, to play against a team composed of Muslim friends.”

Following the match, the two teams and members of the executive committee dined together to celebrate the event, with a rematch for the Friendship Cup already being touted to be played here in the UK.

Also attending the event was Nigel Baker, British Ambassador to the Holy See; John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mark Arthur, Chief Executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and representatives from the English & Wales Cricket Board.

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Double delight for Big John’s

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CHAMPIONS: Big John’s celebrate winning the Birmingham 30-over League title and T20 cup for the second year running

CHAMPIONS: Big John’s celebrate winning the Birmingham 30-over League title and T20 cup for the second year running

Birmingham side continue to dominate in domestic competitions

History repeated itself for Birmingham’s Big John’s Cricket Club last month as the reigning league and cup champions, retained both titles after an action packed season.

Clinching both the Birmingham 30-over League title and the T20 cup, the community team have once again proved their doubters wrong, having been labelled ‘underdogs’ upon their formation in the Birmingham Local league just four years ago.

The team is part of Big John's ‘Feeding Young Talent Program’ which helps to engage young talent into active sports by giving back to the community.

This year's T20 Cup final was held at Warwickshire County Cricket Club's home ground Edgbaston, as local players walked out at a venue which has hosted the likes of Brian Lara and Wasim Akram in recent history.

A glorious sunny Sunday on the 20th September set the scene for what would be the most exciting game of the season, pitting Big Johns cc and Dadyal Dynamos cc, against each other.

Big John’s cc won the toss and after opting to bowl first, it didn’t take long for their bowlers to start taking wickets.

Eventually having to settle for a score of 127-8 in their allotted 20 overs, the Dynamos could not handle the explosive play of Kadeer Ali, as he claimed five wickets for just 18 runs off his allotted four overs.

INSPIRING: Kadeer Ali’s individual display with the bat and ball earned him the man-of-the-match award in the T20 cup final last month

INSPIRING: Kadeer Ali’s individual display with the bat and ball earned him the man-of-the-match award in the T20 cup final last month

Ali’s off-spin variations proved too much for the Dynamos batsmen who, after a brisk start, were well contained by the control provided by the vastly experienced ex-first class player.

It was a day to remember for Ali, who after an inspiring performance with the ball, starred with the bat alongside younger brother, Omar Ali.

The pair set the pace for a powerful attacking display, as Big Johns lost just two wickets before reaching their target in 12 overs.

Omar Ali remained unbeaten on 57 as he top scored for the defending champions whilst Kadeer picked up the man-of-the-match award.

Speaking after the game, Big John’s captain, ‘Shaf’, said it was a season to be proud of for all the plauers.

“I am very proud to be the captain of such a talented team that has come from nothing to being Champions every year,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the directors of Big John's for their support and for coming to every game to motivate and cheer on the team from the stands”

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Howzat for Interfaith relations

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COHESION: The vicars and imams line up before their matchup last weekend in Dewsbury (Image: Twitter)

COHESION: The vicars and imams line up before their matchup last weekend in Dewsbury (Image: Twitter)

Cricket match brings out the best of Dewsbury

Eleven vicars and 11 imams stepped up to the crease last weekend as they ‘bowled over’ the local community with their latest good-spirited sporting contest.

COMMUNITY: Kumon Y’all project leader, Farook

COMMUNITY: Kumon Y’all project leader, Farook

Arranged by the local youth group, Kumon Y’all, the game at Sands Lane Playing Fields, Dewsbury, was set up to further build on the multi-faith relations in the region.

The vicar’s team may have been victorious on the scoreboard yet with a random draw for batsmen and bowlers, ensuring every player played two overs in each position, it was certainly a unique contest.

Free refreshments and entry was available for all in attendance as the game was played out in the sunshine on Saturday 17th September.

Farook Yunus, project leader at Kumon Y’all, explained more about the project and how it built on previous events.

“It was a fantastic day,” he said. “We had two great teams and the community spirit was again on show for everyone to see.

“The vicars team won but it was the spirit the game was played in and the message put across that we really wanted to achieve. It built on our previous Kumon Y’all football match and I look forward to seeing more events in the future.”

Whilst the action on the field of play was entertaining the crowds, local youths spoke with onlookers about the community they live in.

INTERFAITH: The game was played in good spirits with every player bowling and batting for two overs

INTERFAITH: The game was played in good spirits with every player bowling and batting for two overs

Farook added: “As well as the cricket, on the day we had a group of youngsters talking to people that came about how communities have drifted apart and what we should do.

