Women's campaign paves way for cricket ground in Barcelona

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Public support for a women’s team in Barcelona has paved way for a cricket ground to be built in the city. The Barcelone city hall asked its citizens to choose an initiative by voting for its 30 million euro ($35 million) investment plan to improve public spaces and facilities. The plan to prepare a cricket pitch received most votes among 184 proposals.

“It’s a dream come true to have won the vote after all the effort we put in,” 18-year-old university Nadia Mustafa, a cricketer, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“We spent weeks encouraging people to vote for our project so we could win. And in the end, we were able to get the first cricket field in Barcelona for us to play and train.”

The plan is to spend 1.2 million euros ($1.4 million) in making a cricket ground, which involves changing and storage rooms, lights and other cricketing amenities, besides the pitch. A group of young women, including some of the Indian and Pakistani immigrants in the suburbs of Barcelona, led the campaign for the vote. It began as a word-of-mouth campaign before catching the attention of local media, giving them more traction.

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Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, has about 400 cricketers divided among 25 men’s and women’s team. This is all thanks to the large Indian and Pakistani communities in the city. However, the city lacked facilities for cricket, which now should be ready in 2022.

“We are happy. Soon, in a year or a year and a half, we will have our own field here in Barcelona,” said Shahbaz Shauqad, a cricket coach who also sells fruits and vegetables.

“We won’t have to think of getting cars and means of transportation to play elsewhere. We will have our field here.”

The cricket ground is expected to be next to Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium.