I am proud to launch my Next Generation Cricket Development Programme. I am delighted to have the support of Babington Community College as the lead school for my Programme.
As a young lad I attended Willesden High, a state school in North West London. I was disinterested in school and found it difficult to communicate with teachers – with one outstanding exception - my Games Master Mr Ellis Williams (who sadly passed away recently). I owe everything to Ellis, who supported me, encouraging me and helped me to believe in myself. Without him, nobody would have ever heard of Phillip Defreitas as an England cricketer.
At Willesden we had no facilities apart from a dodgy artificial wicket and a couple of useless nets on a concrete base. However, during the winter Ellis arranged for us to have professional cricket coaching and this made all the difference. Chris Lewis attended the same school and having two of us from the same state school to represent England was unheard of. It had never been done before, and it hasn't happened since - but through my Programme I believe it will happen again.
Why the need for my Next Generation Cricket Development Programme?
- Currently, there is little support for cricket in the state school sector, especially in inner-city schools.
- The facilities for cricket are poor or non-existent in most state schools. It is particularly difficult for city schools to provide these facilities.
- Many underprivileged children, especially those with an Asian heritage are passionate about cricket.
- My Programme will provide opportunities for children both during and after school. Not only will this improve their cricket, it will enrich their lives.
- After school activities are important to keep many children out of trouble and off the streets.
- Inter-school competition will develop skills by competing against the best.
- We will narrow the gap in cricket between state and private schools. Cricket has always been well supported in the private sector.
How will the Next Generation Cricket Development Programme achieve its goals?
- By enrolling state schools on to the Programme, initially in Leicestershire. We will particularly target inner-city schools and under privileged children.
- By providing regular weekly coaching, using qualified cricketing coaches headed by myself.
- We supply all necessary cricket equipment and safety clothing.
- An inter-school cricket league will be established.
- The Programme will be led by a sports specialist school of excellence – Babington Community College.
Opinion of the Principal of Babington Community College.
“Cricket displays the power of teamwork and recognises the efforts of the individual - meaning all who are involved are valued.
This Cricketing Programme looks to bring together the progress of grass roots cricket and the empowerment of learners, especially those new arrivals from the Asian subcontinent.
The programme will help to embrace the cultural diversity of the college, engage young people with the best values of British culture whilst promoting skills such as resilience and leadership. It will motivate our students and give them both the drive and ambition to be the best they can be. As most of the skills are transferable, we feel that it will enhance the progress of our learners.
This is powerful on two fronts, firstly in the pursuit of talented cricketers and the development of those who will be committed to cricket through life and secondly in helping establish confident learners who will go on to be successful in all walks of life.”