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Civic Honour For Bradford Cricket Heroes

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The pair were part of England's World Cup winning side last summer.

Two local cricket legends will be given a top civic honour in recognition of their success in last year’s World Cup.

Next week Adil Rashid and Jonny Bairstow – who were both key members of the World conquering England Cricket Team – will be admitted to “The Roll of Honorary Freemen of Bradford.”

It is one of the top honours the district can offer its citizens, and it will mean the two cricketers will join the likes of David Hockney, Barbara Castle and J.B. Priestley, who have previously been made Freemen of the City.

Bradford Council will discuss the proposals to add them to the roll at an extraordinary meeting next Tuesday. If Councillors approve the plans, a civic ceremony will be arranged where the pair will officially be given the honour.

The pair etched their names into legend in July when England beat New Zealand in dramatic circumstances to lift the World Cup. The tournament was held in England, and the victory led to jubilant scenes up and down the country.

A report to the Council says: “The criteria for admission to the roll are that the person should have demonstrated distinguished and recent service, or made a significant beneficial and noteworthy contribution to the District or secured significant benefit to the District.

“It is considered that Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid meet these criteria and should therefore be so honoured and admitted to the roll.”

Rashid was born in Bradford in 1988, and honed his skills playing in the Bradford Cricket League for Bradford and Bingley.

The report says: “In 2006 the ECB coach David Parsons considered him the most talented young leg spinner in the Country and in 2007 was described by Jason Gillespie ‘probably the best young cricketer in the Country.’

“Since then Adil has become a seasoned all rounder playing at the highest level particularly known for his outstanding performance in one day internationals. Adil is an ambassador for the overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal, a Yorkshire based charity which carries out much of its work in the Punjab region of Pakistan. Here in Bradford the Adil Rashid Cricket Academy provides coaching and opportunities for the next generation of talent.”

Referring to Bairstow, who was born in Bradford in 1989, the report says: “He first picked up a bat whilst toddling around Undercliffe Cricket Club where his father David Bairstow was a member.

“In recent years he has supported the redevelopment of Park Avenue as a major cricket venue and acted as an ambassador for inward investment to Bradford and the Leeds City Region.

“On the field of cricket he has been part of the England line up since 2011, is an outstanding wicket keeper and the first England cricketer to score three consecutive One Day International hundreds.

“He won the inaugural ‘Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year Award’ in 2007.”

The nominations were made by Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe. Of Rashid she said: “Adil has never forgotten his home city; he still lives here and is an outstanding role model for our young people.”

Of Bairstow she said: “Jonny has served his county and country with distinction and his success, following in the footsteps of his late father David – also a Bradfordian – is a matter of great pride to the people of Bradford District.”

The extraordinary Council meeting will be held at 3.30pm on Tuesday January 14 in City Hall.

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