Pakistan cricketers make children's dreams come true
Thu, May 30, 2013 3:45 PM
Pakistan's international stars proved to be as big a hit off the field as on it during their recent tour of Ireland.
Six of the squad took time time out from their busy schedule to pay visits to two schools in West Dublin, where they were mobbed by adoring fans.
Mohammad Irfan, who at 7 foot 1 inches is the world's tallest cricketer, left arm paceman Wahab Riaz, and all-rounder Umar Amin paid a visit to Castaheany Educate Together National School in Dublin 15, where hundreds of children and parents mobbed the players.
The school has 450 pupils drawn from no fewer than 55 nationalities and cricket has proved hugely popular since it has started in recent years. The players met with the children and played cricket with their Leprechaun Schools Cup team.
Brian O’Rourke, Cricket Ireland Development Manager for Leinster said: "The day was nothing short of exceptional. It was thrilling for everyone to have three of Pakistan’s players take the time to come and visit one of the hundreds of schools in the Cricket Ireland development programme. All three of the players were more than generous with their time and it was an experience the kids and parents will never forget. I'd like to say a huge thank you to the Pakistan squad and the school who made the day such a memorable one for all concerned.
"Castaheany Educate Together National School receive cricket school visits thanks to the support of Fingal County Council and this year they entered into the Leprechaun Cup for the first time. I would like to think that a day like today will last long in the memory and help continue establish the culture of cricket that is spreading throughout all parts of Fingal especially in Dublin 15, and further across the entire country."
A second group of Pakistan players including hard hitting Nasir Jamshed, top order batsman Asad Shafiq, and young pace bowler Ehsan Adil were the star attractions at Colaiste Phadraig CBS in Lucan in West Dublin.
The school, last year’s Leinster Junior Cup finalists were in awe as they got to play cricket with their idols and posed for photos in their Pakistan cricket jerseys!
Asad Shafiq and Ehsan Adil presented the awards for best Junior batsman and best junior bowler of the year at the ceremony held in front of the entire school.
Kenny Carroll, the South Dublin County Council Cricket Development Officer and dual international sportsman said: "The growth in the sport here in South Dublin County Council is astonishing with impromptu matches of cricket taking place on all sorts of surfaces right across the county. Every available space is being used and it augurs well for the future of our great sport.
This growth is perfectly evidenced in a school like Colaiste Phadraig where the boys live, sleep and breathe cricket. For Nasir, Asad and Ehsan to take so long out of their day to come and not only play cricket with the boys here but also present the cricket awards, sign autographs and pose for photos was exceptional. It was a day that will live long in the memory for everyone that was present."
The RSA 'Get Into Cricket' Programme launched in 2012 and this has helped the rapidly growing popularity of cricket in Ireland which is showing no signs of slowing down - junior participation numbers have more than doubled in the past year. A visit from some of Pakistan's international cricketers will certainly stand out for these two schools and help continue the growth of the sport in West Dublin.