The visit by the party from Afghanistan was organised by DPIA, the Cardiff-based charity. Two of the group, who play representative and regional cricket in their home country, besides attending the National Cricket Academy in Kabul, also had a session on the ‘Trueman’ bowling machine under the watchful eyes of the NCC coaches.
“Zalmai and Shafiqullah love their cricket,” said Richard Yeo, the Finance and Operations Manager of DPIA, “and this was the first-ever time they had batted against a bowling machine. They were overjoyed by having the chance to visit a Test Match stadium and to go behind-the-scenes, but the icing on the cake for them was to use the same bowling machine and the other facilities which are used by the county and Test players.”
In the course of the coming months, further international students will be visiting Glamorgan Cricket, with a group from Belgium having their taste of skills-drills in the Indoor School in early February. The Cricket in the Community Department and Cricket Wales are also planning a number of initiatives for 2016, building on the success last year of the ‘Cricket without Boundaries’ project which aims to make cricket more accessible for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Cardiff, thereby creating a thriving network of enthusiastic cricketers through a range of activities including doorstep clubs, indoor cricket and mid-week cricket.
“It’s been great during 2015 to see so many people from all over the world enjoy the facilities we have on offer, as well as working within Wales with a diverse group of people and setting up exciting and sustainable projects, ” said Mark Frost, Community and Development Manager for Glamorgan Cricket and Cricket Wales. “We have a wide range of offers for schools and colleges, and are supporting a huge range of community groups in helping them develop young people of all backgrounds.”
“Cricket is a game which crosses international bridges and brings nations together, and during 2016 both Pakistan and Sri Lanka will Cardiff for One-Day Internationals against England, followed in 2017 by games in the ICC Champions Trophy with the top cricket-playing nations involved in matches here at Glamorgan Cricket.”