After a long, hot Balkans’ summer, November sees the start of autumn and the end of our project to encourage migrants and refugees to play cricket. The Serbian Cricket Federation has been organising the “Cricket for Migrants” project on behalf of the Republic of Serbia’s Commissariat for Refugees and Migration (KIRS). Just like the first project, which ended in July, we concluded our work with two tournaments; an one outdoor tournament in the refugee camp in Obrenovac, the other an indoor tournament in Krnjača.
The tournament held on November 9th gathered around 40 participants, divided in to three teams: Pashtun Kings, Punjabi Kings and Peshavar Pakistani. The teams comprised of players from Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the majority of the refugees and migrants who have remained in Serbia are from. Before the tournament began a part of the consignment sent by the Lord’s Taverners was donated to the deputy manager of the Obrenovac camp, Mr. Saša Gavašov.
The donated kit was put to the test during the first match between Peshawar Pakistani and Pashtun Kings. Due to the late start and bad weather the match was late and had to be reduced to 6 overs a side. Peshawar won the toss and opted to bat, which turned out to be a good decision. The opening partnership of Janat (14*) with Asim (9) and then the number 3, Javed (12*), managed to put a quickfire 40 runs on the scoreboard. Peshawar also possessed a strong bowling attack, thus reducing the opponents to a meagre 21 runs.
In the second match, Pashtun Kings managed to save the day with a win over Pakistan Kings. Jamil scored an impressive 35* for the unreachable total of 42 runs. Pashtun Kings dominated the second innings as well, with the man of the tournament Salim taking 3 quick wickets, leading Pashtun to a 20 run win.
Apart from the representatives of SCS and KIRS , the tournament was attended by a radio crew from the BBC, the Serbian NGO Miksalište and the Oxfam foundation.
The SCF would like to thank both KIRS and Lord’s Taverners for supporting this important project, which has made a big difference to a lot of young men who would otherwise have struggled with the realities of their daily lives.