YOUNG people from Bradford and across the county are set to document and celebrate the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire as part of a new sporting history project.

The AYA Foundation, a community organisation specialising in minority heritage, arts, and culture, has been awarded £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to record interviews and collect memorabilia for its ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ project, focusing on the founders of one of the oldest Asian-led cricket leagues in Britain, the Bradford-based Quaid-e Azam Sunday Cricket League.

Mobeen Butt, projects director at the AYA Foundation, said current players such as Bradford-born Adil Rashid, of Yorkshire and England, owed part of their success to early Asian migrants who played in local parks and set up teams and leagues more than four decades ago.

“Players from these Asian cricket leagues are now being scouted by county cricket clubs and have even gone on to play for England,” he said.

“I believe the way Black and mixed-race players and audiences have changed the face of football, Asian players and supporters could go on to change the face of cricket, and when this happens the material that a project like this collects will be vital to help tell a wider story of cricket in Britain.

“We have already started losing some of our ‘founding-fathers’, those that arrived in the 1960s and 1970s.

“It is imperative that we empower the second, third, and now fourth generations by giving them the resources and skills necessary to capture their own histories, before they are lost forever.”

The project will work with more than twenty young people and involve trips to museums and archives, including Lords.

A documentary will be produced and an exhibit put on display at this summer’s England versus Pakistan one-day international at Headingley.

Nasser Hanif, who is managing the scheme, said the project had been developed to coincide with this summer’s Pakistan tour of England.

“Older members of the Quaid-e Azam League say that it was when Pakistan toured England in the 1970s that their passion for cricket was ignited, and they would grab a bat and ball and start playing in the streets, alleyways, and parks,” he said.

“They started their own teams and competitions, and eventually their own Sunday leagues.

“The investment the Asian cricketing pioneers put in is now reaping rewards as theirs sons, nephews, and grandchildren are now starting to break into the highest levels of English cricket.”

Mark Arthur, chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “Yorkshire Cricket has a rich history and heritage and Asian cricket plays a major part in this.

“The Quaid-e Azam League is a strong and well-respected league, not just in Yorkshire, but nationally.

“This project will be fantastic in documenting how the clubs and league have developed over the years, as well as providing many people with fond memories.”

Anyone aged 14 to 24 who wants to get involved in the project should email, or call 07764 335879.