Meet Dharmika on International Women's Day
On International Women’s Day, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, in partnership with the ECB, wanted to highlight an inspirational figure in the women's game within the county. Meet Dharmika Patel - Community Team Chance to Shine coach and soft ball player.
Read on for Dharmika's story.
“Not everyone is a great cricketer, but they want to take part and better themselves. That’s what it’s all about for me. We want more women to play cricket.”
I work full time in customer service but in my spare time I play cricket.
I volunteered first to see how much I would enjoy giving back to the community, after a little while Leicestershire County Cricket Club approached me to see if I would like to take the next steps into cricket and become a qualified cricket coach.
I’m now a level 2 qualified cricket coach for Leicestershire County Cricket Club and work on the Chance to Shine-street girls programme, running sessions on a Sunday. I know there’s a lot of children out there who don’t get the opportunity, so I thought if I can make that change, then why not help make it happen?
South Asians are an important audience for cricket. With me being a female coach, I believe it brings more women into the game. From a cultural perspective, some people will only take part if it is women only.
I got into cricket by playing in the Street Starz indoor league which has been running for 5 years and organised by Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
It’s soft ball cricket throughout the winter – one of my friends first organised it and suggested we go along. My sister came along too – she loves it so much she has gone on to play outdoor cricket as well.
I’m sticking with the winter league; this is my fifth season and I’ll be captain this year. We play at Madani High School and every week we have a team of eight, ranging from teenagers to mums. I am an all-rounder, but I enjoy bowling most of all.
With me it’s about encouraging more people to play and meeting new people. I really like to be a part of the community that goes along with it.
I’ve recently got my mum to come down, now she’s playing in the league with us. We have now entered Street Starz into the East Midlands Women’s Cricket League which will be playing Super 8s and Soft ball. This is thanks to Leicestershire County Cricket Club supporting the women in making this move into league cricket
Not everyone is a great cricketer, but they want to take part and better themselves. That’s what it’s all about for me. We want more women to play cricket.
I enjoy Bolly Cric-Hit, which is 45-minutes of bhangra fitness, followed by soft ball cricket. I go every week.
Last summer we took a team from Leicester and represented England in the Criiio Cup in Trafalgar Square, organised by the ICC. It was a brilliant day and an amazing crowd. We were learning new forms of cricket from different countries and playing in mixed teams. There was a huge variety of people there – we even tried Brazilian cricket, with four players a side.
I think International Women’s Day helps us recognise what is going on around us in society and our community, whilst creating equal opportunities for women.
I feel we are getting there slowly with women’s cricket. I see it as an encouraging environment, with more people bringing their family members and friends down to share the fun.
To find out more about Bolly Cric-Hit and other opportunites for women to participate in cricket, contact the LCCC Community Team by calling 0116 2442198 or email email@example.com
Click HERE to learn more about the new 2020 membership