Following last year’s highly successful event, the Talk Home Mobile Asian Cricket Awards is back again to celebrate the contribution of British Asians to cricket. The awards for this year were officially launched at Lord’s cricket ground on 1 May, 2015. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, was the guest of honour at the event.
The home of cricket will again be a witness to the cerebration on 13 October 2015, where England star Moeen Ali lifted the Player of the year trophy last year.
Inventive sports in association with England and Wales Cricket Board has given the awards its backing this year as well in an attempt to recognise the participation of South Asians in all areas of the game.
“These awards are not only about people who play on the pitch. But also to recognise the contribution of people who work behind the scenes - right from the grassroots level up to the professional level,” said Baljit Rihal, CEO Inventive Sports and Co-founder of the awards.
“Our objective is not only to raise awareness of the fantastic achievements of individuals and organisations – but to help inspire future generations of British Asians in cricket.”
There are 11 categories for the year 2015, which include Professional Player of the year, coach of the year, media, grassroots, Asian cricket club of the year and so on. A new award called the Diversity Project Award, sponsored by ECB, has been introduced this year. This award aims to highlight the work of county cricket clubs in engaging with their local British Asian community.
The low representation of Asians at the professional levels in British cricket has been a major concern, considering the love of cricket within the British Asian community.
A recent survey by ECB revealed that at grassroots level 30% of the cricketers come from a south Asian background, but that figure drops to just “6.2% among players who appeared in first-team county cricket in 2014”.
Responding to this, Baljit Rihal emphasised that ECB recognises this as an issue and this award is one such initiatives to enable the transition of promising players from grassroots to the county games.
“One core issue is that most of the grassroots cricket is not linked with county cricket clubs. We are trying to engage with a number of these county clubs to reach out to their communities and when they can successfully reach out, naturally this representation will start to progress,” he added.
Saij Javid sounded optimistic when he suggested that improvements have been seen in terms of representation at professional levels. “I have loved cricket all my life. Growing up in Lancashire, it was hard thing for a young Asian to imagine how I would get involved in cricket. But that has changed a lot in recent years. The role models in those days were Asian cricket stars from the subcontinent like Imran Khan. But today we have got so many home grown talents like Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara and many others,” he said.
Cricket stars like Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, Vikram Solanki are some of the high-profile supporters of the 2015 Asian Cricket Awards.