Prince Harry on tour in Brazil to promote cricket
Tue, Mar 13, 2012 11:44 AM
Group close up (By Alexandra Morris)
Brazil cricket gained a famous new player when Prince Harry visited Rio de Janeiro. Harry, on his first official solo overseas tour, was in Brazil to launch GREAT, a new campaign to promote all that the United Kingdom has to offer, from fashion and shopping to innovation and sport. On Saturday, 10 March, following a charity Sport Relief Mile and games of volleyball and rugby on Flamengo Beach, Prince Harry headed into Complexo do Alemao, a favela that a year ago was under the control of drugs gangs, is now Army controlled and is in the process of being handed over to the Rio State police. It was there that players from three of Brazil's cricket teams and Prince Harry himself joined forces to coach a group of local children the fundamentals of the beautiful game of cricket.
The captain of the Brazil national team and Sao Paulo's star batsman, Matt Featherstone, greeted the Prince alongside Carioca Cricket Club skipper, Rob Wallace. Making up the coaching team were Juliana Brito, star of the Brazilian women's national team, Rudy Hartmann, the fastest bowler in Brazil and CCC all-rounder, Duncan Wallace. Watched by scores of local children who had scaled the fence to catch a glimpse of the action, the Prince joined in a game of cricket, showing some deft touches with the bat and some energetic fielding. Following a team photo, Harry, third in line to the throne, played a game of Taco, the Brazil's simplified version of cricket, using rudimentary equipment and only four players.
"What a fantastic honour to show Prince Harry what we are doing here in Brazil to raise the profile of cricket", said Matt Featherstone. "We all know what avid sports fans Harry and his brother are. I am sure his visit will bring some welcome attention to our project". Cricket was first played at the Rio Cricket Club in Niteroi in 1872, so the game has a long history in Brazil and is still played in Curitiba, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and now again in Rio after a 15 year gap. "Since we reformed as the Carioca Cricket Club in late 2011, we have seen an explosion of interest. Having Harry here is the icing on the cake and even more remarkable in this setting, which with the security situation would not have been possible 18 months ago," said Rob Wallace.
Cricket is on the up in Brazil, with youth coaching programmes expanding around the country and the rebirth of Rio's Carioca Cricket Club. A packed programme of domestic and international tournaments in 2012, including the Brazil National Championships in Curitiba in June, will provide players and spectators alike ample opportunity to indulge in the sport. With a new group of young Brazilian children enthused and a new Royal Ambassador, Prince Harry, onboard, cricket in Brazil is set for a bright future.