Spectators at Port Melbourne Cricket Ground enjoyed competitive cricket in perfect weather from the 27th to 29th of December 2020, when Pakistan Cricket Association of Australia (PCAA) organised a Cricket Mela (event). The event consisted of a competition among four senior teams and a one-off match between U17 and U12 teams.
PCAA is a newly registered organisation with an aim to promote cricket as a healthy sport among the community and to provide opportunities to young players from Pakistani origin living in Australia. The organisation aims to guide and mentor young players, so that they are aware of the pathway to play higher levels of cricket in Australia. It also aims to develop professional skills related to cricket among interested community members.
The Association organised its first event in Port Melbourne Cricket Ground with support from the ground management and sponsors. The support from Cricket Victoria was invaluable to organise the event. As shared by one of the parents of U12 team, “its very exciting for me to see my son playing on such a beautiful ground at the start of his sporting career. We will all remember this day for a long time.”
The highlight of the senior competition between Lions, Tigers, Markhors and Eagles were the participation of premium cricket players and highly competitive matches. The event culminated on 29th December that began with a one off match between two U17s team; one U12s match and grand final between ‘Team Lions’ and ‘Team Markhors’, which the Team Lions won after a closely fought match. An impressive barefoot circle ceremony was organised before the grand final in support of the Indigenous people of Australia.
Many community members came to the ground on the final day of the competition and enjoyed the atmosphere and performance of players and teams. The participants and children enjoyed cultural food, a jumping castle and face painting. It was a memorable and exciting day towards the end of a challenging year and the participants enjoyed every moment of it.
The presentation ceremony ended the competition with officials from Cricket Victoria, Port Melbourne Cricket Club, Pakistan Cricket Association of Australia, Sponsors, Community leaders and Media representatives attending. Haseeb Qureshi was awarded the player of tournament award.
PCAA committee members expressed their gratitude and thanks to Rohail Akhtar, Emma Gallagher, Arvind Suresh from Cricket Victoria, Jason McNeice, Chris Sewell and Port Melbourne Cricket Club committee, Sponsors and community leaders for supporting PCAA and making this event memorable.