Groundbreaking, Bridge-building, Stereotype-shattering,Tasmanian cricket competition about to turn 5

(Hurricanes Champions league 20-21 Captains & leaders)

Five years ago a small group of friends decided to launch an experiment in community building through cricket, five years later the Intercultural Sports League 20/20 competition has gained national prominence as a model of what is possible.

President of ICSL, Raj Chopra, says “Our vision always was to create a platform for people from various Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities to interact and feel part of the broader community through sport.”

The ICSL competition was the focus of a short but powerful SBS documentary released last year (“sidelines”) that followed the journey of a working-class white Australian team, the Derwent Scorpions, as they interacted with players from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.

The competition has grown from 6 founding teams to a competition that has had to draw the line at 14 teams because of the facilities available. Some teams are made up of people from different cultural backgrounds while proudly representing their nations including Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The captain of one of the teams (the Annapurna Stars), Surinder Singh Manral says “We are proud to be part of ICSL from past 5 years and every year we look forward to the summer season. I would also like to congratulate the ICSL team for creating such a vibrant platform for people to come together.”

The General Manager of Community Cricket for Cricket Tasmania, Ben Smith, says “Cricket Tasmania has supported ICSL since its inception and will continue to work with ICSL team to bring more sustainability and ways for more people from CALD communities to play and participate in Cricket.”

The Director of Cricket for Glenorchy Cricket Club, Simon Stebbings, says “Glenorchy Cricket Club are very proud to be involved with the ICSL for the 5th year. Our partnership has allowed us to leverage a joint love of cricket to bring communities together. It has also provided opportunities for many multicultural cricketers to participate in Premier League Cricket at our club.”

Maintaining harmony among the different groups has not always been easy, however gradually a very positive culture has emerged that results in many more benefits than just the chance to play sport.

The Head Coach of the Margate Cricket Club and supporter of the competition, Eric Monaghan, says, “The ICSL in the five years since its establishment has provided for all its participants an opportunity to assimilate into society, meet new people, make friends and share in a cricket passion common to the many different walks of life that are involved. They have tried to create an opportunity for all residents of Southern Tasmania to be part of a cricket competition that promotes participation, fair play and inclusiveness. All involved deserve to be congratulated for all their efforts in making the ICSL cricket competition one that has so many positive outcomes.”

With all that this year has meant, and with the challenges that have faced people with families overseas, ICSL has chosen to highlight mental health coping strategies and resources for everyone involved. Raj says, “Mental health remains an uncomfortable topic in many CALD communities and we see that we have a chance to open an important conversation.”

The CEO of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, Connie Digolls, says “The Mental Health Council is proud to support the Intercultural Sports League’s upcoming cricket tournament, and their focus this season on the importance of checking-in on your own mental health and wellbeing, and the mental health of those close to you.”

“Mental health and wellbeing matters to all Tasmanians and is particularly important for people from diverse backgrounds at the moment, with many being away from their friends and family during this uncertain time. The Mental Health Week theme “We all have a role to play”, which ICSL have adopted as the theme for their tournament, acknowledges that as a community we can all be actively doing things every day to check-in on and support our own mental health and wellbeing, and the mental health of those close to us.”

Raj says “We are amazed at the success of ICSL over the last five years. It clearly met a big need. We believe the level of cooperation and bridge-building in this cricket competition is ground-breaking and something that all Tasmanians can also be proud of.”

The season will be launched on 3rd October at KG-5 OVAL FROM 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm and a big launch is planned for October. We would be please to arrange other media availabilities on request.

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Raj Chopra President of the Intercultural Sports League 0405 668 155

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