Crawley cricket organiser Azam Riyard recognised at national Asian Awards

Azam Riyard, middle, is presented with is Grassroots cricket award by Kent criicketer AzharMahmood and BBC Asian Network presenter Yasser SUS-151020-111129002

Azam Riyard, middle, is presented with is Grassroots cricket award by Kent criicketer AzharMahmood and BBC Asian Network presenter Yasser SUS-151020-111129002

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Crawley coach Azam Riyard was crowned the winner of the national Grassroots Award at the Asian Cricket Awards.

Riyard is pictured above being presented with his award by Pakistan international Azhar Mahmood, right, and BBC Radio Asian Network DJ Yasser.

“Azam has been harnessing the huge passion for cricket in those from an Asian background. Hundreds of youngsters are now participating in school and club cricket, who were not doing so before.”

Riyard is Sussex County Cricket Club’s Inclusion Officer and is developing community engagement programmes in Crawley.

The Asian Cricket Awards, supported by the ECB are a celebration of the contribution made to the sport by British Asian players, coaches and administrators.

The Grassroots Award recognises a project or person in an amateur club that has made a considerable difference using the power of cricket to support others.

Riyard said: “We are providing cricketing opportunities to kids free of charge through the Sussex Cricket In The Community Trust.

“We are looking to expand the programme into other areas of Sussex where cricket isn’t accessible.

“My dream is to see minorities producing a home-grown player representing Sussex. Players such as Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Monty Panesar.

Sussex’s head of cricket development Tim Shutt said: “It is wonderful to see more national recognition for those developing the game in Sussex.

Azam has been harnessing the huge passion for cricket in those from an Asian background.

“Hundreds of youngsters are now participating in school and club cricket, who were not doing so before.”

Azam is currently running Street 20 Sessions at Ifield Community College sports hall on Sundays from 4-5.30pm.

He added: “We are providing safe and competitive encouragement and are trying to find natural talent in Crawley’s secondary schools.”