A new cricket association to support and create more cricketing opportunities in the Bangladeshi community was launched last week.
The North Bangladeshi Cricket Association (NBCA) was launched in Bradford by Yorkshire Cricket, Lancashire Cricket and Cheshire Cricket.
Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, NBCA was officially launched at a special event with high profile guests including Kazi Ziaul Hasan, the Honourable Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner for Manchester and Dr Manoj Joshi DL Queen representative, on Monday, 9 May, at Prestige Hall, in Bradford.
As part of the initiative, a new cricket league has been formed showcasing nine Bangladeshi teams from across Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire.
Humayun Islam BEM, chief executive of BEAP Community Partnership, who was instrumental in setting up the association and hosted the event, said: “It’s really exciting – it’s been a bit of a dream and it’s come to a reality with all these teams coming together.
“This whole initiative is about the players – it’s about the white rose and the red rose coming together and this is what cricket is about.
“It’s creating opportunities and it’s fantastic to have Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire all on board and having NBCA created.”
The nine teams that will make up the league are Bengal Tigers Bradford Cricket Club, Hyde Boys Cricket Club, Rochdale Tigers Cricket Club, Coldhurst Cricket Club, Chadderton Cricket Club, Oldham United Cricket Club, Oldham Lions Cricket Club, Oldham King Riders Cricket Club and Westwood Cricket Club.
John Murphy, Clubs and Leagues Director for Lancashire Cricket Foundation, said: “I think we are only at the beginning of a journey – this could be absolutely huge and it should be.
“This is the bit that we have all been missing I think… and there is a huge amount of growth and potential here.
“This whole initiative is about the players – it’s about the white rose and the red rose coming together and this is what cricket is about.”
“This collaboration in the North – I see this purely about cricket and it’s great to see. In five years’ time, you can imagine this initiative could well be massive.”
Upskilling for players will also be provided through the NBCA including Level 1 and Level 2 coaching qualifications and there are aims for a player and coaching exchange.
The initiative will also focus on youngsters and women and girls from the Bangladeshi community.
Mr Hasan said: “This special launch is very much welcome. I’m so happy to see North Bangladeshi representation through the association and the engagement of Bangladeshi youngsters in sports is always encouraging.
“I would love our high commission to be engaged more with this association so British Bangladeshis and the young population get connected more and more through sport.”
The NBCA has also planned a trip to Bangladesh early next year as part of a player, coach and staff development scheme.
Mr Islam said: “For us one of the biggest things for us is taking a team to Bangladesh, playing cricket. Part of that is about coach development as well – taking representatives from Yorkshire, from Lancashire, going out to Bangladesh, creating those real partnerships.”
Yorkshire Cricket Foundation have helped the launch by supporting the Bengal Tigers Bradford Cricket Club, including through upskilling coaches.
The YCF has also supported in creating the league fixtures, which will be played on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the summer and set out the rules for the league.
Zain Ul Abdin, a Community Development Officer for YCF, said: “This is very much about community and cohesion. We want to be able to help support create more opportunities and we are delighted to be part of this.”
Mr Islam added: “We are creating opportunities for people who may not have opportunities. Playing cricket offers escapism – it brings them that opportunity and what better way to put a smile on your face than cricket.
“For the future, we are looking at a much-expanded vision of the NBCA and we hope it continues to grow and grow.”