HOW ONE MAN IS USING CRICKET TO INTEGRATE MUSLIM CHILDREN INTO MAINSTREAM AUSTRALIA
Dr. Masud Rahman was just a boy when he fell in love with cricket, a sport which, in stark contrast to today, was not popular in Bangladesh nor financially viable for Masud until he reached adulthood.
In 2014, Masud created the Canberra Cricket Academy (CCA) as a platform to offer young local Muslim children the opportunities that were not available to him as a child.
Masud is passionate about integrating Muslim children into mainstream Australia, particularly young girls as they’re mostly restricted due to a conservative-cultural mindset.
Working with first generation Australian children in Canberra, the academy seeks to create a pathway for individuals with basic skills to develop into high-performance players.
Campaigning through his Muslim community, a community mostly made up of sub-continental parents who place more of a focus on school than outdoor activities, Masud said it’s often the boys that are the first to start cricket but he’s advocating for more girls to step forward.
“The girls enjoy my way of coaching and although I only get two or three girls in the academy each year, it’s still more than ever before in the community.
“The Australian women's cricket community is strong at the moment and with the same ability as the men, a big future lies ahead for females in the sport,” he said.
Known for his unconventional coaching methods, Masud focuses on enhancing the natural ability of a player, with a secondary focus on technique as a means of producing unique players for Australia.
“I don't like to push them to change their own style. They don't have to follow someone, they have to play at their own ability within themselves so that we can get something different, a new type of player.
“In Australia, players are coached from an early age so they lose their basic instinct, whereas in Bangladesh, there is no coaching or very minimal coaching at the lowest level so the kids don’t lose their natural ability.”
The CCA coaching begins in March and runs through the winter months to ensure the players are ready for the start of the cricket season.
The CCA is currently a semi-volunteer run organisation, offering both free and paid sessions to cover costs of paid coaches, however, players are supplied with equipment, funded personally by Masud.
Looking ahead, Masud’s ultimate goal is to develop a youth and sports centre within his community and to encourage more girls to give cricket a go.
Masud Rahman’s story is part of Cricket Australia’s Community Champion initiative that aims to share the stories of local heroes making cricket a great game for all. Know someone whose story deserves to be told? Nominate your Community Champion via.