A Diwali celebration at Leicester’s Cossington Sports Centre was visited by Leicester-born England cricketer Samit Patel, former Leicestershire player Jigar Naik and Derbyshire CCC’s Shiv Thakor on Monday 17 October. As well as taking part in some traditional Rangoli artwork, Samit, Jigar and Shiv joined the Chance to Shine Street session at Cossington, supported by Lycamobile, the world’s largest international mobile virtual network operator.
The Chance to Shine Street competition, organised by Leicestershire CCC, saw a group of 8-15 year olds playing ‘tapeball’ cricket, a version of the game that originated on the streets of India that lasts 20 minutes and uses a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape. Samit gave the participants some top tips and answered their questions on cricket, his England career and the current Bangladesh tour.
Chance to Shine Street was launched in 2008 and aims to provide opportunities to play cricket to people in places that the game has not traditionally reached. Its fast paced and inclusive nature is proving popular in urban areas, particularly in Leicester, London and Manchester.
Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, officially begins on Sunday 30 October and the Leicester celebration is one of the largest outside of India. Over 37,000 people attended the switching on of the Diwali lights in 2015.
Speaking at the event, Samit said: “It was a really fun event and something I was very proud to get involved in. Chance to Shine and Lycamobile are bringing cricket to communities all across the country. Street cricket in particular is opening up new opportunities.
“It shows that cricket can be played and enjoyed anywhere and some really talented players are developing, particularly here in Leicester. I’m sure that we’ve seen a few shining lights who can illuminate the cricketing scene in the future!”
The event is one of a series taking place this year as part of the ongoing partnership between Lycamobile and Chance to Shine, which was renewed in August for a second year. With Lycamobile’s support, Chance to Shine has expanded its Street programme, which uses cricket to promote social cohesion among communities affected by anti-social behaviour and youth crime.
Subaskaran Allirajah, Lyca Group Chairman, said: “It’s fantastic to mark the festival of Diwali by celebrating with the cricketing stars of Chance to Shine Street. The charity’s work in Leicester is providing opportunities for young people to participate in cricket and breaking down barriers through the power of sport. The Diwali celebration speaks to our commitment at Lycamobile to bring together communities, both within the UK and internationally.”
Chance to Shine Street runs a Monday at Cossington Street Sports Centre, with Youth (8 to 15) sessions 4.30-6.30pm and Young Adults (16 to 24) 6.30-8.30pm. For more information click here or get in touch with Dave Allen on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0116 2442198
To find out more about Chance to Shine Street go to www.chancetoshine.org/street.