SOME of Shepparton’s newest young residents met with international cricket royalty last week when former Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan led a clinic for migrant children at Princess Park.
More than 50 youngsters attended the session, hosted by the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District and the Shepparton/Youth Club United Cricket Club, which was designed to introducing new migrant children to one of the country’s favourite sports.
The Ethnic Council’s strategic engagement coordinator, Sam Atukorala, said the clinic was the perfect opportunity to get young kids involved in organised sport.
“There were many newly-arrived kids from non-cricketing communities, which was great to see,” he said.
“And there’s some real talent there, there are some good players and a mix of kids from different communities.”
Tillakaratne Dilshan captained his country in all three formats of the game and is often regarded as one of the most innovative ODI batsmen of all time. His presence alone on Friday drew a crowd, particularly among older generation cricket fans who posed for selfies with the star.
The 44-year old now plays Premier Cricket for Casey South-Melbourne after settling in Melbourne’s outer suburbs after a 17-year international career.
Long-time local cricketer and member of the 1988 Aboriginal Cricket Tour of England, Greg
James, attended the clinic and performed a Welcome to Country.
He said it was a great initiative to use high-profile players to inspire and attract kids into the game.
“If you start at an early age and get them engaged, it’s a great way to get them excited about cricket,” he said.
“It was great to see so many people down there from different backgrounds.”