Leicestershire County Cricket Club seamer Atif Sheikh joined former Warwickshire wicketkeeper and Leicestershire coach, Keith Piper and 50 local youngsters from around Leicester at a Chance to Shine Street supported by Lycamobile session at the Cossington Street Sports Centre yesterday (22 October).
The cricketing stars and local youngsters aged 8-15 played ‘street’ cricket. It is a fast-paced version of the game which uses a tapeball – a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape – where innings lasts for 20 balls and games for 20 minutes. The games take place often in hard courts and community centres in urban areas, rather than on leafy traditional grass pitches.
Chance to Shine and Leicestershire & Rutland Cricket organised the competition. Leicestershire CCC mascot Charlie Fox also joined Piper and Sheikh in cheering on the teams.
Talking about the day Keith Piper said, “I’ve seen a lot of enthusiastic kids today which is refreshing to see. Some kids are underprivileged and don’t have the opportunity to get to cricket clubs, so this is a great opportunity for them to get up to speed with cricket. My advice to these young people is keep enjoying the game and put yourself into these kinds of situations constantly.”
Atif Sheikh added, “It’s important for the youngsters to get involved in more cricket. I’ve grown up playing tapeball cricket with my brothers who used to tape the ball up and put five, six layers around the ball to make it nice and hard! Playing this sort of cricket can improve your cricket as well – it’s how players like Saqlain Mushtaq learnt his doosra with a tapeball. These youngsters just need to enjoy playing cricket and give it 100 per cent.”
Omar Khan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at Lycamobile said, “We are passionate about connecting communities and it has been brilliant to see 50 children from across Leicester enjoying their cricket. Cricket is an incredible game for bringing people from a range of different cultures together.”
Chance to Shine Street supported by Lycamobile was launched in 2008 to bring cricket to young people in urban areas where there are few green spaces and fewer traditional cricket clubs. The charity is also using the game to promote social cohesion and connect young people from different backgrounds in diverse communities.
For more information about Chance to Shine Street sessions in Leicester please click here.
Further images from the competition can be found on our Facebook page.