ECB and England team sponsor Waitrose will be joining forces this weekend to promote grassroots cricket participation at the English Tamil Cricket League Festival (ETCL).
The festival, staged in Bushey, Hertfordshire on Sunday, June 29, is expected to attract more than 3,000 people and will include live music, food stalls and a 6-a-side cricket competition.
England cricketer Liam Plunkett will be among those attending and festival-goers will be able to have their picture taken with the Investec Test series trophy, test their cricketing skills in the Waitrose batting cage and take part in a range of other family-friendly activities.
ECB managing director of cricket partnerships Mike Gatting said: “The festival has become a hugely popular event since it was first launched four years ago and it’s a great opportunity for cricket lovers of all ages to get together and enjoy playing or watching the game with their family and friends.
“We’re delighted to be involved and our presence is all part of ECB’s wider efforts to engage more closely with South Asian communities and show support for thriving leagues like the ETCL which now boasts 16 teams and more than 1,000 players involved across the south east.
“We’ll also be encouraging festival-goers to complete our second National Cricket Playing Survey which is designed to give amateur cricketers an opportunity to give their views on grassroots cricket.
"Last year’s survey revealed that nearly one third of our participation base is drawn from ethnic minorities and we’re keen to get as much feedback as possible on our recreational game from all sections of the cricket community. “
Gopi Raj, general secretary and founder of the ETCL, added: “There will be something for everyone at this year’s festival from softball cricket for women and juniors through to a highly competitive adult six-a-side competition – plus non-stop music and a Caribbean-style atmosphere.
"Last year’s festival attracted more than 3,000 people and with the support of ECB and Waitrose, we are aiming to attract even more cricket-loving families and their friends this year.”
Waitrose’s head of marketing Rupert Ellwood said: “We're really excited to be a part of the festival. Since becoming England cricket team sponsor we have focused our support on helping to develop cricket in communities.
"Our shops across the country are supporting local ‘Club Open Days’ with food and volunteers, and we're donating money every time a 'four' or 'six' is scored by England in an international game for clubs to apply for and spend on facilities.
“This festival is an extension of that community activity and follows our support of the Team of the Year title in the Asian Cricket Awards. We want to help recognise the many fantastic and long established Asian cricket clubs nationwide which are deeply embedded in their local communities.”