Friday, June 14, 2024

Bahrain, Estonia, Namibia, Nigeria and Thailand named as Global ICC Development Awards winners

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Photo Credit: Cricket Namibia

  • Six inspirational stories from five Members showcase the impact cricket had on communities in 2021
  • Winners selected by a global independent panel consisting of leaders from across the cricket family

The International Cricket Council today announced the six global winners of the ICC Development Awards 2021, showcasing the incredible work being done by Members to grow cricket and enabling more people to enjoy the sport in emerging nations.

Following the announcement of the 29 inspirational regional winners from five regions, the six global winners from Bahrain, Estonia, Namibia, Nigeria and Thailand were selected by a global independent panel consisting of 12 leaders including ICC Full Member Chief Executives, former international players and ICC Hall of Famers, media representatives and other members of the cricket family.

ICC Development Initiative of the Year – Cricket Namibia (link to video)

The global award for the ICC Development Initiative of the Year has been awarded to Cricket Namibia’s Ashburton Kwata Mini-Cricket Programme for increasing participation by a remarkable 71% despite the impact of COVID-19. The programme enables cricket to be played anywhere by anyone: on beaches, streets and in car parks, in order to keep communities engaged during the pandemic.

Dev Awards: Development Initiative Of The Year – Namibia

Dr. Rudie van Vuuren, President, Cricket Namibia explains: “The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in associated lockdown restrictions for individuals across Namibia, including the closure of schools, which demanded a creative solution to keep the cricket programme running. We took cricket into parking lots, onto quiet streets, beaches, netball courts and unoccupied, open pieces of land. 

“We managed to access the grand total of more than 67 000 children in one-off engagements while more than 17,000 children played regular matches. This initiative has a core focus of connecting communities and improving lives by inspiring the Namibian primary school child.”

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia CEO who was a part of the judging panel commented on Namibia winning the award: “Cricket Namibia demonstrated such ingenuity to maintain the programme during COVID-19, and resulted in incredible growth and a large number of participants who were able to take part and experience the game.”

100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year – Bahrain Cricket Federation (link to video)

Bahrain has been awarded the 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year, as the Federation embarked on the historic task of setting up the country’s first-ever women’s cricket team. A heart-warming response saw almost 200 registrations and the BCF Women’s League was formed in December 2021, with the national women’s team coming as a direct result of the initiative.

Dev Awards: 100% Female Cricket Initiative Of The Year – Bahrain

Gurumurthy Palani, Committee Member of the Bahrain Cricket Federation remarked: “BCF is grateful to the ICC for conferring the prestigious 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year Award and recognising our efforts to drive women’s cricket in Bahrain. We are thankful to the ICC Asia office for their guidance and continued support.

“This award is going to have a tremendous impact in achieving our goals of advancing women’s cricket in Bahrain, and will turbocharge our growth by attracting more females to play cricket in the country.”

Belinda Clarke, former Australia international and ICC Hall of Famer on the voting panel said: “This is a start-up initiative that has created opportunities for a league and national team to be put in place in a short timeframe. The lengths the organization and players have gone to are amazing – for example training at 5am! There are plenty of positive benefits for women in Bahrain as they play their part in being role models for empowerment.”

ICC Associate Member Men’s Performance of the Year – Cricket Namibia (link to video)

Namibia have claimed the global award for ICC Associate Member Men’s Performance of the Year for their victory in the winner-takes-all ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 tie against Ireland. The Eagles chased down 126 for victory thanks to a sensational display of power-hitting from David Wiese and left-arm spin bowling from Bernard Scholtz, guaranteeing them a Super 12 spot at the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 and an automatic qualification spot in the 2022 edition.

Dev Awards: Associate Men’s Performance Of The Year – Namibia

Dr. Rudie van Vuuren, President, Cricket Namibia said“For a country with the most geographically dispersed 2.5 million people in the world and selecting our national side from only five premier league teams; to perform at this level requires a special ingredient. This special ingredient lies in the people of Namibia and the way cricket is run, played, and lived. Thank you to the ICC for recognizing our achievements, these awards will enable us to grow the sport we love and live for.”

Former West Indies international Samuel Badree commented on the award: “Their performances have been electric, appealing and engaging. They entertained and have us expecting more from them in future.”

ICC Associate Member Women’s Performance of the Year – Cricket Association of Thailand (link to video)

The outstanding performance of the year by an Associate Member in the women’s game has been awarded to Thailand for their win over Full Member Bangladesh at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier. Nattaya Boochatham took five wickets to restrict Bangladesh to 176 from their 50 overs and a 90-run opening stand between Sornnarin Tippoch and Natthakan Chantham laid the foundations for a 16-run win. The historic victory was a significant step forward for Thai cricket, showcasing their development in the 50-over format in which they have recently received ODI status.

