CRICKET proved itself the diplomat extraordinaire when the ACS Wandering XI played a team from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) on November 22.
A spirited ACS Wandering XI team with captain Mark Browning at the helm played the inaugural match against the ASRC XI at the East Malvern CC Lucas Oval turf wicket.
The ASRC XI were recruited through the Centre in Footscray and included players from, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and team co-ordinator and captain/coach, Dave Cameron.
Dave is an ASRC volunteer who had the pleasure of claiming victory for his team after they posted a healthy 175 all out after 38 overs in the 40 overs a side format.
Some lusty late order hitting from the ASRC wicketkeeper, Mehfooz, and a stout partnership between opener, Abdul Razzaq, and number three, Israr, helped the Refugees post a total the ACS could not surpass.
A bemused Browning was on the receiving end of some sizzling shots from Mehfooz who clubbed multiple boundaries off one of the skipper’s overs which prompted the rueful question at the end of the over: “Would anyone like to bowl, anyone?”
As always at Wandering XI games the banter was thick and fast before and after the match and rumour had it that the mighty Mehfooz was a good friend of Pakistan cricket legend, Shahid “Boom Boom” Afridi, and that he had wielded an Afridi bat!
There was plenty of camraderie during and after the match and one of the debutant ASRC team members from Zambia, even let slip that his cricket skills were acquired from hours of watching matches on TV!
Despite a modest contribution to his team’s score he vowed there would be more games of cricket to come.
The ACS did find a couple of accomplished cricketers who both bowled and batted with aplomb.
Father and son combination, Mike and Vince Delaney, made the ACS chase competitive despite some scintillating fast bowling spearheaded by Hamed and Iqi
Footnote: The umpire, Kevin Grant, aka the Duke of Rayleigh, was a cricketing Englishman on holiday and good friend of Mark Browning’s so it was a day of cosmopolitan cricket enjoyed by all involved.