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Arfan Akram backs ECB's new All Stars Cricket scheme to be a success

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 May 2017

The ECB have launched the first nationalwide entry-level participation programme for cricket, with the aim of getting 50,000 boys and girls excited by the game this year (pic: ECB).

The ECB have launched the first nationalwide entry-level participation programme for cricket, with the aim of getting 50,000 boys and girls excited by the game this year (pic: ECB).

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Ex-Wanstead captain and current East London Cricket Co-ordinator discusses the various hubs in east London

The ECB's aim is to inspire children aged five to eight to take up cricket and provide them with a great first experience of the game (pic: ECB).The ECB's aim is to inspire children aged five to eight to take up cricket and provide them with a great first experience of the game (pic: ECB).

East London Cricket Co-ordinator Arfan Akram believes the new All Stars Cricket initiative from the England and Wales Cricket Board will prove to be a huge success.

The ECB have put together a programme aimed at providing children aged five to eight with a great first experience in the sport.

There are various ways of getting involved across the UK and 20 venues in east London where children can experience cricket for the first time.

Most of the one-hour sessions, held over eight weeks, start this weekend or next week, but some begin next month, so there’s still time to get involved.

“I was seven or eight when I first picked up a bat and I think I joined Wanstead when I was 11,” said ex-Herons skipper Akram.

“This initiative from the ECB is part of a nationwide strategy to get people involved in the game at an early age. We want to make sure their first dealings with cricket are fun and enjoyable and that way they’ll hopefully come back.

“Also, importantly it is all inclusive, so everyone can get involved and it is a great opportunity for local kids to play the sport.”

One of the east London hubs is called Ilford Beyond Boundaries and will be played at Ilford Mosque (Ilford Community Centre).

The Albert Road venue will run sessions from June 3-July 22, with Akram adding: “I think it is really inspiring and they contacted us about wanting to do it and we have worked with them over the last year on a number of different activities.

“They have been very proactive and really want to promote the sessions and make sure everyone knows they are going on.”

Other east London venues to take part in the scheme include Ardleigh Green, Bancroft Lions, Barking, Buckhurst Hill, Cavaliers Cricket Academy, Chingford, Gidea Park & Romford, Fives and Heronians, Harold Wood, Havering-atte-Bower, Leyton, Loughton, Oakfield Parkonians, Rainham, South Loughton, Stratford/West Ham, Walthamstow, Wanstead and West Essex.

Several Essex stars are associated with some of the recreational hubs with James Foster and Kishen Velani linked with Wanstead.

Nick Browne has an association with South Woodford and the same goes for Dan Lawrence and Ashar Zaidi at Chingford and Ilford respectively.

Akram added: “It is very easy to get involved. The opening course is £40 for eight sessions, but you get a free rucksack, cricket ball, bat, t-shirt, cap and water bottle, so it really is value for money.”

For more visit ecb.co.uk/play/all-stars.

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