Teenager sets up free cricket coaching school in Taunton

RECENTLY, a 15-year-old girl who attends Castle School in Taunton launched a free after-school coaching program to give more public school pupils the opportunity to play cricket.

Anu Balasubramaniam set up Fair Games coaching after realizing the majority of those she plays with in Somerset CCC Girls Under 15s are privately trained.

The left arm bowler said: “The majority of my peers I play county cricket with go to private schools so I wanted to investigate why. I researched the amount of play in Primary Schools Cricket and how the cost affects the level of participation.

“Children who attend private sector schools receive many more hours of supervision than students in public schools. I think every child should have the opportunity to play cricket no matter how much money they have or where they go to school.

The girl then pitched her idea to Russell Jones, Head of Sports at Castle School, who is well known in local sports circles and plays cricket for Taunton Deane.

“I went to Mr Jones with my idea that I wanted to raise the level of public school students competing at the county level in sports and he told me to go away and come up with a plan which I did. Everyone at school has been so helpful.

“I emailed all the primary schools in the area and also visited some local primary schools to talk to them.”

The sports manager said: “She procured the equipment herself and signed up over 30 fifth graders and six primary graders who came to the first session.

“Anu is an inspiring young girl and I want her to have the platform she deserves in terms of spreading the story and the vision.”

Since its launch last month, Fair Games has just taken off and every Monday evening around thirty young boys and girls, the vast majority of whom have never played, meet there and take advantage of their free coaching session.

Anu’s idea goes beyond cricket, as she explained: “In September we are going to start hockey with Miss James, who is an England Masters player and was recently involved in winning the national championship.”

She added: “I just want more kids to have the opportunity to play sports no matter where they go to school, that’s the most important thing to me.”

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