Afghan child refugees in Liverpool use cricket to settle into life in the UK

Report by ITV Granada Sports Correspondent David Chisnall

An Afghan international cricketer is helping refugees from his homeland settle in the North West - hoping sport will help as they start their new life.

The group of child refugees were bowled over to have a special coaching session with one of their country's top cricketers.

21-year-old spinner Zohaib Zamankhail was part of the national team to compete at the 2020 Under 19s World Cup.

21-year-old spinner Zohaib Zamankhail - who plays for Liverpool Cricket Club - says it is 'important' to help the young refugees settle in. Credit: ITV News

After signing as the overseas player for Liverpool cricket club, he is now settling into life in the North West. He is now helping these young refugees do the same.

He said: "This is very important for me because I see my Afghan brothers in the UK and I am happy."

Jennifer Sing, Headteacher at Academy of St Nicholas said: "One of our female students who was really introverted at first said to me that today has been like having a piece of home.

"It's these moments that can change children's lives."

Cricket is the most popular sport in Afghanistan. The team hope that by taking part, it will help the settle into life in the UK. Credit: ITV News

The students are rebuilding their lives in Liverpool after fleeing Afghanistan when the Taliban seized power again last year.

A student said: "In Afghanistan it's always war and we're not safe there so that's why I came here to study because girls can't study in Afghanistan- they're not allowed to do.

"I'm really happy that I'm allowed to study and be me."

Councillor Richard Clein said: "Liverpool welcomes people, it has done throughout history in terms of people fleeing terrible things like the Afghans have.

"We've opened our arms and our hearts to them and we love having them here."

Cricket is the most popular sport in Afghanistan and Zohaib and the club want to harness that to make these children feel at home even when they're thousands of miles from it.