Saba Nasim, who is a lawyer by profession has been awarded the British empire medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for services to cricket and training young people in London. In an exclusive conversation with The Daily Guardian she gave her insights on her achievements and her experience in training young girls. Excerpts
Q. How difficult or easy is it for an Asian face to break into mainstream cricket as you have achieved?
A. I think definitely playing is much easier and that’s how I started about I think 13 years ago. When I was just leaving university, I wanted to play the sport, I played a lot in secondary school. So we used to play cricket quite a lot, so I wanted to get back after a break of four or five years because of my studies and doing a degree in university. I thought I want to get back into this sport, so then I went around looking for local cricket clubs and there weren’t many female cricket clubs. But luckily I came across a club which was only 10 minutes away from my house, a state cricket club, and they luckily just had set up a new women’s team two years ago before I started so in 2007. So in 2009, I joined in and then a few years later one of the coaches said to me why don’t you also do the level two coaching course and you can become a coach yourself, as well and you can go out and teach girls. I said that would be great because I was already volunteering my time at the club teaching the youngsters, so I did my course, I passed it in 2013. And then from then on it just went a little bit crazy because I was apparently the only female coach in that area and all the schools and youth clubs wanted female coaches. So then I went around and then slowly but surely ended up coaching thousands of girls.
Q. Saba please explain your Red Bridge project to our fans.
A. The Redbridge project started off when I was coaching in schools and then the girls in the schools would ask, is there a club I can join after school or in the weekend. And then I thought let’s make a project which is accessible for the girls within the East London area. Then we hired out the leisure centre and luckily they had an outdoor space which was a basketball court actually it wasn’t a cricket pitch, and we asked them if we do cricket sessions there, and then they luckily gave that to us. So then that’s how I moved the girls from coaching in the schools into the youth project in the Red Bridge Project.
Q. How satisfying does it feel when you train young girls and create a brigade to fight on the grounds to win trophies for the country how does it feel?
A. It feels really good to give back to the community from a young age.
Even with my family, there was always an element of charitable giving and doing things for the community. Not necessarily for a financial reward so it was always in me to do that so it was nice that I could teach them the sport that I love to play as well. And see the happiness on their face when they take a wicket or when they hit a four or when the group gets together on the pitch to celebrate a wicket. That team spirit, that spirit of cricket that is there, it is really nice to see.
Q. Share your first feeling when you heard the news of receiving the British Empire Medal and also getting invited to the Royal Garden party held at Buckingham palace in the summer did you get the goosebumps?
A. I think, I got a letter through the post and my mom opened it and she said it has got some royal stamp on it. So I said to just open it, I was at work at that time and I think she opened it and she said that I have got some medal or an award and I asked to send me a picture quickly. And then I read it, somebody had nominated me for this award. I didn’t start the coaching because of that I just did it because I enjoy doing what I do and then somebody saw me in the community and nominated me for this award. Gathered all the information somehow from internet articles and stuff and nominated me. So it was really great to receive that award and to know that, I had been invited to Buckingham palace to have tea with the queen.
Q. Saba, you have been a successful women’s coach and like in tennis it’s happening that women are training men. Do you see any women cricket coaches training the male cricketers anytime soon?
A. I think at the club level it is happening now but it is yet to happen at the international level. But I think slowly but surely the more you know women’s cricket is getting exposure, the better it will be for women’s cricket. I think just recently Sue Redfern one of our umpires is now going to be the first female umpire to umpire first-class men’s matches. So it’s a step in the right direction and I think the more exposure we are getting in the last few years or so, the better it will be and then we’ll see more things in more prominent roles in international quicker especially.
Q. Will we be able to see you training male cricketers?
A. I am training under 15 boys at my club. So I have reached that level and
at the moment because my priority is women’s cricket and there are such few female coaches around at the club level. Whenever they want a female coach then I’m there, so I always give priority to that. But yeah I think in the future why not I can coach some of the male club and hopefully at the county level someday.