“This is part of our work of collating information from people and then using that to bring people together. We had some really good feedback and look forward to some of our sessions with young people on making action plans.

“We also met people from three different areas and were invited to do some work with them. I think this is a very good way of uniting communities.”

Amongst the players on the vicars side was Batley, Purlwell and Hanging Heaton Priest, Reverend Mark Umpleby.

Praising the project he said: “So often in recent years, Dewsbury and the surrounding area has made the news for the wrong reasons but it is projects like ‘Let’s Unite’ which do not get the coverage they deserve.

“These events are a real relationship builder and help celebrate the diversity we have here.”

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Keighley keep up conquering record

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CHAMPIONS: Keighley RZM are hoping to make it four Championship titles in a row and sit top of the table

CHAMPIONS: Keighley RZM are hoping to make it four Championship titles in a row and sit top of the table

Big hitting Karmand reach 212 as team’s eye play-off spots

The Quaid-e-Azam Sunday Cricket League is the oldest and largest all Asian league in the country, boasting 30 teams across three leagues.

Set up in 1985, the setup is currently celebrating its 30th year anniversary and continues draw in talent from across Bradford, Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale and even Sheffield.

Keighley RZM are the current Premier Division champions and have retained the trophy for the past three years whilst upcoming talents continue to arise every season.

Keep up to date with all the latest match reports and league tables with the Asian Express Newspaper who will be reviewing the best of the week’s actions every issue.

An action-packed day of cricket in the Quaid-e-Azam Sunday leagues saw all 15 games get the go ahead with Premier Division champion’s Keighley RZM maintaining their 100 per cent record this term.

The pre-season favourites are looking to secure their fourth title in a row and made little work of Heaton Park last weekend with a comprehensive nine wicket victory.

Bowling out their opponents for just 73, with Z Qasim taking figures of 4-16, Keighley quickly reached their target of 74, losing just one wicket on the day.

Second placed Darulshafa (105-8) maintained some pressure on the runaway leaders, eventually crossing over the line in a close contest against White Rose (99 all out).

At the other end of the table, Kashmir Dewsbury (85 all out) slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat at the hands of Flix (89-2), whilst Shimlas (176 all out) were unlucky not to end their search for a win, going down at OnQ  (178-8).

The final game of the day in the Premier Division came at Bhalot (69 all out) who lacked with the bat on the day to succumb to defeat at the hands of Raja (70-7).

Elsewhere in the Section A Group 1 table, Karmand (212-9) are up to third as they registered the most runs of the weekend, thumping Friends (70 all out) in their first defeat of the season.

There were also wins for Bradford Moor, Zulfi, Bradford Royals and Rising Stars.

In Section A Group 2, Kashmir Bradford (176-8) beat Al-Minarah (124 all out) to maintain their unbeaten record and lead at the top of the table whilst Tabs, Azad and Kings XI remain six points adrift.

CHASING: Darulshafa’s narrow two wicket victory over White Rose lifted them to second spot

CHASING: Darulshafa’s narrow two wicket victory over White Rose lifted them to second spot

Premier Section

White Rose 99 all out v Darulshafa 105-8 (A Akram 53)

OnQ 178-8 (F Hussain 40) v Shimla’s 176 all out

Kashmir Dews 85 all out (Yasir Ali 4-16) v Flix 89-2 (Basit Khan 45*)

Heaton Park 73 all out (Z Qasim 4-16) v Keighley RZM 74-1

Bhalot 69 all out (H Randawa 4-4) v Raja 70-7

 

Section A Group 1

Bradford Moor 205-6 (Z Mahmood 59) v Shaheen 113-6

Karmand 212-9 (A Tariq 52, I Iqbal 40) v Friends 70 all out (A Islam 4-23)

Chach 106 all out (Y Shezad 40, T Bashir 6-28) v Bradford Royals 107-5 (A Bala 57*)

Eastern Friends 150 all out (G Hanif 76, T Hussain 4-27) v Zulfi 152-5 (K Maroof 65*)

Rising Stars 164 all out (P Khan 70) v Central Leeds 99 all out

 

Section A Group 2

Azad 161 all out (K Mehmood 5-28) v Mylahore 162-4 (S Bashir 50*, S Parwaz 50)

Kashmir Bradford 176 - 8 (M Ishtiaq 46) v Al-Minarah 124 all out

Patriots 141 all out (A Sadiq 4-30) v Kings XI 142-2 (M Saghir 67*)

Bradford Phoenix 160-5 v Tabs 162-8  

Indus Ghari 195 all out (Miraj Khan 54) v Earlmarshall 196-8 (A Hayat 62, M Nazim 60)

 

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World Champions: Australia bowl over New Zealand

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CHAMPIONS: Australia clinched their fifth world title after a convincing victory over New Zealand in Melbourne

CHAMPIONS: Australia clinched their fifth world title after a convincing victory over New Zealand in Melbourne

It was the perfect end to a glittering One Day International career for Australia captain Michael Clarke as he lifted his nation’s fifth World Cup title after a dominant seven wicket victory over New Zealand.

