How Flicx helped bring cricket to the land of miracles … Israel case study by Herschel Gutman

Israel is known as a land of miracles, and the survival of cricket in the Holy Land must surely rate as one of those miracles. The odds have always been heavily stacked against the game, yet cricket has endured and even flourished despite lacking adequate playing surfaces, equipment and financial backing.

After the British left in 1948, their local successors somehow managed to keep the game going in the fledgling State, though little is documented. On July 23rd, 1974, Israel was accepted as an Associate Member of the International Cricket Conference, now known as the International Cricket Council, with Pakistan the only cricket nation voting against our membership.

Cricket has grown in Israel since the launch of the Junior Development Program. The program received a major boost when two Flicx cricket pitches were delivered to Israel – this ensured that the game had two new playing areas in the middle of the country. This was and still is vital to the future of the game in these parts of the world.

The Flicx products are perfect for the conditions here. After each game, it takes us about 5 minutes to roll the pitch up and move it to our storage room adjacent to the field. We share the field with the Israel Athletic Association and Maccabi Tel Aviv football, so we can not put anything permanent down.

Shesadeh Salamin - part of the Cricket 4 Peace project

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

About 6 years ago, the Israel Cricket Association launched the cricket4peace project and cross border cricket. These projects help to bring the Palestinian youngsters and Israeli youngsters together once a month to learn about each others culture, language and of course cricket. The projects could not have taken place without the help of the UK based Flicx cricket office. Playing in conditions that often resembles a dry sandy desert – we needed a surface that would have a good bounce and be easy to move around. Flicx assisted us with these projects and played a major part in the Israel Cricket Association being awarded the Global ICC spirit of Cricket award and also the European Cricket Spirit of Cricket Award.

In the summer of last year, we purchased two more Flicx surfaces and have spread them around the country – this is the only way that we can play proper cricket without having to spend thousands of dollars.  The pitches are used in all our major adult leagues and is the main reason why we can host the Maccabiah Games every 4 years – without it, we would have no facilities.

“You can not put a price on what the Flicx pitch has done for cricket in Israel – it is without a doubt the best investment that we have made.”

Thank you Flicx! You have been brilliant for us over the last decade. Here is hoping we are able to get more of your pitches down to these parts of the world this next year!

With very many thanks to Herschel Gutman for writing this blog – Herschel used to work for the ICA and picked up ICC Europe coach of the year in 2013. He has now set up his own private coaching business and he has developed a team of coaches to deliver cricket in schools in Israel and their junior program is thriving.

The night league he started is also doing very well with 17 teams. There are more players in this league than the day league so its the perfect format. You can view the site here: http://www.israelnightcricket.com/ 

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Israel win Flicx match pitch through Cricket4Peace story

Heartwarming story generates huge interest

The International Cricket Council- Europe in partnership with Flicx UK today announced the Israel Cricket Association (ICA) as the winner of ‘How cricket has made a difference to your life?’ competition, for Shehadeh Salamin’s story of how Cricket4Peace changed his community and the lives of many in the troubled Palestinian region.

Shehadeh Salamin’s heartwarming story which really demonstrates the power of sport, generated huge interest and received over 2,500 page views,  please see his story as follows:

“My name Shehadeh Salamin 16, from al – Samoa. All my life, I dreamt of being a famous Palestinian footballer…until our village was introduced to cricket. The game rapidly became our flagship sport, with most kids preferring cricket over soccer!

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

I soon found that the more I played, the better I became. But to progress to the next level, we needed more cricketers. Someone proposed holding joint activities with Israeli kids. I must admit, I had concerns. However, when we reached Beersheba, the Israeli coach, George, greeted us with kindness. His warm words broke the barrier of fear in me. I thought to myself “I like to play cricket, just like Israeli children. So it would be fun to play together.”

We played in mixed teams with the Israelis and I enjoyed it! We had amazing collaboration. The head coach said to me in Arabic: “Bravo, you are a great player”. I felt very proud and our next practice couldn’t come too soon. Cricket has given me a new lease of life. Now I am a more confident person with a real desire to continue improving my game. And my dreams have changed too.

Today I dream of a cricket club in Palestine and of becoming the first Palestinian cricketer to play in an international league. I’m sure that with those Israeli and Palestinian children who participated with me, we can also realize the dream of peace together. When holding a cricket bat, I feel I hold the whole world.”

The Israel Cricket Association through the Cross Border cricket project is using cricket to facilitate interaction and communication to break down barriers between ethnic groups. Stage 1 of the project involves bringing together Jewish and Bedouin children in the Negev area, with Stage 2 to include Palestinian youth from the West Bank, a project currently being coordinated with the Peres Center for Peace – Cricket4Peace.

Cricket Ireland were run into a very close second place with Dundalk CC, Eddie Bosano-Andrews story and they will receive a Flicx Crazy Catch Wildchild and Freestyle. Crazy Catch is the “Ultimate Rebound Net” and comes as a new handheld model for the new season. The other finalists included Estonia, Spirit of Cricket by Sharath Geetha; Germany, Cricket Club Bonn by Raymond Cooray; Israel, Cricket4Peace by Sharon Gudker and Spain, Lanzarote Cricket Association by Peter Starmer.

Speaking about the interest in the competition Flicx UK’s Managing Director Richard Beghin commented. “The Flicx team were amazed by the quality of stories which were put forward and the enthusiasm with which all the finalists promoted their entries within their cricketing networks. It really shows the vital role that sport plays in changing people’s lives for the better, which is the very reason why the Flicx Pitch was developed in post apartheid South Africa to help break down racial barriers”.

For further information, please contact:

Nick Pink– ICC Regional Development Manager- Europe

Office: +44 (0)20 7616 8637 : Mobile: +44 (0)7788 307022 : Email: nick.pink@icc-europe.org

Kate Costin – Brand Development Manager, Flicx UK

Office: +44 (0)1295 816765 : Mobile: +44 (0)7513 025712 : Email: kate@flicx.com

How has cricket changed your life – Voting Open

Voting is now open to win a Flicx Match pitch from our short list of 6 amazing entries from ICC Europe memebers and their stories of “How Cricket has changed their lives” …

ICC Europe Official Supplier - Flicx UK

ICC Europe Official Supplier – Flicx UK

We are asking ICC countries to vote and to share this competition to win a Flicx Match pitch for 1 lucky ICC Europe member by circulating this page around your network of clubs and players. We are looking for your thoughts on the entry that best fits our competition title “How has cricket changed your life”

Our finalists are…

  1. Estonia – Spirit of Cricket- Sharath Geetha
  2. Germany – Cricket Club Bonn – Raymond Cooray
  3. Ireland – Dundalk CC – Eddie Bosano- Andrews
  4. Israel – Cricket4Peace – Sharon Gudker
  5. Lanzarote- Lanzarote Cricket Association – Peter Starmer
  6. Palestinian Authority submitted by the Israel Cricket Association – Cricket4Peace- Shehadeh Salamin

In order to vote, simply read all the entries and decide which your favourite story is… You then need to click the LIKE button under that blog on a 1 vote per person basis (using the Twitter and Facebook shares on the page itself is also accepted) . Our finalists are able to share their stories on their unique URL in order to achieve more awareness for their entries and also more generally to promote cricket in their country.

Voting closes on the 8th March.

Good Luck to all and thank-you in advance for your interest in the Flicx UK / ICC Europe competition and for all of your votes. (NB- You need to be registered on WordPress to LIKE and vote- it’s a simple process to join and why not follow the FLICX UK Blog too) For more information on buying a Flicx Pitch please call us on 01295 816765 or visit the products page on our blog to find out more….