Q. I have a list of accolades a list of honours, a list of achievements, and what you have achieved, you were ECB coach of the year 2015. And the coach of the year at last year’s Asian cricket awards, in addition to being honoured as a point of light by Prime Minister David Cameron and nominated for a NatWest outstanding service to cricket award that is OSCA. Your room shelves will no doubt soon need reinforcing under the weight of the awards you have for your coaching work, isn’t it?
A. I know it’s just amazing since I’ve got one award then people nominate me for more awards. And then my family asks how many more awards are you going to win, I said it’s not my fault, I’m winning all of them. But they’re very proud of me and I’m proud of the achievements and especially what I’m doing for women and girls cricket here in England.
Q. Let’s talk about women’s cricket. Is the success of cricket 100 in England, are we just a step away from IPL-type leagues.
A. I think it was quiet, very sceptical at the start. But I think having been to the final and been to a few matches at lords and the oval there. I think it’s been successful. It really attracted the family aspect, people coming with their children, with their moms and dads and having a good time. So I think the 100 is probably going to be here to stay for quite a long while now.
Q. Who is your favourite team and which country’s team do you like to cheer for always?
A. In the women’s I follow the England women very closely, along with the Australian women because they are the best in the world at the moment. And then in the men’s, I follow England of course and then Pakistan, India. And I would love to see more Pakistan- India matches if circumstances allow. I think they’re great for cricket in general.
Q. You have been a cricketer you have been a coach what when can we see you behind the mic?
A. At the moment I think I’ve done a few commentaries in club matches but I think the more experienced I get, maybe you will see me one day behind the mic.
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Four games win hearts, disappointment in weightlifting and squash
This time, a total of 16 medals, including seven gold were lost due to the non-availability of shooting events in the CWG. It was largely compensated by wrestling, badminton, table tennis, Para Powerlifting, lawn ball, cricket, hockey, athletics, and judo. India’s number of gold medals increased in the first four games compared to the last CWG held at Gold Coast. India won gold and a bar of silver in the lawn bowl in which not a single medal was won before. In hockey, both the teams returned empty-handed last time but this time the men’s team won a silver, and the women’s team won a medal after 16 years. In cricket, the Indian women’s team could not win gold after defeating Australia as they lost the last eight wickets for 34 runs but beating England in the SF was an achievement. Judo was not their last time, India won three medals including two gold in Judo. The personal best performance of many players in athletics proved that India’s preparations are on the right track because of the Paris Olympics.
Despite all this, weightlifters and squash players disappointed. The boxers equalled last time’s three gold medals but they got only one silver means two silvers less than last time. Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, and Achinta Sheuli, did win gold medals in weightlifting, and they broke snatch games record but the rest of the weightlifters could neither break the national record nor give personal best. Most of these weightlifters could not even repeat their performance in the National Championship. Poonam Yadav, who won gold last time in 69 kg, failed in all three clean and jerk attempts, it is a matter of mystery. In TT, Achanta Sharath Kamal proved that age is just a number. The player was once weak in the backhand, but he made it his strength, winning a total of seven golds in 16 years. His biggest quality is to play his strategy according to the opposition player.
In athletics, however, the situation was quite the opposite. In a ten km walk, Priyanka Goswami and Sandeep won medals in their respective categories with PB performances. In the 3000m steeplechase, Avinash Sawale clocked a PB performance to outdo a Kenyan in medals and very near to the other Kenyan who won the gold medal by a fraction of a second. Gold medalist Eldhose Paul and silver-winner Abdulla Aboobacker won the triple jump gold and silver & broke the 17-meter barrier. For all the athletes including Murali Sreeshankar in the long jump, the World Championships held recently formed the base of their medals. Murli, who was performing lighter than the qualifying competition in the final, corrected his mistake and got the silver, but Seema Poonia and Navjeet Dhillon, who won silver and bronze at Gold Coast were almost four to five meters lesser this time. Both have shown that their preparations are going in the opposite direction. Two silvers in squash narrowed us down to two bronzesthis time.
