By AYYAZ MALIK
Asian female coach Halima Khan from Bradford is looking to inspire local girls from the Yorkshire area through sport and to be more specific, cricket with regular cricket sessions at Woodlands Cricket Club.
Khan who is the only female sports coach at Woodlands Cricket Club is looking to use her skills by encouraging more girls to get involved in the game in a playing capacity or even coaching itself. Through dedication and hard work, the cricket club has opened to more age groups due to the success of this project in the community.
The continued success of what Halima and the team of coaches are doing hasn’t gone unnoticed further afield either. In fact, Halima Khan has been working closely with Yorkshire cricketer Adil Rashid’s foundation in a concerted effort to increase popularity and participation of girls in cricket.
Woodlands Cricket Club through it’s hard work and commitment to the community runs a cricket session for the girls of a variety of age ranges, cultures and backgrounds every Saturday from 4-6pm where all are welcomed to attend.
Asian Sunday, attended one of the sessions where girls of different backgrounds and age groups were enjoying a game of cricket.
We spoke to the club coach, Neil Grace, who explained the concept of playing from school level, then on to junior club level, which then leads on to playing for district centres like Oakenshaw, who then put them forward for county. “West Yorkshire have now got 30 girls and we have 16 at the club that represent Yorkshire.” He told Asian Sunday
The under 13’s this year won the West Yorkshire county championships. One of the girls who was part of the winning team of under 13’s was Jasmine Akhtar. Jasmine, who attends Carlton Bolling College, has been playing cricket since last summer and aspires to be the female version of Sachin Tendulkar someday.
Ashley Hallas, age 15 from Mirfield Free Grammar School, who also plays at the centre told us her entire family plays cricket and so naturally she developed love for the sport too. She feels cricket can be enjoyed by everyone and it’s a great sport to be able to challenge yourself. She hopes to be a professional player one day, but her main message to anyone who wants to play is to just enjoy it.
With the example of Woodlands Cricket Club, we see a fine example of the power of sport and the positive effects it has in the community.