Volunteer Spotlight: Hank, Cricket
Hometown: Fulham, London
Is this your first Street Child World Cup?
No. So in September 2018 I saw an article in the MCC newsletter saying they were hosting the 2019 Street Child Cricket World Cup.
I’d never heard of the Street Child Cricket World Cup so I emailed the newsletter, they directed me to Street Child United and it went from there. I met them in January the following year, where they said they wanted volunteers with cricket experience – I said that’s me, I’ll be there! I’ve only done the cricket Street Child World Cups; cricket is my passion, I always played it as a child, I played at school, at home, I now watch a lot of cricket…
"Cricket, cricket, cricket..."
Funnily enough in 1990 myself and 3 school chums of mine we went out to Pakistan and India where we all played street cricket. In 2005 I returned to India – staying in Udaipur – where they wanted us to go visit a palace. I said I’ve done that, so I wandered about on my own and ended up playing street cricket again – couldn’t have been more fun.
And across your three visits to India, has the country changed?
India has transformed. India was a great place to visit in 1990 but lacked the infrastructure of more developed countries. Now it is a vibrant society with a huge middle class. I work in aircraft insurance and in my first visit, there were just two airlines (the domestic and the international carriers), now there’s at least seven mainline airlines. I remember arriving at Delhi airport in 1990 and it was fairly rundown; this time I flew into Mumbai and it was a brand new terminal, like in any European country. Same goes for Chennai.
What made you want work with Street Child United, outside of your passion for cricket?
I’m a strong believer that team sport for children is not only a great opportunity to get out and have some physical exercise but also helps them understand winning and losing, i.e competition, which happens in life. Doing this with children who get less opportunities is such a brilliant thing. They have such a passion for cricket. Sometimes we are taught that everybody is a winner but unfortunately that is not a reality. Expending their energy on cricket means they will strive for more.
What’s your role at the event?
I’m looking after team Bangladesh, who are absolutely terrific. Forhad who I met in England during the 2019 Street Child Cricket World Cup has brought another team over, Sopna as well who played in that tournament is now part of the Street Child United Young Leader programme, here with Bangladesh in Chennai. One of the great things about coming to a second Street Child Cricket World Cup is you get to meet the people from the first tournament – that just makes it so special to see them again.
In addition to looking after team Bangladesh, I am involved in the cricket. When I approached Street Child United I said I’m probably not good at Congress, can’t do media and I certainly can’t draw, but I can play cricket, coach cricket and be enthusiastic about cricket. Basically I said I’m in for cricket, cricket, cricket.
On the opening day, I’m going to explain the significance of ringing the bell – a tradition taking from Lord’s – that will be replicated here at the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023 to mark the commencement of play.
For you, what’s the best part about the Street Child World Cup?
That’s tough, just one part? John Wroe (founder of Street Child United) actually asked me this question at dinner earlier this week… if there’s one thing I take away from the two Street Child Cricket World Cup’s I’ve been to is the noise. Enthusiasm, the noise, the cheering, the whooping, the sheer joy. It’s hard to choose just one thing, but it’s the noise that makes the whole tournament for me.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Married to a lovely wife and we have two lovely daughters, Alice and Bella. Mind you, I ran the London Marathon in 1987.
In your opinion, what’s the greatest moment in cricket history?
Eoin Morgan lifting the 2019 Cricket World Cup trophy for England at Lord’s. I was there as a member of the MCC. When the 2023 Street Child Cricket World Cup is finished, I’m actually flying to Ahmedabad to watch England take on New Zealand in their first game defending their trophy at the 2023 Cricket World Cup in the biggest sports stadium in the world, 132,000 people!