Hamidullah Qadri arrived in the UK at the age of 10 as a refugee from Afghanistan. His love of cricket meant he was playing for his local first team within two years, and he has since become Derbyshire's youngest first-class player, making his debut in June 2017. He is the first player born in this millennium to appear in the County Championship, and is the ambassador for Spirit of 2012’s Breaking Boundaries project.
I lived in Afghanistan until 2011, when I moved with my family to Derby. I joined my local cricket club where I met people of all different skins, different religions, different backgrounds. The thing we had in common was cricket. I loved every minute of playing for that club, and I made some friends for life.
Since then, cricket has taken me to some amazing places. I’ve been very proud to make the first team of my local club, then my county team, then the national squad. I hope to play for England next year if I continue to work hard and perform well.
Cricket helped me make new friends when I first arrived in the UK. Now, as Breaking Boundaries’ ambassador, I want to give something back, especially to the community that helped me.
I’m really excited that the project will provide youngsters with opportunities to enjoy cricket or even to progress into playing the game at a high level. I learned how to spin a cricket ball by watching YouTube videos – playing the game with friends, and in facilities close to home, will definitely help young players improve their game.
But Breaking Boundaries is mostly about getting people together, so that they make new friends like I did through playing, or by just watching the sport. 2019 will be a huge year for cricket – and for me. It’s the first time in 20 years that the ICC World Cup has come to England.
Everyone I know is so excited – and there’s a huge opportunity to excite people and get a real buzz going. The Breaking Boundaries team will be building on that, using young champions to lead projects that will make a real difference to their communities.
I’m proud to be an ambassador for this project. I believe it can change lives, bringing people together from different backgrounds and cultures who share a love of cricket, to realise they share much more in common too. Sport has the power to do that.
I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of young people across the country who are engaging with the project. I want them to see me as a role model, and to think about what they can achieve and how far they can go.
Bring on the World Cup!
To find out more about Breaking Boundaries, click here.