“Something to Work Towards”

12-year-old Faheem Ali has been playing cricket for two years, ever since his mum spotted a poster advertising cricket in the local community. Now, he aspires to one day be a professional player for Yorkshire.

When he started playing at the age of 10, Faheem struggled with behaviour problems. He would regularly interrupt sessions and prevent other children from learning. Cricket changed this.

Faheem’s cricket coach from Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, Sohail Raz, says: “The spirit of cricket is so important. It gave Faheem the understanding of winning and losing and accepting that it’s ok to lose. Cricket is a team game and it’s about friendship, taking part, helping each other out and most importantly, enjoyment. It’s not an aggressive game.”

It’s this element which interests Faheem. Already a natural talent on the football field, cricket was a sport which gave Faheem knowledge and wisdom, which ultimately helped to transform his behaviour. Being an only child, Faheem struggled with interaction with other children and he was getting into trouble for disruption. His change in behaviour also helped with his move into High School. He is now always the first person to put his hand up or try something new. His school reports are improving and he has even been made Head of his Year 7 School Council.

Faheem plays for a local club in the U12 and U13 teams and also plays cricket at an after-school club and once a week with Chance to Shine. He looks up to players such as Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root and his uncle also plays a lot of cricket and is very supportive.

Chance to Shine has given Faheem something to work towards. He has already played in his first regional tournaments against teams from York and Newcastle and won. Next stop is the national final in Nottingham.

Sohail continues: “It’s opportunities like these that take Faheem out of his comfort zone and challenge him. He is able to use sport as a tool and it’s helped him open up more.”

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