Mojeid Ilyas’ love for the game of cricket began when he was a child, playing tape ball at the local parks with his brothers for hours on end.
He has now taken that passion and turned it into a Ramadan Tape Ball league to bring together people from all across the community, with the hopes of making cricket a more inclusive game in Wales.
Following recent controversies in cricket in the UK, Ilyas, who now serves as Cricket Wales’ Diverse Communities Development Officer, decided to set up the ‘Ramadan Cricket Festival’, a four-week tape ball tournament aimed at those who are fasting for Ramadan.
Ramadan is a Muslim religious festival, which involves fast between sunrise and sunset for an entire month as a means to reflect and grow spiritually.
Cricket Wales have been making important steps in this area in recent years.
Setting up late night free sessions in April at Sophia Gardens allowed Muslims who were observing Ramadan to play cricket after breaking their fast.
The commitment is to develop relations with the entire local community and make the first steps to building trust.
In turn, it’s hoped that more and more people start to get involved in the game in Wales.
Speaking about the new festival, Ilyas says: “I think it was a real success.
“We had about 45 to 50 people turn up, from all different ethnicities and cultures. Even people who are not from the Muslim community helped out and volunteered for us.
“When people are fasting, they don’t expect special treatment. But it’s nice for people around them to know about their situation, which will go a long way for these people.
“A lot of the issues stem from ignorance, not being aware of different people’s cultures and religions.
“It is that awareness about the reasons behind these decisions that will help allow cricket to become a more cohesive game going forward.”
Ilyas has been cricket-mad since playing on the fields in Cardiff’s Grangetown.
He started playing at the Welsh Asians Cricket Club, now called Llandaff Cricket Club, before going on to represent Wales Minor Counties and Cardiff MCCU.
Ilyas’ Ramadan Cricket Festival is not the first event of its kind. In fact, similar projects are already running in areas like Manchester and Birmingham where interest in cricket is high.