In wrestling, only Canadian and Nigerian wrestlers were challenged as usual and Indian wrestlers managed to bag all the medals like the last time, which includes six golds i.e., one more gold than last time. Vinesh Phogat continued to create history in women’s wrestling by winning her third gold while emerging Naveen proved to be a new sensation in 74kg. Some players gave a befitting reply to their federations with their excellent performance. Judoka Tulika Maan was not considered for selection in the judo team. Even the federation said that there is no hope of a medal in the highest weight category of women, but Tulika won the silver.
Similarly, Tejaswin Shankar had to take refuge in the court to participate in these games. His name was rejected saying that he had not participated in the National Championship, arguing that he was participating in a competition in the US at the same time. Eventually, this player made 2.22 m in the high jump. He won the bronze medal. In lawn ball, women from other sports showed that if there is scope, there is nothing wrong with changing the game. When Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the Olympic medal, he emphasized this the most because he too was once among the cricket potential players of Madhya Pradesh.
What Sports Are The Most Frequently Bet On?
Betting on sports is a vast industry making up over 30% of the entire gambling industry. If we take a look at what this might look like in numbers, around 500 billion dollars is used for gambling around the world each year. This means that approximately 150 billion dollars are spent on sports betting annually, which shows just how big a market it is.You are probably wondering what sports are most frequently bet on throughout the year. Here is a list of some of the most popular sports that people tend to bet on the most. We will take a look at whether it is because people just enjoy watching and betting on their favorite sport or whether a specific sport gives you an advantage while betting.
In the USA, American Football is without a doubt the number one sport that people both love to play and watch. The NFL has some of the most diehard fans of any sport, and people follow the game like a religion. With huge tournaments such as the super bowl, which attract attention from all around the world, it is no surprise that American Football is one of the most popular sports when it comes to betting.Another reason that people love to bet on American Football is the variety of leagues that are available to bet on. People can bet on college football all the way up to the NFL, which means there isn’t a shortage of teams to rally behind and place bets on. They can also choose to bet on live games or make predictions before they start. More options mean more opportunities to place all kinds of bets on different teams, which adds to the popularity of this sport in the gambling scene.
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world with the largest number of people playing it globally. It is then no surprise that it is also a huge sport when it comes to placing bets. With the advancement of technology, the types of bets that people can place on soccer matches have progressed over the years. The most noticeable type of bet that has caused sports betting within soccer to skyrocket is the ability to cash out early. This type of betting has made watching soccer a lot more exciting as people have to be paying extra attention to the screen to decide whether they want to get out of the bet or stay in for the maximum gain.In the UK alone, it is estimated that a mind-blowing 1 billion pounds are spent on soccer bets each year. Soccer as a sport has also only gone up in popularity over the last few years with the American soccer league, MLS, gaining a lot of attention. Although it is a long way from being as popular as American football, soccer in the US appears to be gaining a lot more traction and fans from around the world. For this reason, it is easy to see that soccer is going nowhere anytime soon, and the interest in betting on the sport will likely only increase.
For those that are unaware, horse racing was the number one sport for betting for the longest time. This may not still be the case however, horse racing still plays a massive part in the sports gambling world, with an estimated 100 billion dollars being spent betting on the sport each year. In addition to this, horse racing is the only sport where you can actually bet on it at all times of the day.Horse racing is a huge day out for many people who save part of their earnings to spend betting on horses in the hopes of winning big. This may come as a big surprise, but Japan actually has the biggest horse racing market, with the United Kingdom following behind and then Australia behind them.
The number three spot when it comes to sports most frequently bet on is tennis. You might not have expected this but there are some reasons why this is the case. The first being that placing bets on tennis is considered relatively safe due to the odds being fairly low. For example, if one of the top players, such as Rafael Nadal, is scheduled to play against a player who is not considered very strong, it is a relatively safe bet to place on Nadal winning.
HUMPY, SACHDEV, KULKARNI GIVE INDIA LEAD IN WOMEN’S SECTION AT 44TH CHESS OLYMPIAD
Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni scored victories as India A pulled off a 3.5-0.5 win against Kazakhstan to emerge as sole leader in the women’s section after ninth round of 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Monday.
Top-seed India A were given a winning start in the penultimate round by Humpy when she outperformed Zhansaya Abdumalik. R Vaishali, on the other hand, had to share points against Bibisara Assaubayeva before Sachdev and Kulkarni tilted the result of the match in India’s favour after securing wins over Xeniya Balabayeva and Guliskhan Nakhbayeva in their respective games.
With just one more round remaining, India A have grabbed the leading spot with 17 points while Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are jointly holding the second position with 16 points each.
India B and India C also notched up identical 3-1 wins in their respective Round 9 matches. While India B defeated the Netherlands with Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Divya Deshmukh scoring victories, India C thrashed Sweden. PV Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda scored victories for India C whereas Eesha Karavade and M Varshini Sahiti settled for draws.
THE GREAT INDIA RUN ENTERS PUNJAB, RUNNERS REACH DINANAGAR
The Kashmir leg of the Great India Run culminated today with 11 runners entering Punjab on Tuesday evening. The runners have started their run from Mansar Lake and reached Dinanagar covering a distance of 89kms. The runners reached Dinanagar via Samba, Keediyan Gandiyal Bridge and Aman Bhalla College.
After a night halt, they will start their journey tomorrow to DAV College, Hoshiarpur via Mukerian. The Kashmir leg saw the runners complete a total distance of 255kms running through iconic locations including Bahihal, Patnitop and Mansar Lake.
The relay-run will cover 829 kilometers across 4 states from Srinagar to New Delhi from August 5 to August 15. The run is being organize to celebrate the 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign. An initiative of iTV & iTV Foundation, the run builds on the success of the first chapter of the Great India Run held in 2016.
The Flag-off in Srinagar was done by Shri Manoj Sinha, L-G J&K and Shri Kartik Sharma, Rajya Sabha MP from Lal Chowk, Srinagar. In support of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the L-G handed the lead runner a national flag after unfurling it at the venue. The first leg of the run is being led by Arun Bhardwaj, an Ultra-marathon runner.
The run venue was decorated with 75 Indian tricolours to mark 75 years of Independence. The route covers Banihal, Patnitop, Mansar Lake, Dinanagar, Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Ambala Cantt. finally culminating in Delhi on August 15. Full details of the route are available at the twitter handle @TGIR2022. Daily coverage of the run will also be visible on national TV and the national press. The culmination ceremony will be held in New Delhi on August 15th with Union Minister Jitendra Singh as Chief Guest.
India announce squad for Asia Cup 2022; Bumrah ruled out
The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Monday announced the 14-members squad for the upcoming Asia Cup. The much-anticipated Asia Cup cricket tournament will take place from August 27 this year. The 15th edition of the tournament will be played in the UAE between six teams (main event). Defending champions India are also the most successful team, having won the trophy seven times. While the last edition of the tournament was held in an ODI format, this edition will feature the T20 format.
The six teams are divided into two groups with India, Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A; and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan forming Group B. Each team plays the other once in the group stage with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Super 4 round. The top 2 teams from Super 4 will qualify for the final.
India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan.
The star pacer of India Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection owing to injuries. They are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru.
Three players – Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys.
Tennis legend Serena Williams announces retirement
American legend Serena Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, announced her retirement from tennis on Tuesday, saying she is “evolving away” from the sport. The 40-year-old tennis star said that the best word to describe what she is up to is “evolution” and that she wants to grow her family. “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Serena said in an article for Vogue magazine. Earlier this year, she was knocked out at Wimbledon in her first singles match. However, she has now set her eyes on the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun,” she said in the Vogue interview. She has been ranked singles world number one by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks.
She also finished as the year-end number one five times. Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the open era, and the second-most of all time, only behind Margaret Court’s 24.
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