The Bradford girls’ cricket team star in a new film that aims to inspire more girls to take up the sport.
The film was produced by Ummahsonic, an online platform highlighting positive contributions made by Muslim youth while entertaining and empowering all young people up and down the country.
Becoming role models
Most of the 15 and 16-year-old girls are Muslim and had to overcome barriers from their family communities as well as from outside perceptions.
They built themselves up from a team of inexperienced players when they first formed in 2014. And despite the struggle, they became one of the best teams in the country.
Starting the girls’ team
Carlton Bolling PE teacher and Bradford girls’ cricket coach, Zaheer Jaffary motivated the girls to start a cricket team and has coached them all the way through to their days of success and stardom.
“We hope to inspire and empower other young women to achieve their goals and aspirations and show that no one should be confined by their gender or background. He said.
That’s not cricket
The video goes over some of the difficulties the team faced when they first started out.
“Society says South Asian girls aren’t supposed to play cricket and when they say that, our dreams are crushed.” Said team player Zainab in the short video.
She explained they felt like outcasts at their first competition.
“When we first walked in, it was all elite grammar schools… We turned up with our headscarves and our mismatched equipment and people were laughing.”
Unwittingly breaking boundaries
Yes. “We didn’t realise the enormity of what we were doing,” Zainab said.
She explains how it felt to gain confidence and notoriety after all the hard work they had put into training.
She said: “We were invited to Lords and when we got there it was like a dream come true.”
Coach Jaffary supported them every step of the way, he said: The girls in our team have shown a tenacity in pursuing the sport they love despite some saying they shouldn’t play.”
“No one should be denied access to sport and the passion, courage and determination shown by these girls, should be held up as an example and should pave the way for others to follow.”