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Yorkshire Cricket inks a partnership with Lahore Qalandars

Young aspiring players will get scholarships from Yorkshire to travel to Lahore for training.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has inked a new deal with the Pakistan Super League team, Lahore Qalandars. The contract will have a player exchange programme that will allow international players to study from each other. Haris Rauf will be the first one as he joins Yorkshire as an overseas player.

Young aspiring players will get scholarships from Yorkshire to travel to Lahore for training. Players will also have access to the Qalandars’ first-class amenities, on the contrary, even Pakistani youngsters will get a chance to visit Yorkshire.

Due to the signing of this contract, Yorkshire County Cricket Club will get an opportunity to learn from Qalandars’ Players Development Program (PDP). 

The partnership between the two clubs aims to foster mutual learning and development. It also targets to create more accessible ways for budding players to make a huge name for themselves. 

With successful partnerships with several Australian Big Bash League teams, the Qalandars have set a strong precedent for executing effective player exchange programmes, allowing several exchanged players to validate their international pedigree.

Another important aspect of this collaboration is the opportunity to learn from the Lahore Qalandars’ Players Development Program (PDP). The PDP was created to involve the youth of Pakistan and to provide them with a platform to showcase their talent. Every year, the franchise selects over 150 players, provides them with sporting necessities and allows them to compete in a nationally televised tournament.

The PDP has engaged with just under 500,000 young people across Pakistan through cricket trials in over three years. The initiative has produced some of Pakistan’s most notable players as well as many who have progressed from without any formal cricket experience to playing in the Pakistan Super League.

Following last year’s Lahore Qalandars vs MCC match, the partnership between YCCC and Lahore Qalandars will be launched with a friendly game between the two sides on January 16 in Lahore. This game will give Yorkshire players the chance to meet their Qalandars counterparts and lay the groundwork for future years of knowledge sharing between the two clubs.

Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said, “The work the Lahore Qalandars do both on and off the pitch is remarkable and can serve as a benchmark for clubs around the world – ours included – for how best to spot, foster and support talent at all levels in the game of cricket.

“Over the coming months, this, coupled with scholarships and new opportunities and experiences for academy players, will represent an exciting step toward a Yorkshire County Cricket Club that is welcoming and supportive to all.”

Darren Gough, interim Managing Director of Yorkshire Cricket, “I am thrilled to welcome the exceptionally talented Haris Rauf to our club. I have spoken in the past about my passion for developing accessible pathways to cricket – for many people from a background like mine, cricket isn’t seen as an option, with the associated costs and access to facilities creating real barriers to entry. This partnership is an opportunity to take the blueprint the Qalandars has developed to such a success and work with them to define how that can be used to provide access for potential players from across Yorkshire.”

Sameen Rana, Chief Operating Officer, Lahore Qalandars, said, “We are incredibly proud of our Players Development Program and our wider team in Lahore. The Program has had an immensely positive impact on both our club and those involved. We are looking forward to working with Darren, Lord Patel and the team as they look to create an inclusive and welcoming culture for all at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

Aqib Javed, Director of Cricket, Lahore Qalandars, said, “The way in which we have worked and continue to work with clubs around the world when it comes to exchanging players should be a model that many clubs look to follow. It allows for increased diversity, the sharing of skills and expertise and all of these lead to positive cultures in which excellence thrives. We will welcome the Yorkshire team to Lahore in January with open arms and I am sure this is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership for both clubs.”

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