"The workshop here in Trinidad is going really good... I am having so much fun but I am also learning new stuff and meeting some really nice people.....The coaches are really nice too! Final day is tomorrow can't wait for it to come but don't want it to end!!"
Investec Inner City World Cup inspires community cohesion
Aug 27, 2011
The day after a triumphant England completed the 4-0 white wash of India at the Oval, a group of young cricketers battled it out to win the ‘Inner City World Cup’ at Lord's.
Sponsored by Investec and organised by (Paul Plumbly, Development Coach) Cricket for Change, the competition is the culmination of six months of preparation by youth teams from across the capital using the 'Street20' format of the game developed by Cricket for Change to be played on housing estates and in multi use games areas. The game is six a side, 20 balls per team and uses a ‘tapeball’ which is a tennis ball covered in tape to make it behave more like a cricket ball but with minimal risk to people or property.
London has more cricket ‘teams’ than it has cricket ‘clubs’ and this competition recognizes that many young people play in teams and leagues run in local parks often as an extension of local ethnic minority networks.
During the morning of the competition at Lord's the young people play together under the banner of theirs or their parents’ country of birth. A straight knockout competition produced a Pakistan v Afghanistan final which ended in a tie with both sides starting to tire through lack of food and drink due to their adherence to the rules of Ramadan.
A ‘super over’ saw Pakistan score one more run than Afghanistan to be named winners but celebrations and disappointments were soon forgotten as the main business of the day started with the teams being split up and new teams created made up of a player from each of the eight competing teams.
PAKISTAN - 2011 Investec ICWC Champions!
At midday the 50 young players found a corner of the MCC Indoor School to sit and get to know each other, elect a captain and work out ways to beat opposition teams now made up of their friends and teammates.
The ‘Broken Britain’ social commentators would have us believe that this would be the point where the young people who would normally have no reason to speak to each other would start to fall out and revert to their ‘tribal’ roots. As the organisers predicted, the opposite happened. ‘You could feel the energy level lift as negotiations and discussions started and they made plans to beat their former teammates’, said Cricket for Change Training Manager, Danny Baker. ‘It’s a common thread of our work to let the young people take control and take responsibility and they rarely let us down. We use the game to create tolerance and breakdown fears of people from outside of their community’.
Cricket for Change Coach, Perry Sophocleous brought the West Indies team from his local estate in East London and he was delighted with their conduct throughout the day. Perry comments; ‘I heard my guys cooperating with kids they’d never met before and by the end of their first game they had arms around each other’s shoulders celebrating their successes together. I could see the friendships growing in front of my eyes and on the way back to our estate they were on at me about the next time they could come to Lords’.
The MCC has always been very supportive of the Inner City World Cup and other Cricket for Change initiatives aimed at bringing marginalized or at risk young people into the cricketing family and the thrill of playing at Lords was still there for many of the young players at the end of a hard days play. ‘We didn’t win many games today but are very lucky to play at such a nice place’, said 12 year old Samir from Brent. His team mate, Rohit said, ‘I learnt a lot from the older players from the other teams in the afternoon especially the bigger SrI Lanka boys’.
Baba from West Croydon summed up the day from his perspective. ‘We make good friends and get to play good cricket with them. Since the start I have been able to improve and I love the game. I can’t explain how good it is!’
A team from the programme sponsors, Investec, played throughout the day and were delighted to be involved. ‘Investec supports a lot of high profile sporting events but is just as keen to support sport being used to support young people who face all sorts of challenges in their lives. This event highlights the excellent work of the Cricket for Change team and some of the young people’s stories are really inspiring’.
For competition helper Alex Bassan (of Cricket for Change) there was one thing that pleased him above everything. ’Even though they were tired and had to make their way home back across London, at the end of the day almost every kid came up to me and said thank you. I really think sport and especially cricket can teach young people how to be respectful and considerate to others’.
Report prepared by Andy Sellins – Cricket for Change CEO