Asian street cricket exhibition
A photography exhibition illustrating the grass roots beginnings of Asian cricket in Yorkshire will be on display at Dewsbury library for the next few weeks.
The exhibition contains photographs, taken by cricket enthusiast Mohanlal Mistry, of ‘back-street’ or ‘alley’ cricket being played in West Yorkshire in the early 1990s.
Where else has it been on display?
It was displayed at Headlingley Cricket Ground for the one day international between England and Pakistan, at the Oval for the 2016 Asian Cricket Awards, and has just spent three months travelling the local libraries of Bradford. This will be the first time that the exhibition is open to the public and free to visit in Dewsbury.
The exhibition is part of the From Parks to Pavilions project which is documenting the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire. The project was developed by the AYA Foundation, a community organisation specialising in promoting minority heritage, arts and culture, with support of Bradford Local Studies Libraries, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, the England and Wales Cricket Boards (ECB), and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
What do people think of the exhibition?
Mobeen Butt, the curator of the exhibition and Project Lead of the From Parks to Pavilions project said:
“The photographs perfectly capture how young Asians played cricket in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. They didn’t play on cricket grounds, in practice nets or even in parks – they played wherever they could, and that meant playing in alleyways, carparks and wastelands. They played with milk crates, traffic cones and crisp boxes for wickets and would carve out a bat from pieces of broken floor board or fence”.
The project also aims to collect material and record interviews from members of one of the oldest Asian led cricket leagues in Britain, the Quaid-e-Azam Sunday Cricket League. Some of the founding teams that formed the League came from the Dewsbury and Batley area.
Lord Patel said: “We often hear people say that for Asians cricket is a religion, and playing the game is in our blood – an inherent part of who we are. I believe that this exhibition captures that sentiment perfectly.
“For me personally, it brought back many memories of my childhood experiences of playing this great game – it is so important that we do not forget this rich history, learn from it, understand it, build on it and all move forward – not just in Yorkshire but around the country.”
Cllr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for Resources and creative Kirklees said:
“There is no doubt that Yorkshire loves cricket and that cricket is a great way to bring communities together, whether its playing in an alley or in one of our great facilities around Kirklees, the spirit of the sport is captured perfectly in these images.
As a team sport cricket helps people come together, and learn new skills, and helps participants learn how to work together, towards a common goal. I would encourage people to go along to this fantastic exhibition, you don’t have to be a cricket fan to appreciate the skill of the photographers and the images on display, as they capture real communities and real people.”
More information about the cricket exhibition
The exhibition will be on display at Dewsbury Library, Dewsbury Retail Park, Railway Street, Dewsbury, WF12 8EQ from Monday 30 January to Saturday 18 February 2017.
To keep updated with the project visit: www.fromparkstopavilions.org.uk, follow @Parks2Pavilions on Twitter or join the ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ Facebook group.