Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Parliamentary Cricket World Cup: MPs from England to Pakistan leave behind political slog for hitting sixes

Pakistan MPs are favourites in England tournament, but Bangladesh is bolstered by a former Test captain

Legislators from around the cricketing world gathered in London on Tuesday to play a few overs and leave their political troubles behind - but for some, the hope of a break from the stresses of their day jobs proved elusive.

At least two of the eight teams in the first Inter Parliamentary Cricket World Cup found politics following them to the competition in London.

The English team - perhaps inevitably - had to work its timetable around Brexit debates, while Pakistan's players were scolded on social media for travelling abroad to play cricket during a period of austerity.

"I just love cricket - it’s a game that brings so many different people together," said Chris Heaton-Harris, a British MP who organised the tournament.

The event aimed to promote relationships between the parliamentarians and to celebrate the 2019 Cricket World Cup taking place in England and Wales.

The four-day tournament began with MPs from England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan taking to the field.

Most of the players were enthusiastic amateurs but one - Naimur Rahman from Bangladesh - was the first Test captain of his national side.

"It’s really difficult here because when you captain the national team everyone knows the fielding positions, batting orders and position names," he said.

"Here ... it's not so easy."

In a six-overs-a-side warm-up day, varying levels of skill were on display, ranging from brilliant strokes to ignominious dropped catches.

Taking a break from the World Cup proper to support their politicians, body-painted Bangladeshi fans made lots of noise and waved their national flags.

As for who will lift the trophy, Mr Heaton-Harris said Pakistan have been in training camps for quite some time with their national coach and he fancied their chances.

Every day the players will travel to different cricket clubs around London, with the final taking place at Beckenham, an outground for Kent County Cricket Club on Friday

Updated: July 10, 2019 02:30 PM