Dev Awards: Associate Women’s Performance Of The Year – Thailand

Shan Kader, Cricket Development Manager, Cricket Association of Thailand said: “We are extremely happy to receive this award for the ICC Associate Member Women’s Performance of the Year. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication that the girls, coaching staff, and the Cricket Association of Thailand have put into achieving these milestones time and again. We will keep pushing the boundaries to achieve excellence and inspire a new generation of Thai cricketers and new regions with similar demographics to push the envelope and make cricket a bigger and more global game.”

Former South Africa international Dinesha Devnarain said: “For an Associate Member to beat a Test playing nation is an unbelievable achievement and Thailand’s growth over the last two years has been remarkable. They continue to put in performances to meet the demands of international cricket.”

ICC Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of the Year – Nigeria Cricket Federation (link to video)

Nigeria have claimed the Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of the Year award for their cricket programmes as a tool for engaging and assisting in the development of internally displaced refugees as a result of violence within the country. Over 2,000 children are involved in the programme, which deploys coaches to teach cricket skills, as well as provides humanitarian aid to the significant number of people impacted by these issues.

Dev Awards: Cricket4Good Social Impact Initiative Of The Year – Nigeria

Uyi Akpata, the President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation said: “With a couple of thousand introduced to the game, and a boys and girls team involved in the State’s secondary schools’ tournament, we have seen cricket largely contributing to addressing the issues of integration and inclusion of disadvantaged children in the country. On behalf of the almost 2,000 students in the Benin IDP Camp and two million children in various camps, we accept this special recognition.” 

Beth Barrett-Wild, Head of the Women’s Hundred & Female Engagement at the England and Wales Cricket Board said: “Through this programme cricket is acting as a lifeline of hope to thousands of refugees in Nigeria. This is an inspirational project that has the ability to truly transform lives.”

ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year – Estonia Cricket Association (link to video)

The global award for the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year was won by the Estonian Cricket Association for their wide-ranging digital initiatives aimed at driving fan engagement in the country and beyond. Among their initiatives, their donation to India’s fight against COVID-19 went viral, using their relationship with Australia legend Brett Lee to spread the word. The multi-platform campaigns resulted in an increase in audiences across all platforms, their YouTube following increased significantly to 52,800 and Instagram to 77,568.

Dev Awards: Digital Fan Engagement Of The Year – Estonia

Stuart Hook, President, Estonia Cricket Association said: “It is a huge honour to win the ICC Digital Fan Engagement Award. We are extremely excited and almost couldn’t believe it. This is a massive boost for us and really gives us that shot of adrenaline to get back to it, to push harder and spread the word of cricket in Estonia as wide and far as we can.

“This reinforced the fact that even though an association maybe considered small, the digital exposure to cricket in your country can be seen as fun, exciting, engaging and most importantly expose cricket as a viable sporting option – especially in non-traditional markets.”

Pholetsi Moseki, Cricket South Africa CEO and representative on the voting panel said: “Associate Members such as Estonia are doing an amazing job building their digital platforms and engaging with their existing and potential fans.”

Speaking on the winners of the ICC Development Awards 2021, ICC General Manager – Development, William Glenwright said: “We are thrilled with the depth and breadth of award winners and initiatives that we have celebrated through the regional and now global ICC Development Awards 2021. Through the different performances, programmes and projects in 2021 we have seen not only the power our sport can have in enhancing communities in another difficult year around the world – but also the world-class cricket that is being played by our Members on the international stage

“Congratulations to all the award winners and in particular the global winners: Bahrain, Estonia, Namibia, Nigeria and Thailand. This is a proud day for our sport as we celebrate the incredible ways our Members continue to bring cricket closer to more people for them to watch, play and enjoy.”

The global winners have been chosen by a global independent panel of selected ICC Full Member Chief Executives, former international players and ICC Hall of Famers, industry experts, media representatives and other members of the cricket family.

Pholetsi Moseki, CEO Cricket South Africa

Dinesha Devnarain, Former South Africa international and South Africa Women’s U19 coach

Johnny Grave, CEO Cricket West Indies

Samuel Badree, Former West Indies international and broadcaster

Ashley De Silva, CEO Sri Lanka Cricket

Warren Deutrom, CEO Cricket Ireland

Sharda Ugra, Journalist

Nick Hockley, CEO Cricket Australia

Belinda Clark, Former Australia international and ICC Hall of Famer

Beth Barrett-Wild, ECB – Head of the Women’s Hundred & Female Engagement

Karren Rogers, Facebook

Bernadette Gutmann, UNICEF


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