A Bradford College student has been bowled over after being selected to represent England in a unique cricket world cup.
Jasmin Akter has been picked to play for her country in the Street Child Cricket World Cup.
The new international competition brings together teams of teenagers from nine countries from across the world in an event designed to raise awareness of global youth homelessness.
Teenager Jasmin, who lives in Bradford, was selected for Centrepoint Team England after being spotted coaching youngsters at the Karmand Community Centre (KCC) Youth Project.
It is not the first time cricket has put Jasmin in the spotlight. Last year she featured in the BBC Three documentary Bats, Balls and Bradford Girls which told the story of an all-Asian girls’ cricket team battling prejudices to play the game. A gifted sportsperson, she has represented West Yorkshire at cricket and also had trials for Yorkshire and also used to play football for Bradford City.
The 18-year-old all-rounder is thrilled to now get the chance to play for her country.
“It is a very exciting opportunity that I am really looking forward to,” said Jasmin, who is studying a business course at Bradford College and hopes to later train as an accountant.
“I will be with the team for eight days, playing games in Cambridge and London and on finals day, at one of the world’s most famous pitches, Lord’s, which will be an absolute honour.
“It is going to be great to mix with the other competitors from all across the world and do what we can to raise the profile of a very good cause.”
Jasmin Akter, Business student and cricketer, at Bradford College
England will compete against teams from Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, North India, South India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan and Tanzania in the tournament that will culminate in a finals day on the hallowed turf at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on May 7.
Teams are made up of boys and girls, which appeals to Jasmin as a keen advocate of women in sport.
“Cricket is a great game for girls,” she said.
“When I was in the all-Asian girls’ team at school we faced a lot of discrimination with some people thinking girls should stay at home to cook and clean.
“We all wanted to be taken seriously and prove that girls can play cricket and so it is great that this tournament will involve girls and boys,”
The Street Child Cricket World Cup has been scheduled ahead of this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup which is being hosted by England and Wales and begins at the end of May. A number of matches are set to be played at Yorkshire’s Headingley ground in Leeds, and Jasmin and fellow members of the cricket club at Bradford College will be flag bearers for those games. Jasmin and her fellow students will also get a chance to see the World Cup trophy up close when it comes into the campus on April 11 as part of the official ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour.