How one man is using cricket to ensure muslim children feel included

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Canberra Cricket Academy training session 

Dr. Masud Rahman, 45, was just a boy when he fell in love with cricket, a sport which in stark contrast to today, was not popular in Bangladesh or accessible for Masud until he reached adulthood.

Now living in Australia, Masud created the Canberra Cricket Academy (CCA) in 2014 that he uses as a platform to offer young local Muslim children opportunities that were not available to him as a child.

Masud is passionate about inclusion and through the CCA, works to ensure Muslim children feel integrated into Australian society, particularly young girls.

Working with first generation Australian children in Canberra, the academy seeks to create a pathway for all individuals with basic skills to develop into high-performance players.

Masud Rahman coaching a young player during a CCA training session. 

Campaigning through his community – made up of mostly parents from the sub-continent who place more of a focus on school than outdoor activities – Masud said it’s often the boys that are the first to start cricket but he’s advocating for more girls to step forward.

“The girls enjoy my style of coaching and although I only get two or three girls in the academy each year, it’s still more than ever before in the community,” said Masud

“The Australian women’s cricket community is strong at the moment and with the same ability as the men, a big future lies ahead for females in the sport.”

Known for his unorthodox coaching methods, Masud focuses on enhancing the natural ability of a player, with a secondary focus on technique.

“I don’t like to push them to change their own style. They don’t have to follow someone, they have to play at their own ability within themselves so that we can get something different, a new type of player.

In Australia, players are coached from an early age so they lose their basic instinct, where in Bangladesh, there is no coaching or very minimal coaching at the lowest level so the kids don’t lose their natural ability.”

CCA coaching begins in March and runs through the winter months to ensure the players are ready for the start of the cricket season.

The CCA is currently a semi-volunteer run organisation, offering both free and paid sessions to cover costs of paid coaches, however, players are supplied with equipment, funded personally by Masud.

Looking ahead, Masud’s ultimate goal is to develop a youth and sports centre within his community and to encourage more girls to give cricket a go.

Masud Rahman’s story is part of Cricket Australia’s Community Champion initiative that aims to share the stories of local heroes making cricket a great game for all. Know someone whose story deserves to be told? Nominate your Community Champion here