The two host nations were the deserved finalists of this year’s World Cup tournament, charging through their opponents in every round and setting up a highly anticipated final.

With momentum behind both sides, a close game was expected yet when New Zealand opted to bat first and found themselves at 39-3, the story appeared to be rewritten.

Brendon McCullum was dismissed for a duck whilst fellow opener, Martin Guptill, made just 15 runs from 34 balls.

A 111-run stand from Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot steadied the ship somewhat, taking the score to 150 before a collapse of seven wickets for just 23 runs, resulted in a final score of 183 all out.

RETIRING: Michael Clarke shakes the hand of Brendon McCullum as he is bowled out for the final time in One Day Internationals

RETIRING: Michael Clarke shakes the hand of Brendon McCullum as he is bowled out for the final time in One Day Internationals

Australia made the chase look easy, and when Clarke exited the wicket with a score of 74 runs from 72 balls, the 93,000 in attendance stood up to applaud the exiting skipper.

Speaking to reporters the day after their victory, Clarke praised the efforts of all the players who lived up to their tag as ‘pre-tournament favourites’.

“I think we're extremely proud,” he said.

“The fact there was a lot of expectation and added pressure put on us at the start of the tournament being a home World Cup was something we embraced from the first ball of the tournament.

“And I think the boys should be really proud of what we've achieved.”

Defeat leaves New Zealand still in search of their first World Cup title whilst Australia have now won four of the last five contests to cement their place at the top of the sport.

West Indies and India (two apiece), and Pakistan and Sri Lanka (one each) are the other nations to have found success in the competition.

 

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All out

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ELIMINATED: Eoin Morgan leads a dejected looking England side off the field after defeat to Bangladesh

ELIMINATED: Eoin Morgan leads a dejected looking England side off the field after defeat to Bangladesh

Dismal England crash out of World Cup

As Ian Bell knocks a single off the final ball of the day, England claim victory over Afghanistan yet celebrations remain subdued.

Another World Cup has now passed and another early exit for the Three Lions. It was defeat against Bangladesh prior to the final match-day that ultimately signalled the end of another unmemorable competition with fingers pointed at every player and coach.

But the question ‘where did it all go wrong?’ is one which cannot have a single definite answer. The team were given little chance pre-World Cup and didn’t bring any surprises to the field of play.

Defeats against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka, were somewhat expected and the wins over Scotland and Afghanistan should have been a foregone conclusion.

Many have argued the blame lies with coach Peter Moores yet captain, Eoin Morgan, says it is the players who must stand up and be counted following their exit.

“I certainly think it's not fair,” he told reporters. “All the responsibility should fall on the players. It's our responsibility to perform as a side, particularly when we've performed so badly.

“If there were little things, and we just weren't able to get over the line, games where we competed and little parts of our game weren't right, you could look elsewhere.

“But it's important that we realise as a side where the responsibility lies and where we want to be and how we want to get there.”

Morgan added that he would like to lead the team into the future and retain the job he was handed when Alastair Cook was dropped at the end of last year.

“I think there's going to be a review over the next couple of weeks so I can't determine whether I'll still be captain,” he added.

“The hunger is still there to do it. I've learned a lot throughout this tournament, particularly when things haven't gone so well.”

Despite Morgan struggling with the bat throughout the competition, he surprisingly finished his press conference saying he would be leaving Australia with no regrets.

“No regrets, absolutely not,” he said “We've given it everything and certainly myself, I have.”

 

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‘We must engage more with South Asian Community’

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Leicestershire CCC chief exec sets targets ahead of action packed 2015

TARGETS: Wasim Khan MBE has been the chief executive of Leicestershire CCC for just over a month and hopes to bring more South Asian players out of the youth systems and into the senior game.

TARGETS: Wasim Khan MBE has been the chief executive of Leicestershire CCC for just over a month and hopes to bring more South Asian players out of the youth systems and into the senior game.

County cricket may be at the back of many people’s minds at this time of year yet for Leicestershire’s new head, plans are already well underway for the 2015 campaign.

