Young cricketers in Birmingham have a great chance to stay in the swing – or gain a first introduction to the sport – during the long winter months following the launch of Street20 sessions.
Worcestershire and England batsmen Vikram Solanki and Warwickshire and England Under-19s starlet Ateeq Javid both dropped by this week to endorse the StreetChance initiative, set up at Saltley Leisure Centre and Moseley School by the Cricket Foundation in partnership with Warwickshire Cricket Board.
Street20 is a fast version of the game played with a taped-up tennis ball. Each innings last for 20 balls, designed to make T20 cricket resemble a Test match.
The concept was developed in London, where it has become highly popular, and has now moved to Birmingham.
Javid and Solanki visited Saltley Leisure Centre, in Bordesley Green, to lend a hand to StreetChance coaches Eaton Gordon and Asim Aziz, who run the free sessions for local youngsters every week during the winter.
Javid is a local lad from Aston, who last season showed his quality at first-team level for Warwickshire in the County Championship.
He enjoys coaching cricket and is currently taking his UKCC2 badge. He hopes some of the boys he saw at Saltley Leisure Centre will take up a lifelong love of cricket – and perhaps be part of the next generation into the system at Edgbaston.
“These kids can play and it’s great to see them enjoying indoor cricket,” said Javid, who will be touring Sri Lanka with England Under-19s in the New Year.
“Indoor cricket really helped me develop my game. It helps you understand angles and increases your range of strokes and reactions.’’
Javid was invited down to the session as he is an excellent local role model and was keen to impress on young players how hard they need to work and practice to progress in the game.
* Street20 sessions are free to all youngsters and anyone who would like to join in can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Coaching runs every Tuesday between 4pm and 6pm at Saltley and, also on Tuesdays, between 6pm and 7pm at Moseley School.