Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cricket NSW launch South Asian Engagement Strategy

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Photo Credit: Cricket NSW

Cricket NSW has today launched its first ever South Asian Engagement Strategy (SAES) after months of consultation with community leaders and the LOTE agency.

The strategy will be implemented with the assistance of $1million in funding from the NSW Government over the next four years, enabling cricket to play a greater role in the lives of communities throughout the state from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

With the rapid growth of South Asian communities in NSW and their inherent love of cricket, an eight-member Cultural Advisory Council (CAC) was established to support Cricket NSW and the LOTE agency develop the strategy and provide an important link to the South Asian communities.

The CAC was able to offer a variety of different lived experiences and cultural backgrounds, including insights into NSW’s South Asian cricket communities.

The SAES will aim to increase participation and improve the participation experience for South Asian communities, provide the best opportunity for high-performing South Asian players, coaches, umpires and administrators to excel within elite pathways, and grow engagement of South Asian cricket fans with W/BBL, Australian and NSW teams.


Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Sport, the Hon. Steve Kamper MP, said:

“The NSW Government recognises the critical role that sport plays in engaging multicultural communities.

“Cricket in particular brings South Asian cultures and communities together and their passion for the sport is unmatched.

“The NSW Government’s $1 million partnership with Cricket NSW through the South Asian Engagement Strategy will see more people from these communities participate in cricket on and off the field, and I look forward to the seeing the next Usman Khawaja, Tanveer Sangha or Fawad Ahmed walk out to the middle of the SCG in a Baggy Green.”

Cricket NSW CEO, Lee Germon, said:

“The Cricket NSW South Asian Engagement Strategy is one of the most important strategies in our history, ensuring that we instil a greater connection to cricket with the state’s South Asian communities, inspiring more people to play and love cricket.

“Our consultation process with the LOTE agency and leaders in those communities was extensive and we would like to thank the members of the Cultural Advisory Council, Raj Panchal, Abdul Hameed Kherkah, Giles Gunesekera OAM, Joydeep Hor, Darshak Mehta OAM, Sheba Nandkeolyar, Hamish Solomons and Mahjabeen Zaman for their passion and commitment.

“The research and consultation process was an informative two-way engagement and what we learned from this will have a far reaching, sustained impact on both cricket in NSW and the communities we serve.

“We would also like to thank Minister Kamper and the NSW Government for their funding support to bring this exciting strategy to life.”

Cultural Advisory Council member, Mahjabeen Zaman, said:

“The CAC is a fantastic group of individuals with a mix of professional and cultural backgrounds, allowing for great diversity of thought in our discussions.

“The CAC members were forthcoming with their views across cricket and engagement with the South Asian community and Cricket NSW was extremely receptive to the insights and hosted a fantastic discussion.

“Overall, the consultation process was collaborative, transparent, and inclusive, getting the best of the diverse inputs.

“It is pleasing to see that CNSW has considered our feedback and have designed a superb engagement strategy for CNSW.”

The launch of the SAES comes a day before Sydney Thunder launch the Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League with a free South Asian cultural festival at Cricket Central in Sydney Olympic Park.

The festival will feature casual tape ball games, food trucks and henna painting, along with appearances from current Thunder stars Tanveer Sangha and Phoebe Litchfield, as well as Pakistani-born former Australian international and Thunder representative Fawad Ahmed.

Festival guests will also be able to hear from comedian and MC Nazeem Hussain, watch performances from Bhangra dancers and Dhol drummers, amongst a host of activities for children.

The cultural festival will set up a massive 24 hours of entertainment for cricket fans with the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean starting at 12.30am on June 30.

The Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League will start on Monday August 26 and be played over six weeks at Blacktown International Sportspark.

Tape ball, traditionally played on the streets with a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape, is to Pakistan culture what backyard cricket is to Australians. After originating in the streets of Karachi in the 1960’s, the format has also become popular amongst Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepalese communities.


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