ENGLAND host Pakistan in a Test series from today, which has come as welcome news for cricket lovers of Muslim and Pakistani origin in West Yorkshire.

And one Bradford-dominated league is hosting an intriguing fixture on Sunday.

Bradford side Bowling Baptist are taking on Leeds-based outfit Cambridge Methodists in the Quaid-e-Azam league for the very first time.

The occasion has got Zaheer Ahmed, who runs and plays in the Cambridge team, very excited, especially as his team currently sit top of the Section A (second division) table.

He told the Telegraph & Argus: “Our club was set up in the 1920s I think, and was based out of the church on Cambridge Road in Meanwood.

“But the Methodists associated with it dwindled and now they’re left with us. I am a Muslim as are most of our members. Tory MP Peter Bone did used to be a regular player for the club though.

“It will be the first time we’ve played Bowling Baptist, though we have played other Baptist teams like them.

“We were always a friendly club, but we were finding hard to get games, so we’ve joined the Quaid-e-Azam league.

“It’s virtually all, or I would say at least 80 per cent, Pakistani based. All the teams in it are basically from Bradford. We’re the only ones from Leeds, while there’s a couple from Dewsbury and Huddersfield.”

Asked about the Pakistani and Muslim community’s passion for cricket in Bradford and West Yorkshire, Ahmed said: “It’s not as dense a population of Pakistanis in Leeds as it is in Bradford, but there’s a lot of clubs based in our Pakistani-dominated areas.

“It can be difficult because cricket’s not like football, where you can just go out and play on fields.

“A lot of cricket pitches have been there for years and are run by traditional clubs, so you’ve got to hire off them a lot of the time and it’s expensive.

“There is a difference I think with cricket in the Asian and Pakistani community, and you’ll have seen that in Bradford.

“The kids are so passionate and are playing in parks and on street corners, whereas it’s probably a bit more of a middle-class thing for the white population.

“It is interesting because I play in the Dales Council League for Cookridge on Saturdays and that’s about a 50-50 split between whites and Asians in the team.

“But there’s one team, Woodhouse, who 10 years ago were all white and now they’re all Asian.”

Inspired to get in touch by the England v Pakistan series, Ahmed said: “We’ll enjoy it when Pakistan come over. They usually have competitive games with England.

“It was a troubled country, especially before 2015, and there was a lack of positives, but cricket is one, and is something the community can relate to.

“We normally turn out in good numbers to watch the Tests, though we can’t right now.”