COUNY CRICKET: BAIJU Solanki has been voted on to the committee at Essex County Cricket Club, writes Chris Phillips.
The 42-year-old from Southnd has been involved in the sport more than 25 years.
And his appointment means the south of the county is now also represented on the club’s committee.
“I think it is important to have someone who is passionate about the game and want Essex to do well,” said Solanki.
“The fact that I am in the south of the county also helps because members from this area feel represented. “Essex is a vast county and all the members in the north, central, east, west and south need to be represented.”
Not having a representative on the committee was seen by many as a possible reason for Essex controversially deciding to stop playing at the Southend Cricket Festival.
The county ended 100 years of tradition when they opted not to play in the town from 2012 onwards.
But Solanki hinted that he could well push for Essex to come back to Southend. “I think it is very important that all the people of Essex get the opportunity to watch their Essex heroes play in first-class or professional cricket,” said Solanki.
“One of the goals of Essex is to spread the opportunity of watching and playing cricket all over the county. “There is no better way of getting our youngsters playing the game than watching their heroes play locally. “Historically it has been shown that festival cricket has attracted bigger crowds and it is important that Essex are continually looking at ways to take cricket to as wide an audience as possible.”
Solanki, who works as an author, speaker and coach working with business owners, has been involved with cricket in Southend for more than 25 years.
He has been secretary of Southend & EMT cricket club and president of the South Essex District Cricket Board Solanki has also been involved with the Southend Festival since it switched from Southchurch Park to Garon Park in 2005.
And he is now hoping to make an impact for Essex. “The club are going through a critical time,” said Solanki.
“With the ground development and the talent coming through, we have to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to ensure we are competing, not only with other counties but with other sports.
“The demands on people’s time is so great now, that we have to make our product so attractive that people who wouldn't normally watch cricket start to get interested in the game. “20Twenty has started to do this, but it is essential that we attract new people to the game of cricket, not to just one of its formats but the whole experience.”