• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

CRICKET

Father and son bat for diversity in cricket

By: Pramod Thomas

A FATHER-SON duo who play for Uxbridge Cricket Club want to break down barriers for minorities in cricket in England.

Langley, Berkshire-based Hitesh Sharma, 43, and his son Jai Sharma, 13, are the opening batsmen for the club, and they made more than 1,000 runs in the past season.

“In English cricket, lots of players from minorities are performing very well at junior levels. But when it comes to professional cricket and making it to the national team the number is very much limited,” Hitesh Sharma told Eastern Eye.

“There are many reasons behind this. We need to address this from every possible angle. One day, I hope that my son Jai makes it to the professional level. I hope he will break down all the barriers that exist for players from ethnic minorities in the country.

“He played really well last season. I hope he can continue his from in this season as well. We have dreams and targets in mind, but we are grounded. We want to take one step at a time.”

Hitesh, 43, who works for Hounslow London Borough Council, joined Uxbridge CC in 2021, as he wanted to play with his son. Last year he was made captain of the 4th XI.

Jai showed his incredible talent last season by hitting back-to-back centuries for the senior side. Hitesh scored five centuries last season and had 820 runs at an average of 68.33. He became the second highest run scorer among 2,000 players in the league.

According to Hitesh, Jai at 13 became the youngest player to score a hundred in the senior cricket for the club in its over 200-years history. He scored three centuries in total including one in a T20 match.

“When I joined the club, I only hoped to play with my son. But in one year I was made captain of the club and we are batting together for the team and winning matches. Though I am  proud of my personal achievements for the club I want Jai to go as long as he can in professional cricket and I want to support him,” Hitesh said.

Jai, who attends Langley Academy school, started playing cricket at 8, joining Datchet Cricket Club. After two years with the club, he joined Uxbridge.

Under new committee and chairman, Uxbridge have made significant improvements to the club this season with all four Saturday teams doing well and challenging for promotion in their respective leagues.

Chairman and secretary Dr Fahad Zulfikar, a GP in West Drayton, and Preetham Sharma Hiremat, managing director Brown & Burk UK, have also managed to acquire sponsorship that has allowed the club to telecast live via You tube.

To provide ongoing support to various juniors the club have formed a new fifth Saturday team under the captaincy of Hiremat, Uxbridge recently said in a statement.

Founded in 1789, Uxbridge provides family environment for playing cricket and has two grounds and a turf pitch as well. It has sporting facilities for tennis, squash, bowls and rugby.

The club is currently looking to hire a third ground that will enable them to field their fifth Saturday team in the TVCL league and also develop a second Sunday team.

To encourage and promote cricket among the local community, the club hosts events such as a six a side tournament on Bank Holiday weekends where people get an opportunity to interact with players.

The club is in the process of developing indoor net facilities that will enable the local community to practice cricket throughout the year and also redevelop the second pavilion.

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