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South Asia cricketers a big hit Down Under

Education

HUNDREDS of Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan ex-pats are bringing their passion for cricket to one of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest cricket associations.

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The Adelaide Turf Cricket Association, in South Australia, has welcomed new clubs International Cricketers Club and Multicultural Sports and Community Club into its ranks in recent years.

Multicultural Community Club SA president Faisal Chaudhry said the club was started by a group of friends who loved cricket and wanted their own identity.

The club grew from one team in 2008 and now has about 250 registered players from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan across six senior teams.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, Hindu or Muslim, we are all working together for a common goal.

Chaudhry said the club included people across a variety of professional backgrounds including doctors, lawyers, university students, engineers and taxi drivers.

He said the club hoped to register a women’s team in the next few years.

“We do love cricket but we also want to utilise it to integrate recent migrants into the community,” Chaudhry said.

“Meeting people who are already established, getting hints on how to prepare resumes and what sort of jobs they can apply for and introducing them to a social environment has done wonders for quite a few of them.

 

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, Hindu or Muslim, we are all working together for a common goal.”

The Adelaide Turf Cricket Association has 49 member clubs with a total of 166 senior teams across 15 divisions. It is one of the largest cricket associations in the Southern Hemisphere.

International Cricketers Club president Eddie Juneja started the club in 2009 with six teams, which it still fields, also featuring players from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“Overall we’ve been welcomed and we’ve built up some very good relationships with existing clubs to help us share grounds and organise events,” he said.

Many players now also compete in a 22-team winter Twenty20 cricket completion organised by Juneja.

The 2011 Census found there were 21,000 Indian-born people living in South Australia, 3289 Afghanis, 3000 Sri Lankans, 1358 Pakistanis and 1287 Bangladeshis.

Juneja said many more people from the subcontinent would play cricket competitively in Adelaide if matches were not held on a Saturday as it clashed with their work commitments in the hospitality industry.

As a result, he is working with the South Australian Cricket Association to introduce a Sunday league.

Meantime, the world-first day/night Test Cricket match at the Adelaide Oval on the weekend has been declared a success.

South Australian Cricket Association Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw said he thought there was a very good chance a day/night Test would become a regular fixture at the historic Adelaide Oval, following Australia’s victory over New Zealand.

“We would certainly put up our hand up again to have another day/night Test,” he said.

Bradshaw said the controversial pink ball performed well in the match and a great pitch allowed a fantastic contest.

“I think this is start of a journey not the end of a journey I think we will certainly see more day/night Test cricket.”

A crowd of 123,000 attended the match – the highest Adelaide Oval crowd for a non-Ashes Test – despite it only lasting for three of the available five days.

The match was a television ratings success for Channel Nine with about 2.3 million Australian fans tuning in on Sunday night.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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