Bangladeshi street children get ready for Cricket World Cup

Rough English weather could be a challenge for the children. (Photo courtesy: Leedo)
Updated 28 April 2019

Bangladeshi street children get ready for Cricket World Cup

  • Bangladeshi team has ‘huge potential,’ says coach
  • Rough English weather could be a challenge

DHAKA: Street children from Bangladesh will fly to the UK later this month to take part in a cricketing first, officials said Saturday.

The eight-member team will participate in a street cricket world cup in London, the first event of its kind.

 Leedo, a Dhaka-based charity that works with street children in the capital, selected the four boys and four girls from different parts of the city. Leedo currently hosts 52 children at its shelter.

“Our children are very excited to participate in the street child cricket world cup,” Forhad Hossain, from Leedo, told Arab News.

 The world cup is being organized by Street Child United, a UK charity, and technical support is being provided by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

 Other teams competing in the street cricket world cup are England, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Congo and Mauritius. Matches will take place at Cambridge and Lords.

But getting the Bangladesh team to England has not been easy.

“It was a Herculean task for me to get along with the formalities like getting passports and UK visas for the children as they have no legal guardian. I had to go to court to ensure and attain legal guardianship for the children,” Hossain said.

Leedo also secured sponsorship to make the kids’ dreams come true.

“These children, with their participation in such a world event, have got the much-needed motivation to boldly move on with life in the future.”

Arjoo Rahman, 15, is one of the team members and said the street cricket world cup had changed her outlook on life.

“In my childhood I wanted to be a good dancer. But now, after getting involved with cricket, I decided to join the national women’s team,” she told Arab News.

All-rounder Russel Islam, 15, said he was confident and excited about the tournament.

“We are very confident to win the championship as we have practiced enough in the last couple of days. All of our players are very excited to prove their strength with batting and bowling,” he told Arab News.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has even laid on a coach.

“These children have huge potential in cricket as they are very quick learners. I think the children will put up a good fight in the tournament,” coach Mohammed Jashim told Arab News.

But the inclement weather currently battering England may prove a challenge for the kids as they are used to warmer climes, he added.

The Bangladeshi team is scheduled to return home on May 10.

Fernandinho is last line of defense as City face Watford test

Updated 20 September 2019

Fernandinho is last line of defense as City face Watford test

  • Pep Guardiola’s side are 5 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool

MANCHESTER: Fernandinho stepped seamlessly into Manchester City’s backline in midweek to ease Pep Guardiola’s defensive woes but the Premier League champions know their stretched resources will be tested by a physical Watford side on Saturday.

The clubs last met in the FA Cup final in May, with City romping to a 6-0 victory to complete the first-ever domestic treble in English football history.

But just four months later Guardiola, whose side are already five points behind Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool, is facing a serious headache at the back, with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones out for significant spells.

Frenchman Laporte, described as the best left-sided defender in Europe by Guardiola, is out until at least February after injuring knee ligaments in the recent win over Brighton.

That left Stones, whose start to the season was hampered by injury, as the only specialist center-half left to partner Nicolas Otamendi, a player who has not been an automatic first choice for some time.

England defender Stones, however, suffered a muscle injury in training and reports suggest he could be out for four to five weeks.

City appear to be paying the price for a curious strategy in the transfer market.

Over the past two years, they have shown strong interest in Virgil van Dijk and Harry Maguire, only to balk at paying what turned out to be world record transfer fees for defenders.

Van Dijk went to Liverpool for £75 million ($93m) while Maguire ended up at Manchester United for £80m.

Given the vast wealth of the City’s Abu Dhabi ownership, and the fact they have broken their own club transfer record in each of the past two summers, such caution when it comes to signing center-halves seems curious.

Guardiola also famously spent big on three fullbacks — Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy — in a matter of days in 2017 which makes his, and City’s, refusal to compete with Liverpool and United for center-halves all the more baffling.

The upshot of their approach was that they failed to replace veteran club skipper Vincent Kompany, who returned to Belgium.

City’s refusal to go toe to toe with their rivals means they face Watford, and new manager Quique Sanchez Flores, with only Otamendi as a fit, specialist central defender.

Watford are bottom of the league but come into the match buoyant after recovering from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Arsenal.

At least Guardiola has a ready-made solution, with defensive midfielder Fernandinho playing at center-back for the midweek visit to Shakhtar Donetsk, where City won 3-0.

The City manager has long spoken of moving Fernandinho back into that position as his career draws to a close although his hand has been forced by the injuries.

“That’s why he is so important for us,” said Guardiola after the victory in his side’s Champions League opener.

“We don’t have many choices. I think he is the only one I have. Other players can play in that position but Fernandinho is a clever player and so intelligent — an incredible guy.

“He did well the first game he played. Of course he has a lot of experience and personality, and what he says the people follow him in the locker room so it’s important.”

Right-back Walker is another player who could move into the center of defense in an emergency but, with Fernandinho in the veteran stage of his career now at 34, Guardiola is one injury away from a full-blown crisis.