Saturday, August 19, 2017
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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.

Press Image - From Parks to Pavilions - Courtesy of John Bolloten
From Parks to Pavilions – Image courtesy of John Bolloten

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. 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.”

Thanks to National Lottery players the project will work with over twenty young people and include trips to museums and archives, as well as, visits to Headingley and Lords. The project will produce a documentary and 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 and without the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund a project like this wouldn’t be possible. 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 Sundays, 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.”

Mark Arthur, Chief Executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, noted: “Yorkshire Cricket has a rich history and heritage and Asian cricket plays a major part in this. The Quaid-e Azam League is a very strong and well respected league, not just in Yorkshire, but nationally. This project will be fantastic in documenting how the clubs and league have developed over the years as well as providing many people with fond memories.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “It’s important to record the rich history of our South Asian communities participating in one of our great national sports. Cricket is still close to the hearts of local people and is a significant factor in community cohesion. We’re pleased to see the Heritage Lottery Fund get behind this as we have an enormous passion for sport across the Yorkshire region and it is a great unifier.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “South Asian communities have contributed to cricket across the UK for many years, and we are delighted to fund this fascinating project looking back at the grassroots origins of so many successful players. We are particularly pleased to see young people getting the opportunity to explore an area of their community’s heritage with particular relevance to them”.

Mr Hanif adds: ‘We are looking for enthusiastic and energetic young people, 14 to 24 year olds, from across West Yorkshire 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 or phone 07764 335 879.

The fantastic achievements of Yorkshire CCC in 2015, has been celebrated this month at a special civic reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Chapman.

Players and management from the club were in attendance to meet and be congratulated on their success by the Lord Mayor at Leeds Civic Hall and other invited guests including the leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake and legendary former umpire and Yorkshire CCC president, Dickie Bird.

800_ycccpic2Present at the event was captain Andrew Gale, who led his side to the LV= County Championship title for a second year running, and captain of Yorkshire Women, Lauren Winfield. In a memorable victory, the Yorkshire Women claimed the Royal London Women’s One-Day Cup, and representatives of the team were also present on the day with Lauren to display their own silverware along with members of the under 13 and under 15 women teams.

The achievements of the men, whose points total of 286 and 11 wins both set new records for the County Championship since it was divided into two divisions, was also recognised in the 2015 individual awards. Jack Leaning was voted the Cricket Writers’ Club Young Player of the Year for 2015 and Jonny Bairstow topped the poll for the club’s County Championship Cricketer of the Year award.

It was not just in the seniors that Yorkshire CCC led the way during 2015, as the academy reclaimed the Yorkshire League Cup, along with a number of junior sides who also tasted success in what will go down as one of the greatest seasons at all levels in the club’s illustrious history.

As part of the afternoon, speeches were made by the Lord Mayor and Yorkshire CCC director of cricket, Martyn Moxon.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Chapman said:

“The achievements of Yorkshire CCC in 2015 have been absolutely sensational, and it was a real honour to welcome both the players and management of the club to the civic hall to celebrate their success and show our appreciation as a city.

“To win one County Championship is hard enough but for the men to win two in a row is simply amazing. Coupled with the Yorkshire Women also winning the Royal London Women’s One-Day Cup and many other successes throughout the club, Yorkshire CCC continues to be a tremendous example especially to our young people, of what can be achieved through sheer hard work, dedication and skill.”



As the ICC Cricket World Cup starts this month in New Zealand and Australia, Urban Echo takes a look at the teams who will most likely be vying for the ultimate prize in world cricket… the World Cup!

*Rankings are according to Reliance ICC ODI Rankings



Ranking: 1

Past performances: 1999 (Winners), 2003 (Winners), 2007 (Winners), 2011 (Quarter-final)

Australian CaptainAustralia has competed at each of the 10 editions of the ICC Cricket World Cup, winning the title four times – more than any other country. As co-hosts of the 2015 tournament, Australia will be out to wow the hometown fans and claim an unprecedented fifth World Cup title.

Star players: Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson



Ranking: 2

Past performances: 2003 (Runners-up), 2007 (Pool stage), 2011 (Winners)

India captainIndia’s triumph in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1983 is still talked about today but it wasn’t until 2011, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that it repeated the feat at home in Mumbai. India beat co-hosts Sri Lanka in the final, leading to wide celebrations across the country. After its taste of glory in 2011, India will be out to claim back to back titles in 2015.

Star players: MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli



Ranking: 3

Past performances: 1999 (Semi-final), 2003 (Pool stage), 2007 (Semi-final), 2011 (Quarter-final)

South African CaptainAfter qualifying for the first time for ICC Cricket World Cup in 1992, South Africa has made it through to the knock-out stage in all bar one tournament (2003) but is yet to win. The team will be looking to take its performance one step further in 2015 by securing a spot in the final.

Star players: AB De Villiers, Dale Steyn



Ranking: 4

Past performances: 2003 (Semi-final), 2007 (Runners-up), 2011 (Runners-up)

Sri Lanka CaptainA competitor since the inaugural tournament in 1975, Sri Lanka has seen success on the World Cup stage. It won the title in 1996, overpowering Australia in the final but was unable to repeat the feat in either 2007 or 2011 when it was defeated in the final by Australia and India respectively.

