After discussions with the owner of Grizzly Sports Anshuman Shinde, Cricket España have secured sponsorship deals for two of their Women National team players Payal Chilongia and Uswa Syed.
The agreement came about after Grizzly Sports saw the articles written by Jenny Thompson (Her World Cricket Tour) that captured the imagination of cricket fans around the world.
Grizzly already have a strong partnership with Spain and the relationship was further enhanced after a telephone call earlier today.
Both Uswa and Payal will rerceive a bat, gloves, pads and a helmet with potential further add-ons in the future.
On receiving the news Payal stated “she was lost for words” and Uswa felt the opportunity was “amazing”
Grizzly will also have their own stand at the forthcoming European Cricket Championship event in Cartama and thery are currently developing a club shop that will make official Crickedt España merchandise for sale for fans around the world..
Payal Chilongia moved to Madrid four years ago with no money & no Spanish but she’s a strong woman who won’t quit.
She began waitressing 15-hour days at 3 Euros an hour & learned Spanish: “My landlady’s from Peru & she taught me Spanish when I came in 2019. She said: ‘You have to otherwise you can’t get a job here.'”
Now she can speak Spanish, she’s in the Spain national team & has a higher-paying job in security. But life remains challenging – she’s finding it tough to secure employment in her field of Sports (she holds an MBA in Sports Management from Spain), even with Spanish, 1 of 5 languages, including Hindi, English, Kashmiri & Punjabi.
“I am applying all over in Spain,” she says. “I am still trying.”
She ran into visa difficulties in 2020 which have just been resolved & hasn’t seen her parents in 5 years, though she will see them in April.
Payal’s mental strength is rock solid, her heart generous & her drive & attitude first rate. She’s been a brilliant volunteer with Cricket Espana this week – on the gate, on the electronic scoreboard & on the money whatever she’s asked to do.
She grew up playing gully cricket in India with her 3 sisters – “We were playing using the cycle wheels as a stump” – then progressed to state.
“I played against Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, but not ICC ones, the ones which is organised by Sports Council Of India.
“I’m an athlete too, I like to run a long distance. I’ve won so many medals in my life you can’t even count.”
Now she plays cricket for Spain. “When I came in 2019 here I was on the Facebook & I was like ‘Oh my God, Spain is having cricket & they’re organising tournaments.'”
She phoned National Coach Neil Brook that day: “He was saying ‘OK, come to Barcelona for the trials, we are going to organise a series here.’ It’s a pride moment for me because this type of platform I never had in my country.”
Though Payal admits life beyond the cricket pitch in Spain has been “very, very difficult”, she faces it with a permanent smile.
“Still I am struggling but I never give up, that is my power,” says Payal. “If I am struggling, OK, no problem. Struggle ends one day.”
When Uswa Syed’s brother told her to play cricket, she said she must ask their father first – & the likely response was no.
Uswa’s brother is 21-year-old Hashim Mir who’s back tin Pakistan from Barcelona, playing in the KPL for KOTLI LIONS
“My brother said: ‘You want to play cricket?’ & I said: ‘Yes, but first I have to ask my father’ & he said: ‘No, you have to play cricket,’ & I’m saying like: ‘No, he’s my father, I have to ask him.’
“Because in our culture it’s very difficult for the girl to play cricket so when I ask my father & he say ‘Yes’, it was a great moment for me.
“He said: ‘Because it’s your passion you can do it.’ He watch cricket because of me & because my brother plays as well but otherwise he doesn’t like cricket.”
Uswa is grateful for her brother, too: “He always support me every moment, he always video call me to show me how to play cricket shots.
“My mum supports me as well, all family support me because they know I can do something good in cricket.”
Playing for boys’ teams & also Spain’s only the start of Uswa’s ambitions which took root as a 6yo playing hardball.
“I’m happy I’m playing in the national team for Spain but maybe I will apply for different clubs in maybe Netherlands & do practice with them.”
She was able to watch them this week after Hashim told her to go to Desert Springs: “My brother said: ‘Go & watch, you will learn from different teams.’”
Uswa’s helping develop women’s cricket in Barcelona & the community there just won a votes-based competition for a sports ground. It should be ready in December.
“It’s a good thing for us because we don’t have proper training sessions & every time we need different grounds to play. Maybe every Saturday we try to play but only for two hours.
“We need more & more practice maybe three times a week now because we’re in the national team. Now we have a ground & I’m excited we will start training sessions in December.”
Ultimately, Uswa’s happy she’s playing at all: “Cricket is my passion & there’s a lot of girls, they also wanted to play cricket but they can’t so it’s really sad.
“Sometimes I’m really sad about them but we can’t do anything because everyone has different thoughts.”
Keep playing hard & can’t wait to follow your future, Uswa!
JENNY THOMPSON – HER WORLD CRICKET TOUR ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM