Maryam Ali

Inspirational cricket coach Maryam is introducing the sport to the next generation of female cricketers in Yorkshire.

Not only that but she’s bringing the sport to an entirely new audience. The ECB Level Two coach is running girl-only sessions across the county, taking the sport into inner-city venues in Bradford and Leeds.

Firmly believing that Asian girls need a safe space to express their cricket ability, Maryam, 21, has transformed the coaching available for girls, and the aspiring players she has worked with are embracing her message.

“Where I live, it’s hard for young girls to go out and their parents trust them with what they’re doing and what they’re getting up to,” she says.

“I’ve built that trust with some of the girls’ parents to let their daughters come out and play cricket.”

Maryam admits that introducing cricket to a traditionally hard-to-reach section of society brings with it a range of challenges – but she has proved that there’s not only a real appetite for the game in the Muslim community in Bradford and Leeds but also a huge untapped pool of talent.

Now in her second year at Leeds Beckett University, where she is training to be a teacher, Maryam hopes to play her role in revolutionising women’s cricket in the community.

“There are more and more women coaches out there doing excellent jobs, particularly Muslim cricket coaches wearing the scarf,” she says.

“In the past it wasn’t normal to see female coaches from the Muslim community but the feedback I’ve got has been great.

"A few of the fathers have thanked me and told me to keep up the good work. I would like to think that I’ve had an impact.

"I would also hope that we get to the stage when we see more and more British-Asian female cricketers coming through to the very highest level.”

Maryam’s work extends beyond the sessions she runs.

She also provides feedback to girls in her classes electronically, enabling her to interact remotely with the players.

The success of the England women’s team has already gone a long way to raising the profile of the sport and encourage soaring participation levels throughout the country.

Now Maryam is busy ensuring that it touches cricket lovers everywhere.

Maryam’s work is a brilliant example of the power of sport to have a positive impact on the wider community. She is inspiring young people and breaking down boundaries. An amazing role model.Pride of Sport judges

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