For the very first time, Chennai will be the host city for “Street 20,” an incredibly heartwarming cricket tournament exclusively dedicated to street children, aiming to captivate the hearts of both cricket enthusiasts and advocates for children’s rights alike.
A Global Gathering of Dreams
Street 20 is a remarkable initiative that brings together street children from 15 countries, transcending borders and backgrounds. Children hailing from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, and more will take part in this extraordinary tournament. What makes this event even more special is that it precedes the ICC World Cup Cricket in India, making it a perfect prelude to the grandest cricketing spectacle on the planet.
The Game Changers: Team India
The defending champions of the Street Child Cricket World Cup, Team India, will be the star attraction of Street 20. This dynamic group of young cricketers has already etched their names in history. In 2019, at the inaugural tournament held in London, Indian children emerged victorious, showcasing their talent and determination to the world.
India’s Home Advantage: Eight Teams, One Dream
This time around, India will field not one, but eight teams in the Street 20 tournament. The participating teams include India Tigers from Chennai, Team India, India Lions, India Cats, India Wolves from Delhi, India Panthers from Kolkata, India King Cobras from Mumbai, and India Crocodiles from Odisha. These teams will bring the passion, energy, and spirit of cricket from different corners of the country to Chennai.
A 12-member contingent, comprising four boys, four girls, and substitute players from each team, will also be part of the tournament. These young athletes represent hope, resilience, and the unyielding spirit of street children.
Beyond Cricket: Fun and Culture
Street 20 is not just about cricket matches; it’s a holistic experience for these young participants. Alongside the intense competition on the field, the tournament organizers have planned several fun activities and cultural events, providing the children with an opportunity to express themselves beyond the cricket pitch.
The Power of Partnerships
Behind this remarkable initiative is the collaboration between the Street Child United, UK, and the Dhaya Foundation, led by Mrs. Latha Rajinikanth. This partnership has allowed Street 20 to come to life in Chennai, adding a touch of celebrity and philanthropy to the cause.
Stories of Resilience: India Tigers
Among the participants of Street 20, the India Tigers team stands out. Comprising children who are orphans or homeless due to difficult life conditions, these young cricketers are the epitome of resilience and determination. Notably, B. Monisha, the captain of the team, hails from a life on the pavement. Through concerted efforts, she, like her teammates, has been provided with education, training, and the opportunity to play on the international stage.
Support from organizations like the State Department of Social Defence, Greater Chennai Corporation, Azim Premji Foundation, and Chennai Port Authority has been instrumental in giving these children a platform to pursue their passion for cricket.