Budding young cricketers from the UK and also India and Dubai have been taking part in a 20 over tournament in Leicester, to sharpen their skills and learn about playing in competitions. Watching over proceedings were a number of former county players and also a notable name from the world of international cricket.
Mudassar Nazar played for the Pakistan team in the 70s and 80s, making 76 test appearances as well as featuring in 122 one day internationals. These days he oversees development of the game at the International Cricket Council’s headquarters in Dubai and came here with an under 13s team from the Emirate. He says the Colour Clothing Tournament is a great opportunity for youngsters to learn more about the game and how to improve their skills.
For youngsters from India and Dubai the competition is a chance to learn about playing in English conditions. For all the youngsters taking part, it was an opportunity to get out into the middle and hone their skills, in an actual match which Mudassar says is more important for their development, than spending hours in the nets.
The competition is the brainchild of the director of the City Cricket Academy, Don Bhagwati, who started it 9 years ago and has seen a number of players from his academy graduate to playing county cricket and in the case of Sonia Odedra , to playing in the England women’s national team. Sonia says she’s seen signs of improvement in a number of the youngsters, just in the few days that they’ve been playing.
The tournament was held at the Leicester Grammar School, which has a number of grounds enabling several games to be played at the same time. Laurie Potter, former county player with Leicestershire and Kent and now head of cricket at the school, echoed the sentiments of Mudassar about the importance of actual game time.