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14 May

Four Wicketz participants represent England at Lord's!

Four participants of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s Wicketz programme represented England in last week’s Street Child Cricket World Cup finals at Lord’s.

Sabeha Salam, Jasmin Akter, Abbas Khan and Siraj Khazi all donned the Three Lions having been chosen from the YCF Wicketz programme in Bradford.

One of their coaches on the programme, Ijazz, said:

As a coach of some of the young people that took part, it was rewarding to see the ‘fruits of our labour’ in action. In particular, it was great to see the friendships that had been forged with young people from around the world. The competition was played in great spirit and to a competitive level. From a Youth Work perspective, it was good to see the development in some of the young people in that they took part in the speeches and workshops. One could see the increase in confidence. They had clearly enjoyed the event and were loving the attention.

The tournament aimed to give children aged 14-17 from all over the world living on the streets, or at risk of doing so, a memorable weekend in England, playing group matches in Cambridge before taking to the Lord’s outfield on Tuesday 7th May.

There were 10 teams involved: England, two from India (North and South), Bangladesh, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo and Jamaica, with each team consisting of six players (three boys and three girls).

The children were given the full Lord’s experience, including playing on the main pitch, having their name on the scoreboard, hearing the five-minute bell being rung and having a steward open the gate onto the field of play for them.

In addition to the cricket, they were also shown some of the major sights of London, including the Shard and Westminster.

After the first-round group matches, which were played in Cambridge, England topped the standings with six wins from their seven matches. They then narrowly beat Tanzania in the semi-finals via a super over before losing to South India 48/1-43/3 in the final.

Of course, the results weren’t the important thing. The tournament was all about the youngsters taking part and their stories, with many not even having birth certificates or passports before making the trip over.

On his experience, Abbas said:

It felt amazing to walk out at Lord’s for the first time, as it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to be after seeing it on TV. There were quite alot of England supporters there and it felt good to hear them whilst we were playing. In my message of change, I asked for better education and for crime and violence to stop in the UK, so it was a message to the Government.

After the completion of play, the children all delivered their messages of change in a general assembly at the stadium.

Siraj also reflected on his special day:

I was really happy to play where all the great professional players have been, it was a really good experience. My favourite part was the super over because both teams were getting really excited and it got everybody in their seats and watching the game. I learnt that kids in other countries don’t have the same facilities or opportunities as us, which made me more grateful for what I have.

Wicketz is a national programme funded by Lords Taverners and delivered in Yorkshire by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, targeting children in areas of high deprivation and aiming to provide them with free sporting and life skills workshops.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Wicketz programmes in Leeds and Bradford, contact Ben Fraser on Ben.fraser@yorkshirecricketfoundation.com.

We also run several sessions in Hull, which you can find out more about by contacting Rick Robinson via Richard.robinson@yorkshirecricketfoundation.com or 07791242850.

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