Star players: Lasith Malinga, Kumar Sangakkara



Ranking: 5

Past performances: 2003 (Pool stage), 2007 (Pool stage), 2011 (Quarter-final)

England captainDespite coming runners up in 1979, 1987 and 1992, England is yet to win an ICC Cricket World Cup title. With a large ex-pat population in both Australia and New Zealand and the vocal support of the travelling ‘Barmy Army’, you can expect the English to bring strong support to make history in 2015.

Star players: James Anderson, Moeen Ali



Ranking: 6

Past performances: 2003 (Pool stage), 2007 (Semi-final), 2011 (Semi-final)

New Zealand CaptainNew Zealand will play proud co-host to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and will be hoping that a home crowd advantage as well as past semi-final experience will help achieve its first finals appearance in the tournament. Can the home fan base motivate New Zealand to its best World Cup performance yet?

Star players: Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum



Ranking 7

Past performances: 2003 (Pool stage), 2007 (Pool stage), 2011 (Semi-final)

Pakistan captainThe last time the ICC Cricket World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand, it was Pakistan which was crowned champion. After three successive appearances in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup, Pakistan made it one step further in 1992 when Imran Khan led his side to a 22-run win over England in the final at the MCG. It reached the final again in 1999 but failed to get out of the group stages in the last two competitions. Pakistan will be hoping for an encore of 1992 in 2015.

Star players: Shahid Afridi, Mohammed Irfan



Ranking: 8

Past performances: 2003 (Pool stage), 2007 (Pool stage), 2011 (Quarter-final)

<> on February 11, 2011 in Chennai, India.West Indies saw early success in the ICC Cricket World Cup winning the first two titles in 1975 and 1979 but since then has only featured twice in the knock-out stages, reaching the semi-finals in 1996 and the quarter-finals in 2011.

Star plyers: Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine




Year – 2012

Location – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India

Event – Retirement of Sachin Tendulkar

Known as the ‘Little Master’, India’s most celebrated cricketer is today regarded as the greatest batsmen ever.

Early Days

Born Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar on 24 April, 1973 to his parents Ramesh and Rajni Tendulkar, the youngster at first had a troubled childhood often bullying children in his school and regularly getting himself into fights. His father, who was a well-known Marathi novelist, decided to take his son to see Ramakant Achrekar, a famous cricket coach and a club cricketer of repute, at Shivaji Park, Dadar. Initially unimpressed by the mischievous youngster’s attitude and weak cricketing skill, after several more trials, Achrekar witnessed a dramatic improvement by Tendulkar and advised him to shift his schooling to Sharadashram Vidyamandir (English) High School, a school at Dadar which had a dominant cricket team and had produced many notable cricketers in the past. At the school, Tendulkar instantly became a hit with his fellow students and stepped up his training at the nets resulting in a huge improvement in his batting. Within the domestic cricketing circles, Tendulkar was now being talked about by the national team who were closely keeping tabs on his development.

On 14 November 1987, Tendulkar was selected to represent Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier domestic First-class cricket tournament, for the 1987–88 season. However, he was not selected for the final eleven in any of the matches, though he was often used as a substitute fielder.

International CareerSachin4

Tendulkar made his Test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in November 1989 aged just 16 years and 205 days. He made just 15 runs, being bowled by Waqar Younis, who also made his debut in that match, but was noted for how he handled numerous blows to his body at the hands of the Pakistani ferocious pace attack. The world took notice not specifically for his cricketing skills but for the young age in which he made his international debut. The series was followed by a tour of New Zealand in which he scored 117 runs at an average of 29.25 in Tests including an innings of 88 in the second Test. On his next tour, to England in July–August 1990, he became the second youngest cricketer to score a Test century as he made 119 not out in the second Test at Old Trafford in Manchester. Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac (known as the ‘Bible of Cricket’) described his innings as “a disciplined display of immense maturity” and also wrote:

‘He looked the embodiment of India’s famous opener, Gavaskar, and indeed was wearing a pair of his pads. While he displayed a full repertoire of strokes in compiling his maiden Test hundred, most remarkable were his off-side shots from the back foot. Though only 5ft 5in tall, he was still able to control without difficulty short deliveries from the English pacemen.’

In 1992, at the age of 19, Tendulkar became the first overseas-born player to represent Yorkshire, which prior to Tendulkar joining the team, never selected players even from other English counties. He was selected for Yorkshire as a replacement for the injured Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott and played 16 first-class matches for the county and scored 1070 runs at an average of 46.52. Dominating bowlers from all around the world for the next two awe-inspiring decades, Tendulkar ultimately played 200 Test matches scoring an unparalleled 15,921 runs along the way at an average of 53.79. He scored 51 centuries and 68 half centuries making him the highest scoring batsman of all-time.


In 2013, Tendulkar announced to the world that he would retire from all forms of cricket after the two-Test series against West Indies in November. Later the BCCI confirmed that the two matches will be played at Kolkata and Mumbai, making the farewell happen at his home ground on Tendulkar’s request. He scored 74 runs in his last Test innings against West Indies, thus failing short by 79 runs to complete the unimaginable 16,000 runs in Test cricket. The cricketing world finally said farewell to the little master and is today regarded as the greatest batsmen to ever play the game.