They are Indians, Afghans, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis for the most part (there are also a few French, English and Australians), their common point: the passion for cricket. This English sport, legacy of British colonization (except for Afghanistan, neighbor of Pakistan, it is for this reason that cricket is so popular there), is unknown in France but a club exists in Toulouse!
The Toulouse cricket club (TCC) brings together around fifty members, from ten different communities in all. Every Sunday, they train on the heights of Pech-David, at the Sordelo stadium. Originally these are of the English from Airbus who created the club. From 2016 many left, pushed by Brexit. Philippe Fermanel takes over the TCC at this time and tries to retain many more communities who play cricket.
« With the desire to help them integrate, explains the president. I particularly care about it. I often tell players « on the ground, french or english », in the field we speak English or French. They have to open up to other communities and that allows them to integrate. There are no conflicts between the different communities, cricket is unity!«
Mohammad Zuber, for example, an Afghan refugee, he is trying to learn French. « We study, we do a lot of things because we need to integrate into the country. But we have Sundays to spend our time playing cricket with very different people from different places. I never thought I would play cricket in FranceI know that the French do not know this sport. »
A new family
More than a passion for Tithir, of Indian nationality. He arrived in France three years ago for his studies. « When we talk about cricket, it’s emotions, it’s a religion for us. Every weekend I come from Marseille to play. This is something that is really close to our hearts. We can do miles for that. Many people here are away from their families, so this is our new family. »
To see a match, meet this Sunday, July 30 on the Sordelo field in Pech-David. The TCC faces the Catus team in the Lot for the regional cup semi-final. It’s open to the public.