Wednesday Jun 09, 2021
BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan will play against England on July 13 at Edgbaston, the home of Warwickshire county cricket club, during their upcoming tour to the country.
The chief executive officer of the club is looking forward to celebrating the Pakistani culture in the city.
In an exclusive interview to Geo News, the CEO of the Warwickshire County Cricket Club Stuart Cain said that the support from the community during this match has been brilliant, adding that the event has already sold out.
He said that it is now his "personal responsibility" to make sure that the Pakistani community enjoys the match to the fullest in return for their support.
“I think if things continue the way they are right now and we get past June 21 and end up with a full crowd, then that will be a brilliant day for cricket," he said.
“But not just the cricket, we would like to make it a celebration of Pakistani culture and celebrate integration and diversity in the city. It’s a big opportunity for us,” he added.
Cain has also set up a little working group where some local councillors, people from the business community and the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, are meeting every couple of weeks to chat about how to create the right environment for people coming in for the game.
The group is also chalking out ideas about how to celebrate the Pakistani culture with the diversity of the city and use that as a stepping stone for the commonwealth games next year.
Stuart further said that he has also recently spoken to Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wasim Khan, who’s also a former player of the Warwickshire CCC and does not live too far away from the ground.
Responding to a question about reports earlier this year of a possible visit of Warwickshire’s first team to Pakistan, Cain that the plan has been called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would, however, like to talk about whether we can pay a visit in the coming year to Pakistan”, he said.
Recently, during the month of Ramadan, the Warwickshire Cricket Board, in partnership with the Chance to Shine Street Cricket programme, launched a free indoor league for youngsters aged 16 to 18, at the Edgbaston Cricket Centre.
The idea of the Ramadan league, which was the first of its kind anywhere in England, came from learning and understanding the issues of the Muslim community.
The league, based on bi-weekly sessions, used to get underway shortly after Iftar, taking place between 10pm and midnight every Tuesday and Friday evening. The young cricketers from WCB Chance to Shine Street cricket projects in Aston, Nechells, Saltley and Sparkhill took part in six-a-side games and played with a taped tennis ball.
“We thought why don’t we open the cricket centre until 10 to 2 in the morning and play a controlled league”.
At the end of the late-night sessions, taxis were arranged for safe transportation of the young players and their parents were informed via text messages about the safe arrival and departure from the venue.
The Ramadan cricket league is a project that has been seen as a pilot for what could expand to an adult tournament and extended beyond Edgbaston next year.
Cain hoped that this will grow into something bigger and better next year after having such a success this year.
Birmingham is not only the 2nd biggest city of the UK but a very multicultural city too with people from 48 different nationalities and faiths dwelling therein.
Answering a question about the measures being taken to make sure the game is accessible and inclusive to all the communities living in the city, Cain said that the club’s job is to reflect all the communities and make Edgbaston safe and welcoming for not only the who people to come here and watch the cricket matches but also for people that want to become cricketers.
“We want to create employment opportunities for people from different communities in the offices as well as in the restaurants and facilities we’ve got. We are working quite hard now to try and build relationships”.
Edgbaston will also be hosting the women T20 cricket matches during the Commonwealth games next year where the top six teams, including Pakistan and countries from the Caribbean, will feature for the first time in the history of the games.
About having those matches at Edgbaston, Cain said: “I think Women’s Cricket is really growing and having the commonwealth countries in Birmingham playing the women’s T20 will be absolutely brilliant."