MCC Foundation introduces Young Ambassadors

Posted: 1 February 2021

The MCC Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of five Young Ambassadors who will support the charity’s drive to make cricket a game for all.

Each of the newly appointed Young Ambassadors share the Foundation’s commitment to transform lives through cricket and improve diversity in the game.

Their own experiences highlight the importance of the Foundation’s work and offer a source of inspiration for the Foundation’s young beneficiaries.

The Young Ambassadors will be immersed in the Foundation’s work on a practical level, interacting with the charity’s beneficiaries as much as possible, and sharing their experiences and expertise to support the organisation’s strategy.

"The appointment of our Young Ambassadors allows us both to celebrate their achievements and to inspire others through their leadership"

Speaking about the new roles, MCC Foundation Director, Dr Sarah Fane OBE said: “MCC Foundation is passionate about supporting young people and inspiring them to do great things with their lives. The appointment of our Young Ambassadors allows us both to celebrate their achievements and to inspire others through their leadership.

“It is wonderful for us to have these individuals at the forefront of the Foundation as we strive to make cricket a game for all.”

With the Foundation’s nationwide cricket Hubs programme delayed by Covid-19, it will instead be launching an exciting Virtual Hub in the next few weeks. This online resource will be a lifeline for young cricketers aged 11-15, providing a wealth of resources to promote fitness and well-being. These Young Ambassadors will contribute workout videos, cricket drills and share their own inspiring stories, hoping to encourage more young people to stay active during lockdown.

The five Young Ambassadors will complement the role of the Foundation’s existing line up of illustrious Patrons: Mike Atherton OBE, Mike Brearley OBE, Stephen Fry, Mike Gatting OBE, Michael Holding, and Claire Taylor MBE.

MCC Foundation’s five new Young Ambassadors are Ajmal Shahzad, Cordelia Griffith, Harry Savill, Mumtaz Habib and Will Gaffney.

About the new Young Ambassadors:

Ajmal Shahzad is a former professional cricketer who made his first-class debut in 2004 as the first British-born Asian to have ever represented Yorkshire. During his playing career, he represented England across all formats of the game, notably featuring in the 2010-11 Ashes series, the 2010 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup in India.

After stepping away from the playing side of the game in 2016, he embarked on a successful cricket coaching career, including Head Coach of MCC.

“I’m honoured and extremely proud to be an Ambassador of the MCC Foundation. I hope to share my journey and experiences with young budding cricketers across the UK and inspire them on their own journeys.

"It’s a dream come true to be able to give back to the communities that have supported and rallied us on, and also give back to the game that has given us so much.”

"I hope to inspire and empower the next generation of young cricketers, from all backgrounds, to believe in themselves and their dreams and to unlock their full potential in the game"

Cordelia Griffith is a professional cricketer playing for the Sunrisers and Middlesex CCC, and she will represent Manchester Originals in The Hundred this year. She started her cricketing journey at Essex, making her debut for the Women’s 1st XI at the age of 13, before taking on the captaincy in 2016.

She has also been involved in the England Women’s Pathway, having first been selected for the Under-17s tour to South Africa, aged only 13. Griffith represented and captained the England Under-19s squad, and also played for the England Women’s Senior Academy for a number of years, including in international fixtures against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

In 2016, she made the decision to withdraw from the England pathway to focus on her legal studies at University College, Durham. She started her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in January 2021, studying alongside her professional contracts.

I am delighted and honoured to be joining the MCC Foundation as a Young Ambassador. The outstanding work of the Foundation, both in the UK through its regional hubs and abroad, has transformed the lives of so many young people across the world, proving that cricket can be accessed and enjoyed by all irrespective of social and financial barriers.

This is a cause very close to my heart, and as a Young Ambassador I hope to inspire and empower the next generation of young cricketers, from all backgrounds, to believe in themselves and their dreams and to unlock their full potential in the game.”

Harry Savill is a Senior Account Manager at M&C Saatchi World Services, working on behavioural change and social impact campaigns in East Africa and the Middle East. With a keen interest in sport, Harry is also a freelance sportswriter and has been published in The Guardian, The Times and The Independent.

Savill recently took part in a global UN consultation which aimed at tackling violent extremism through sport, and has previously acted as a communications adviser for charity, Afghan Connection. He will be advising the MCC Foundation on their communications strategy over the coming years.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the MCC Foundation family. Through its domestic hubs and projects abroad, the Foundation is making a tangible difference to people’s lives all over the world, nurturing talent and providing a safe space for people of all backgrounds to enjoy the glorious sport of cricket. I hope in my role as a Young Ambassador I can help amplify that tireless work and promote the Foundation’s services to those who most need it.”

"The MCC Foundation is the perfect platform to help anyone pursue their passion for cricket and develop their skills"

Mumtaz Habib is a British Diplomat at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office focused on the Middle East and South East Asia.  

He came to the UK at the age of 14 as a refugee from Afghanistan. Shortly after his arrival, he learned to play cricket at Harrow Town CC. After showing promise, he was awarded a scholarship to Harrow School, before studying at Durham University where he represented Durham UCCE for three years. Habib was the first Afghan to represent Harrow School at Lord’s against Eton, and the second Afghan born player to play first-class cricket.  

In addition to cricket, Habib is passionate about girls’ education in Afghanistan, and has been involved with the charities Afghan Connection and the Afghan Appeal Fund.  

“The MCC Foundation is the perfect platform to help anyone pursue their passion for cricket and develop their skills. I am excited to have this chance to share my love of the game and contribute to building the next generation of cricketers. Cricket has played a huge role in shaping who I am today, and I hope sharing my experiences will enable other young people to benefit from the game and community as I have.”

Will Gaffney is a grassroots and village cricketer who has also enjoyed the opportunity to play at a higher level. During a cricket tour to Sri Lanka he saw first-hand the enormous impact that cricket can have on the lives of those less fortunate than himself.

In 2020, aged 15, he founded Bat For A Chance, a young and exciting cricket charity which provides kit to underprivileged players across the world, and helps to grow the game more widely. Bat For A Chance has a mission to bring smiles to players, offering an escape from hardship through the game. The charity has already provided kit for cricketers in Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies, and are supporting the MCC Foundation’s projects in the UK and overseas.

“On a personal level, it is a huge honour to be offered this chance to work with an inspirational team of Young Ambassadors and to present even more children with opportunities and smiles through cricket. My appointment as a Young Ambassador for the MCC Foundation will also have a great impact on Bat For A Chance. It will help to raise our profile and build awareness around our cause, and will reinforce the already strong ties we have forged with the MCC Foundation.”


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