To inspire the next generation of South Asian communities in London, Capital Kids Cricket and London Tigers have come together with the support of The England and Wales Cricket Board, Middlesex Cricket Board and Essex Cricket Board to initiate the “T20 Asia Blaze”. The event was held on 23rd March 2015 and was hosted by Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets Cllr Oliur Rahman. It was attended by representatives of Bangladesh High commission – Bridger General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin, Pakistan High Commission – Shahid Ali Baig, Indian High Commission – P. K. Patel, Cllr Shafiqul Haque, Cllr Mahbub Alam, Cllr Shah Alam, Jane Hannah – ECB head of South Asian Cricket, Zakir Khan – Canary Wharf Group Plc, John Challinor – Chairman of CKC, Mesba Ahmed – CEO London Tigers. The event was coordinated by Md Shahidual Alam Ratan and Jawar Ali.
The 5 participating teams were introduced along with each of the team organisers as follows:
India – Sharath Jettry of Telugu Association of London (TAL) Premier League
Pakistan – Selim Yasin of Elliot Davis Cricket league
Sri Lanka – Gopi Raj of ETCL PREMIER CRICKET LEAGUE
Afghanistan – Jawar Ali of London Tigers supported by Newham CC
Bangladesh – Mesba Ahmed of London Tigers
The event was held on at the Tower Hamlets Council chamber and over 70 selected representatives of the business and sports community was invited people attended.
Jane Hannah of the ECB said, “We are very pleased to see the organisers bring together the different high commission and organising this prestigious event. The ECB is delighted to support this initiative and hope that it will achieve the aims and objectives.”
Md Shahidul Alam Ratan explained the event will take place between May and June with all the teams playing each other. This was an elite competition aimed at the top players from within their community. After the competition there will be a squad of 13-14 players selected to go on a tour of a South Asian country such as Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. Once the team returns from the tour, the best players will be offered a training opportunity with a professional club such as Essex County Cricket Club.
The aims of the competition are:
To bring the top British Asian cricketers together
To integrate the South Asian communities by promoting different leagues to work together
To engage business and corporates from South Asian backgrounds in recreational cricket
To raise funds for the development of cricket amongst South Asians in grassroots level
To showcase the young talented South Asian players/match officials in London and signpost to wider opportunities
To increasing the percentage of South Asian cricketers who progress from recreational cricket to professional cricket.
To run this event annually and expand the competition nationally in the future