Lisson Green estate, the former home of the Marylebone Cricket Club before Lord’s, played host to England cricketer Ravi Bopara when he met local students for a friendly match on the multi-purpose sports pitch.
Ravi Bopara was there to promote the StreetChance initiative, run by the Cricket Foundation, with reporters from BBC, Sky Sports and Asian newspaper Eastern Eye all on the estate.
StreetChance works towards positive experiences for young people: playing cricket leading to training, volunteering or employment.
It aims to engage young people in communities affected by crime and anti-social behaviour and break down barriers between diverse communities which have previously struggled to integrate.
Media duties complete, Ravi took the opportunity to test the batting and bowling skills of the Quintin Kynaston (QK) students and StreetChance cricketers.
QK student Moheidyne (13) plays cricket three times a week and loves being able to teach his friends how to play. He said: “I like it because it’s a team sport and I like to practice my bowling. It’s a lot of fun, sometimes you have good days, sometimes you have bad days but when we win tournaments, then I’m really happy.”
Afterwards, at the Cricket Foundation’s annual awards ceremony, Ravi said: “I’ve got a lot out of it and I hope the kids did too. That’s the key, it is all for the kids and bringing up the future of English cricket.”
Tim Mathias, operations manager for the Cricket Foundation, says almost 40,000 young people across the UK have benefitted from StreetChance since it began and it is currently being run in 22 London boroughs.
Tim says that cricket often has to compete with football which tends to be more popular with young people, and that 85% of kids who play street cricket in London tend to be from ethnic minorities, and such is the cultural affinity with the quick format of the game, they're usually of Asian subcontinental descent.
He said: “We have set up weekly cricket sessions at Quintin Kynaston and hope that by bringing those participants here to Lisson Green, other kids will see cricket being played and they’ll be encouraged to give it a go. StreetChance is completely free and you don’t need to bring any equipment, it is perfect to give cricket a try for the first time.”
To see the Sky Sport's story about cricket in schools, follow the link here. It features lots of great shots of Ravi, Streetchance's CEO and the QK kids at Lisson Green.
You can also view pictures from the event at our Flickr page.