LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May watched as the first ever game of cricket was played in Downing Street, led by a British Pakistani female cricket coach.
Saba Nasim, who is a practising lawyer and certified English Cricket Board (ECB) coach, led the historic cricket game session in which Stuart Broad and Heather Knight also took part. The event was organised by charity organisation Chance To Shine which encourages young people to take part in sports and make positive contribution.
Saba Nasim told this scribe that it was a thrilling experience to play cricket outside the 10 Downing Street because “its for the first time in the history of 10 Downing Street that cricket was played outside the famous number 10 door and watched on by the British Prime Minister”.
She added: “The aim was to show people of all different backgrounds playing cricket and to show that British Asians also have talent and that cricket is accessible for all no matter what your background. Some of my Pakistani girls were also playing and handed the PM a shirt as a gift.”
Saba Nasim was awarded the British Empire Medal by the Queen in Jan 2017 for services to cricket in London and also Coach of the Year Award by Chance to Shine last November for running a girls project and for introducing cricket to many Asians in local communities in east London at the grassroots level.
She shared: “I was asked to lead the session and took along some girls from my successful Chance to Shine Street project at Redbridge. It was a fantastic opportunity to play cricket in the most famous street in the UK and to showcase the work that chance to shine are doing in bringing cricket to those most disadvantaged in our communities.
The Prime Minister, a keen cricket fan, said: “It’s been a privilege to meet the young players and inspirational coaches today. The work Chance to Shine does, introducing young people from disadvantaged communities to this great, fast-paced version of cricket, is invaluable. After the success of the England team in the Women’s World Cup this year, I hope boys and girls all over the country will continue to be inspired to get involved with this brilliant sport.”
Chief executive of Chance to Shine, Luke Swanson said: “Over the course of this magnificent summer for English cricket, many boys and girls have picked up a bat and ball for the very first time. We want to show that the beautiful game is for all young people, and can be played anywhere. What better way to do that than with a game of street cricket in the most famous street of all.”