At this year’s UK coaching awards, a very unique cricket program bagged accolades for its outstanding contribution to community sport. This is a cricket program designed to empower women from South Asian backgrounds to take up cricket coaching.
The ‘Dream Big Desi Women’ project runs in seven English cities. It was set up by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to recruit as many as 2,000 female volunteers from South Asian communities for its All Stars Cricket programme.
This novel project addressed the cultural barriers to coaching by holding sessions in unconventional venues where the women could not only feel comfortable but also travel with ease. These include faith and community spaces as well. They also introduced modest kit options for volunteers, including longer t-shirts, loose-fitting trousers, long-sleeve skins, and a sports hijab.
Zahra Khamisa, ECB City Programme Executive said, “So many of our volunteers have grown through this project, especially through their social skills – their confidence, their resilience and their self-esteem. It was so brilliant that we were able to do that by taking cricket to them, into these urban areas, into their communities and really supporting them, training them and providing them with everything they needed to believe in themselves.”
This initiative is indeed unique and can have far-reaching positive consequences. By bringing together people from different nationalities, there is a pure amalgamation of talent and culture, which will help to take the game forward. The England and Wales Cricket Board, through this initiative, have unequivocally capitalized on the rich diaspora that it has in the country. As women’s cricket is slowly but surely picking up pace, initiatives like these can do wonders for the sport in general.
To make good players, there is no substitute for a good coach. ‘Dream Big Desi Women’ project will train enthusiastic volunteers, who can later on become expert coaches. This project embraces not only young people but also the seniors who have retired from the sport and would like to give back to the game. Thus, it is a perfect platform and can be a launchpad for the rising women’s cricket.
If you are interested in this initiative and want to make a difference, you can be part of this. This programme is something special and helps children learn, have fun, and create memories. You can volunteer to become a trained Activator and join hundreds of women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, who are making a real difference to children and their communities.
This role is perfect for enthusiastic and passionate individuals who are looking to break boundaries and do something out of the ordinary. You don’t need any cricket or sports coaching experience, just an unshakeable can-do attitude and a desire to be part of something special.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.