Wasim Khan MBE was appointed as the Midlands’ club’s chief executive at the end of October, laying out his plans for the New Year and his aims for the team.

With vast experience in community projects, through his work with the Professional Cricketers Association and the Cricket Foundation, Khan has put community engagement at the forefront of his objectives.

He stressed that although working with the South Asian community is something that is extremely important, it is vital that the Club looks to engage with the whole community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

He said: “I don’t believe that the issue of engaging with the South Asian community is a problem that lies with Leicestershire alone.

“In highly South Asian demographic areas, I think that everybody would hold their hands up in cricket and say that based on participation levels and the number of young South Asians in county age group squads around the country, the conversion rate is still very low.

“There is clearly a blockage in the system somewhere and I would like to think that Leicestershire can place itself at the forefront of addressing this.

“It would be great for us to be the pioneers of a pathway that sees more young cricketers from South Asian backgrounds transitioning into the professional game.”

Acknowledging that it may be a tough task to achieve all his targets, Khan added that he is certainly up for the challenge and hopes Leicestershire CCC can become a leader for community engagement in the league.

He said: “We are fortunate that we have a very active and very successful Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket board here. They do a huge amount of good work in the community and there’s a real opportunity for us to work very closely together.

“There is a great platform to look at everything that we do. We want to be become family-centred and engage more with the South Asian community. We want to create more of an emotional connection with people so that they feel that this is their community Club.”

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Cricket world mourns death of batsman

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Phillip Hughes

TRAGEDY: Phillip Hughes died in hospital after being hit in the back of his head by a ball during a routine domestic match

The tragic death of Australian cricketer, Phillip Hughes, earlier this week has resulted in calls from many in the cricketing community for a review into the safety aspect of the game.

Hughes was hit on the back of his head whilst batting in a domestic match on Tuesday with the force of the blow piercing his vertebral artery and causing blood to gush into his brain.

He sadly died in hospital just two days later at the age of 25.

Former England opener, Geoffrey Boycott OBE, has said there is a false sense of safety now in the sport when batsmen feel their protective gear is enough to protect them from fast-paced balls.

AWARENESS: Geoffrey Boycott said he thinks batsmen suffer from a false sense of security due to protective gear

AWARENESS: Geoffrey Boycott said he thinks batsmen suffer from a false sense of security due to protective gear

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “Most of my career I batted on uncovered pitches without a helmet.

“This taught me how important it was to have a good technique against fast bowling.

“You required judgement of what to leave, when to duck and when to play the ball.”

Adding: “Helmets have unfortunately taken away a lot of that fear and have given every batsman a false sense of security.

“Even tail-enders come in and bat like millionaires, flailing away and having a go at short balls with poor technique and lack of footwork.

“Helmets have made batsmen feel safe in the belief that they cannot be hurt and made batsmen more carefree and careless.”

Former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, is just one major stakeholder who has called on the game's administrators to work on upgrading safety standards

“This is very, very sad,” he said speaking to Reuters. “These injuries are part of cricket but precautions should be taken so that such incidents do not happen.

“I hope this never happens again on the cricket field.

“After the Nari Contractor incident a number of years have passed. But if we are still struggling with the quality of protective gear, that's a very sad thing on the part of the administrators.”

Contractor was a former captain of the Indian national side who was also struck on the skull whilst batting in a practice match, ending his international career.

After being taken to hospital, he was unconscious for days before a miraculous recovery resulted in Contractor surviving the ordeal after several operations and blood transfusions.

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Ramprakash joins England setup

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HIRED: Mark Ramprakash will take on the role of batting coach.

HIRED: Mark Ramprakash will take on the role of batting coach.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have confirmed that former middle-order batsman, Mark Ramprakash, will take on the roll of batting coach with immediate effect.

The 45-year-old, who played 52 tests between 1991 and 2002, replaced his former international team mate Graham Gooch who stepped down from the role in May.

Ramprakash averaged a modest 27.32 in tests but enjoyed a prolific career at county level with Middlesex and Surrey, scoring 114 first-class centuries.

“I will draw on my 25 years of experience as a cricketer but also am open to learning all the time,” Ramprakash said.

“I feel we have a very exciting group of players and am relishing the opportunity to continue working with them.”

Gooch was axed from the role by England captain Alistair Cook in what he described as an ‘incredibly tough’ decision.

Gooch, who began coaching the side in 2009, said he accepted the change at the time adding: “Alastair informed me that he was in favour of change.

“Although this was sad news, I respect his, and new coach Peter Moores', right to implement this change of direction.”

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