I may lose my life for saying this but I’m not the biggest cricket fan in the world. I used to love the game and had a book of autographs filled with all of the major England, Pakistan and India players, because in those days we didn’t have selfie sticks or even mobile phones!

But without a doubt cricket is treated like a religion by so many and I have seen countless women pray and promise to fast if their team wins a match. It was lovely to meet with a number of men involved in the cricket scene in the UK.

In the first half I was joined by Jas Jasal the co-founder of the Asian Cricket Awards and Qasim Ali. Qasim is also the Head Coach of the England physical disability squad and has also been key in leading on the Club’s programmes for cricketers with disabilities.

Jas spoke about the importance of recognising talent across the board in cricket. Both men actually began their careers in football and moved to cricket with a passion and both believe that there is under-representation in the mainstream cricket teams of young Asian men and women, which needed to change. Qasim also spoke about various schemes and facilities to people with disabilities that had been approved by The ECB (England Cricket board).

In the second half I was joined by Shaidul Ratan a former Bangladesh cricket player and national coach. He is the only British Bangladeshi ECB Level 3 coach. A leading cricket charity, Capital Kids Cricket brought him over to the UK to inspire, develop and grow cricket in East London. He is an inspirational Asian who has been making a huge impact through his skills, knowledge and experience to Asian communities particularly in London over the past 6 years. Joining him on the Zee Companion sofa was Gulfraz Riaz interim development manager of the CCC and takes day-to-day charge of CCC operations and future plans.

Shaidul spoke about his experience playing cricket in the streets on Bangladesh, with very little facilities and formal training and then going on to be selected to play for his country. He said that in the UK people had so many facilities but he and Gulfraz both were of the belief that only children who went to “private schools” were given serious training when it came to sport and progressing professionally.

I disagree with this. I went to private school all my life and admittedly I have played a LOT of sports, although I may not look like I did now. However I also know people my age and younger who went to state Schools and have gone on to play pro-golf, pro-rugby, cricket and other sports. When I asked Shaidul about his education, he said there was no “private education” in Bangladesh in his day, which in a way proves my point.

Personally I believe that where there is a will to do something, such as play professional cricket you will always find a way. However I do agree with all gentlemen that one needs to be determined, passionate and focused to excel forward. However we need to see more people from the sub-Indian continent enter pro cricket and diversity needs to be encouraged from the top down.