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Engineer, Griffiths get behind Street Cricket in Manchester

Farokh Engineer (centre, lilac shirt) and Gavin Griffiths (back row, far right) joined youngsters in Manchester to play street cricket
Farokh Engineer (centre, lilac shirt) and Gavin Griffiths (back row, far right) joined youngsters in Manchester to play street cricket
©Chance To Shine
16-year-old Meisam Syed bowling during a street cricket session in Manchester
16-year-old Meisam Syed bowling during the street cricket session
©Chance To Shine

Lancashire's T20 Blast hero Gavin Griffiths joined Lancashire legend Farokh Engineer and local youngsters at a Chance To Shine Street session in Stretford.

The evening before England and Australia met in the third One-Day Internationl at Old Trafford, Griffiths and Engineer were on hand to help youngsters between the age of eight and 16 playing street cricket at Stretford Leisure Centre.

Using a tapeball, they were playing a fast-paced version of the game where innings last for 20 balls and games take 20 minutes, often played in hard courts and community centres in urban areas.

"It’s been an eye opener," Griffiths said.

"There is a lot of talent here and a lot of them aren’t playing at clubs. That is why you have a programme like this to give them opportunities.

"You can tell just from watching that there is a lot of potential here. I spoke to a lad earlier who was part of a local club that had shut down.

"I asked him why he hadn’t joined another club and he said that he didn’t have the transport to do so. Chance to Shine Street gives them the opportunity to play and show off their skills."

Engineer added: "It’s been a wonderful experience. Chance to Shine Street is a brilliant thing, to see the kids smiling and enjoying themselves.

"My advice to them was to be happy and to be good citizens. Cricket teaches you certain ethics.

"The very expression that it’s not cricket means that you don’t do something underhanded. It’s a great education to them and hats off to Lycamobile for sponsoring Street. Chance to Shine is doing a fantastic job."

Street participant, Meisam Syed, 16, said: "I was surprised to meet a legend. It was really fun to meet a former Indian wicket-keeper and a Lancashire bowler who has just won the T20 trophy.

"I learnt a lot from them and they gave me a lot of advice. Normally you wouldn’t get an opportunity like this.

"I meet new people every time I come to Chance to Shine Street. When I’m stressed out I just come here and play and forget about everything. I come and play with my friends and it’s fun."

Chance to Shine Street is supported by Lycamobile and was launched in 2008 to bring cricket to young people in urban areas where there less green spaces and fewer traditional cricket clubs tha in other, more rural areas.

The charity is also using the game to promote social cohesion and connect young people from different backgrounds in diverse communities.  

© Cricket World 2015