Embassy reception for multi-faith cricket team
- Credit: Archant
East London’s multi-faith cricket team enjoyed a reception at the British Embassy in Rome, as part of their ambassadorial duties on their tour of the Vatican.
The pioneering cricket programme is a follow-up to the festival of light tour 2016 when St Peter’s CC, the Pope’s team from the Vatican, took part in a UK-wide tour.
The Vatican made contact with Essex Cricket this summer and subsequently invited the team to visit the Vatican and play St Peter’s CC.
Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See, Joanne Cappa-Gunduz MVO, Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, Father Sameer Advani, Father Eamonn O’Higgins and Fabio Marabini, President, Federazione Cricket Italiana were present at the reception.
And as a mark of appreciation Newham Councillor Forhad Hussain and Jawar Ali of London Tigers alongside Professor Lord Patel of Bradford presented plaques to Cappa-Gunduz MVO and Marabini.
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The second day of the tour will see the squad join Father Sameer Advani to partake in a special tour of St Peter’s and the Vatican Gardens before departing for Capanelle Cricket Ground where the team will face their first opponents Roma Capanelle CC in a T20 clash.
Newham Councillor Mukesh Patel felt the day of activities was a great way for the team to bond, saying: “We are here to play cricket but we hope that the togetherness, high spirits and our contact with people of diverse backgrounds and faiths will prove to be an example for others to emulate.
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“It’s a fantastic and unique initiative by Essex Cricket and I’m very pleased that we are using the game of cricket to promote peace and unity.”
The tour has received the backing of Prime Minister Theresa May who said: “Championing the positive impact that sport can have on people’s lives is something about which we should remain passionate.
“We should never underestimate the community connections that sport encourages and I am heartened that a shared love for cricket is bringing people of all faiths together in East London. I hope Essex Cricket enjoys the trip to the Vatican. I wish everyone involved the very best of luck.”
The Tour Party: Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, England & Wales Cricket Board (Director and Player): Forhad Hussain (Essex Cricket, Director and Player); Robyn Hulley (Essex Cricket, Tour Manager); Arfan Akram (East London Cricket Co-Coordinator, assistant tour manager & tour captain); Jawar Ali (Essex Cricket & Operations Director at London Tigers).
Players: Emdad Rahman (Community Support and Scintilla Cricket Club); Michael Arnold (East London Cricket Coach); Simon Cooper (The Mayor of London’s Office); Qam Farooq (Sales Manager at Ganador Sports); Kashif Haroon (Councillor, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham); Shiraz Kothia (Community Leader in East London); Vince Mulholland (Chairman Ilford Catholic Cricket Club); Saba Nasim (Essex Women’s Cricket Ambassador & Coach); Mukesh Patel (Councillor, London Borough of Newham); Kam Rai (Councillor, London Borough of Redbridge); Kanan Thiyagarajah (East London Cricket Coach & Barking Cricket Club); Dominic Twomey (Councillor, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham).
Officials: Annanth Kumar (Chairman, Cavaliers Cricket Academy, Umpire); Sheela Sethu (Secretary, Cavaliers Cricket Academy, Scorer).