Chance to Shine coach Shakeel Ahmed explains how the organisation helps inner-city children get into cricket, during a session attended by England's Stuart Broad.
“I see a lot of kids who are in my shoes when I was younger so for me to be able to inspire them and offer them some sort of guidance and take those steps towards life is the biggest thing I get out of it.”
So says Shakeel Ahmed, who joined Chance to Shine’s Tower Hamlets project in 2008 as a teenager before becoming a full coach for the organisation, which runs cricket sessions for children in inner-city locations.
“Playing cricket helps them get away from negative influences and issues they have in schools around behaviour, gangs and crime,” he told Sky Sports Cricket at a Chance to Shine session in North London, one which was attended by England trio Stuart Broad, Dawid Malan and Liam Dawson.
Find out how you can get involved in cricket with our series of features during the second Test between England and Pakistan.
“For the kids to see influential players [Broad, Malan and Dawson], it inspires them – they can talk to them about how they went on their cricket journey.
“A lot of places where we run street cricket people are very cultural and closed minded and they don’t know there is a career in sport.
“For parents and children to see they have so many opportunities and talk to players they see on TV is really inspirational.”
Broad and Malan – part of England’s Test XI in action against Pakistan at Headingley – were pleased to be able to play their part in Chance to Shine, which was established in 2005.
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“It’s great to be here with projects like this and so many kids getting involved,” said Broad.
“If we can influence a few kids to play the game we love by coming down here and bowling few balls and taking a few catches, that’s what it’s all about.”
Malan added: “To see the passion and fun they have while playing – it’s not about the pressure we have and about the disappointment.
“Guys and girls were getting out here and walking off with a smile on their face and having a laugh with their mates.”
Play the video at the top of the page to learn more about Chance to Shine and catch continued coverage of The Participation Test on Sky Sports Cricket as we look at participation, growth and inclusion in grassroots cricket.