This October, Cricket Scotland is celebrating Black History Month in the UK. This national celebration aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British society, and to foster an understanding of Black history in general.
As part of Cricket Scotland’s celebrations, we recognize the influence of the Black community on Scottish cricket through the years. We begin by examining the contribution to our game of those undertaking a modern-day mass migration – the Afghans fleeing from persecution in their homeland.
The United Kingdom, and by association Scotland, has been a destination of choice for decades for migrants from many parts of the world seeking a better life. In recent years, the arrival of many hundreds and thousands of people from Afghanistan has created a series of communities across the country – and an unexpected opportunity for Scottish cricket.
The growing Afghan community here is gradually embracing local society and culture in many ways, particularly with distinction across the cricketing landscape. Whilst it’s unclear exactly how many Afghans are playing organized cricket in Scotland, the ability of cricket to be a showcase of talents as well as a unifying force for good is shining through.
Lisa Watson is the Vice-Chair of the North East Scotland Cricket Scio (NESC) and a driving force at Fraserburgh Cricket Club, where her husband Michael is the club President. Their club has become heavily involved with creating opportunities for Afghan refugees.
“Our involvement began almost two years ago with a polite enquiry from the club to the local authority, Aberdeenshire Council, during the week when Scotland played Afghanistan in the ICC T20 World Cup. It had recently been highlighted that there’d been a chance for Afghan refugees to play indoors in Edinburgh, and we at Fraserburgh thought if there were any relocating to the North East, then we’d like to provide a similar opportunity as a welcome to the area via a sport played in both countries.
“The response was positive. Aberdeenshire Council’s UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children) department liaised with our captain, Liam, and the connection was made. Early in 2022, we welcomed three young Afghan players – Omar, Usman, and Kamaludeen – to our indoor practices.
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