Q&A: My Redbridge - Arfan Akram has played for Wanstead Cricket club for more than 23 years
PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 August 2018
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This week’s Q&A is with Arfan Akram, who has played cricket for Wanstead Cricket club for more than 23 years, and his dad, Mohammed, is close friends with the newly elected prime minister of Pakistan, and world famous cricketer Imran Khan.
What is your connection with Redbridge?
I’ve played cricket for Wanstead since I was 11, and I am also east London cricket co-ordinator, so I work across Redbridge, Newham, Waltham Forest and Barking and Dagenham.
What’s the best thing about working or living in Redbridge?
The passion for the game of cricket. I believe Redbridge is the borough with the most amount of cricket pitches in the whole country. Everyone in the borough loves the sport, and it is also such a diverse community, it is a great place to work in.
What one thing would you change about the borough?
I would make more cricket pitches, I know I have said that I think there are more here than anywhere else, but the demand for the game in Redbridge is so high we could always use more.
I would also love there to be an iconic cricket stadium, I don’t even mean something as big as Lords or Edgbaston, just somewhere that the borough could be really proud of.
Use three words to describe the borough.
Passionate, pro-active and welcoming.
Who is the most inspiring person you know?
It would have to be Imran Khan. My dad – Mohammed – is good friends with him, and he has been a bit of a mentor to me. My dad used to play cricket for Ilford, and in the late 1980s Essex and Sussex were playing at Valentines Park. As a member of Ilford Cricket Club my dad got access to the pavilion. So he first met him then, and now for over 30 years they have been close friends.
People said that Pakistan would never win the Cricket World Cup, and in 1992 they did.
He has opened specialist cancer research hospitals, and a university in some of the poorest parts of Pakistan, and now he has just been elected as the prime minister.
He is a really inspiring person, and a great cricketer.
What new law would you introduce if you were prime minister?
On my first day in Downing Street I would make it compulsory for every park in the country to have some sort of cricket facilities, so that people could play for free and enjoy the game even more.
If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?
Well if I was editor I would increase the team’s budget to bring in more staff so that they could cover more community events, so they could share the successes of the local community.
There are a lot of great community events that happen all the time, and sometimes they don’t get the coverage that they might hope to get.
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