News / Asia

Iraqi Refugee to Boost Cricket in Multicultural Australia

Phil Mercer
An Iraqi refugee has been chosen to help boost the profile of cricket in Australia.  Sam Almaliki, who’s 24, has been appointed to a senior community development role at Cricket Australia, the sports powerful governing body.  He first encountered cricket watching fellow refugees play at Sydney’s Villawood Detention Center where his family was held for eight months after fleeing Iraq. 

Cricket is Australia’s national game but lacks the diversity found in the other major sports, including rugby football.

The job of widening cricket’s appeal has fallen to an Iraqi refugee from Basra. Sam Almaliki says he knew nothing about the sport until he was eight years old.

“My first exposure to cricket was while being detained in the Villawood Detention Center as my family and I were seeking asylum, and I saw Tamil detainees playing the game,” he said.

Unlike other sports in Australia, cricket has not mirrored the nation’s multicultural make-up.  About 40 percent of Australians were either born overseas or have at least one migrant parent.

Large numbers of new settlers from India and China could eventually change the face of the national cricket team.

"It is going to start to become a really multicultural team, whereas as before it was, you know, mostly Australian, but now that we have multiculturalism in Australia then the team is going to start looking that way as well,” says Dev, 13, who come from an Indian background and is very familiar with the game.

Sam Almaliki says his new job is to encourage more players from immigrant families to take up the sport of cricket, which is popular in former British colonies.

“We know that there are many migrant kids playing the game who are not part of our formal structures, and one of my top priorities is to ensure that we connect with those communities, and give a clear indication that there is a pathway for them and an opportunity to be included in the Australian cricket family and perhaps one day represent our nation.  I think that can only be to the betterment of Australian cricket,” he said.

Australian cricket is trying to shed its reputation for being a sport for predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon players, but still has some way to go, according to Shaoquett Moselmane, the first Muslim member of the New South Wales state parliament.

“It is truly multicultural Australia with over 200 groups in Australia, so it is a really a success story of multiculturalism, which we haven’t been able to export and let the world know that we are a truly harmonious community, and that has not [been] reflected in some of our sporting games, such as Cricket Australia,” said Moselmane.

Iqbal, whose son plays at the junior level, migrated to Australia from Bangladesh, and hopes more aspiring cricketers from Asian families will play for the national team.

“Ah, why not?  If I think for my boy, he will be able to play for Australia in four years. He is not 15, so 19, 20, yeah, you will see players playing from sub-continent countries and hopefully somebody from Bangladesh playing in the Australian team,” said Iqbal.

Cricket’s governing body says lucrative TV deals will give it the financial muscle to attract more players from non-English-speaking backgrounds, as well as larger numbers of women and girls, people with disabilities and indigenous Australians to the nation’s favorite game.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs