London [UK], December 21 (ANI): Yorkshire County Cricket Club on Tuesday announced that it has entered into a partnership with the Pakistan Super League team, the Lahore Qalandars.
The partnership will include a player exchange programme to enable international players to learn from each other, starting with Haris Rauf joining Yorkshire as overseas player.
It will also include scholarships for young, aspiring players from Yorkshire travelling to, training, and playing in Lahore, including access to the Qalandars’ first-class facilities, as well as opportunities for young people from Pakistan to come to Yorkshire.
A friendly game between the two sides will also be played on January 16, 2022 in Lahore at the world famous Ghaddafi Stadium. The pairing of the two clubs aims to enable mutual learning, development, and support at all levels, and a commitment to develop more accessible pathways to cricket for aspiring players from all backgrounds across Yorkshire.
The Qalandars has set a strong precedent when it comes to executing effective player exchange programmes, with successful partnerships with several Australian Big Bash League teams, enabling a number of exchanged players to demonstrate their international pedigree.
The first iteration of this exchange programme will be the joining of Haris Rauf from the Qalandars to join Yorkshire County Cricket Club as its overseas professional for a period of the 2022 season.
Another key element of this partnership is an opportunity to learn from the Lahore Qalandars’ Players Development Program (PDP). The PDP was invented to engage young people in Pakistan and give a platform to young aspiring players to showcase their undiscovered talent. Each year the franchise shortlists over 150 players, provides them with kit bag essentials and gives them the opportunity to play a tournament which is broadcast nationally.
Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “The work the Lahore Qalandars do both on and off the pitch is remarkable and can serve as a benchmark for clubs around the world – ours included – for how best to spot, foster and support talent at all levels in the game of cricket.”
“The Players Development Program is an incredible achievement – breaking the mould for how teams can be created within our sport, and demonstrating that through offering access and support, great cricketing talent can be found from all backgrounds,” he added.
Darren Gough, interim Managing Director of Yorkshire Cricket: “I am thrilled to welcome the exceptionally talented Haris Rauf to our club. I am also excited by the opportunity to learn from the inspirational Players Development Program. I have spoken in the past about my passion for developing accessible pathways to cricket – for many people from a background like mine, cricket isn’t seen as an option, with the associated costs and access to facilities creating real barriers to entry. This partnership is an opportunity to take the blueprint the Qalandars has developed to such a success and work with them to define how that can be used to provide access for potential players from across Yorkshire.” (ANI)