The Chance to Shine Awards moved online for the very time as the charity hosted its annual celebration last week (Thursday 26 November). Despite the Covid-19 pandemic forcing a shutdown of the charity’s programmes in March, the Awards recognised the positive impact that cricket has still had. England cricketers Fran Wilson and Mady Villiers joined the online event to add their support and acknowledgement of the stars of the grassroots of the game. The Community Team were also in attendance to help celebrate the fantastic work that has been done, with awards handed out to schools, coaches and young people who have spread the power of cricket despite the challenges this year.
Leicestershire were represented in the shortlist for the Young Leader of the Year Award by Chance to Shine Street participants Sunainsa Mehbubsa (pictured left) and Vihhas Kumar (pictured below, right).
Vihhas and Sunainsa have been attending Chance to Shine Street at the Leicester Cossington Street sessions since 2017 and have become regular faces at the sessions ever since. They always come as a pair and are always willing to get involved with helping the coaches at the session. Coach Sachi Manokaran said about them, “Vihhas and Sunainsa are always prepared to help me out. We have a lot of kids who have English as a second language and they are always happy to help communicate with new participants, help complete registration forms, umpire matches or do the scoring. They also help promote the session to their friends at school and encourage new participants to attend.”
When they first attended Street, they did not play any club cricket, but decided to get involved with Electricity Sports CC, where Sachi is a coach. They have excelled in club cricket and as a result were nominated to take part in the Leicestershire CCC Foxes Development Programme. Both have gone on to represent Electricity Sports CC at Senior level and Sunainsa has represented LCCC on the performance pathway. They are now both keen to explore coaching and have asked to complete their College work placements as Young Leaders at the Street sessions. They have also volunteered to get involved with junior coaching at Leicester Electricity Sports CC, which will add to their time as match day volunteers at LCCC T20 Blast fixtures.
Vihhas and Sunainsa are both extremely passionate about cricket, have been a fantastic help to the coaches at Street sessions and LCCC are excited to see their development as both players and coaches in the future.
The boys finished as runners up on the night to Faizah Hashmi and you can read about her inspiring story along with videos of all winners on the night here.