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.