Birmingham Phoenix celebrated the conclusion of the Ramadan Midnight Cricket League with Jacob Bethell and The Hundred trophy attending finals night in the Edgbaston Cricket Centre. 

With sessions run over three weeks until Eid al-Fitr, the Ramadan Midnight Cricket League was developed through the Warwickshire Cricket Board’s (WCB) Chance to Shine Street Programme in 2021 with free sessions for 16–24-year-olds.

Bethell, who held a Q&A and offered a quick masterclass, assisted with the umpiring and scoring as four local teams battled it out for the right to call themselves champions in the early morning. 

The six-a-side games, played with a taped tennis ball, are a clear reminder that cricket is for everyone and for Bethell, himself, a throwback to his humble beginnings in Barbados. 

“This is more than I was expecting that’s for sure,” said the talented all-rounder. “At 11pm on a Wednesday, these guys are a playing life and death cricket and it looks like they’re having fun doing it.

“My cricketing roots are from taped ball cricket, but in just a slightly different setting of a beach in Barbados. Those games, like this, start with just a bat, ball, a couple of sticks and turn into 40-50 person games. 

“In that environment you learns skills which can’t be coached and I wouldn’t be here with that opportunity.”

All four teams were given the chance to have photos with both Jacob and The Hundred trophy, with a chosen few given opportunity to bat and bowl to the former England Under-19 star.

“This was set-up to help the Chance to Shine projects for people during Ramadan who struggle to participate in cricket,” said Mohammed Arif, Warwickshire Cricket Foundation. 

“If you love cricket, like we all do, you’ll find a way to play the game at a time that suits you. Our motto ‘cricket without limits’ is clearly on show here, because we’re giving lads the opportunity to play after their prayers or when they’ve broken fast with families.

“Some of the lads here have aspirations to be like Jacob so it’s fantastic to welcome him. To hear his story of how he started, similar circumstances to this, is inspiring and hopefully when they see him play for Birmingham Phoenix it’s going to be amazing.”

After a record year in 2023, The Hundred will return to Birmingham in 2024, delivering a month of world-class cricket and blockbuster entertainment for all the family. 

Birmingham will host its first game on Saturday 3 August, with both the Phoenix men’s and women’s teams kicking off their competition against Southern Brave. 

The Phoenix will then be back at home for the first of three more double-headers on Tuesday 6 August, taking on Northern Superchargers, before their final two matchdays, on Monday 12 August against Trent Rockets and Thursday 15 August versus Manchester Originals.

“I can’t wait to meet the new lads and in particularly Naseem Shah, who hit me quite hard previously,” Bethell joked. “There’s no bad blood, but I’d much rather him be on my team! 

“I’m still a young pup in the ranks, but I’m massively excited to play for Birmingham Phoenix at my home ground.”

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