April 07 , 2017

Cricket in Kashmir: scene wins Wisden’s ‘Photo of the Year’

KARACHI: A Kashmiri freelance photographer has won the 2016 Wisden–MCC Cricket Photograph of the Year competition for a colourful image of a boys’ cricket game in the Mughal gardens of Srinagar.

The picture shows the interest and enthusiasm of the Kashmiri youth for the game of cricket despite a continuous political unrest in the Indian-held territory. The young generation, who takes part in the Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom but it also plays cricket to find refuge from tensions.

The photograph of Kashmiri youths playing cricket was taken by Saqib Majeed, a photojournalist of eight years.

While talking to The News from Srinagar, Saqib said that he took this snap when he came across the scene on a visit to Nishat Bagh, one of the most famous Mughal gardens.

He said that cricket is a popular game among the young Kashmiris and there is an organized cricket system in the Indian-held Kashmir.

Shooting from a vantage point of 35 feet up, Majeed was able to capture the entire game amongst the autumnal colours of the surrounding chinar trees. This beautiful picture has won the Wisden’s Photograph of the Year honour.

Philip Brown’s image of Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan batting against England during the First Test in Chittagong was one of two equal runners-up.

Asanka Brendon Ratnayake was the other runner-up for his photograph of India captain Virat Kohli warming his hands near the flames as he took the field for a T20 International against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Kohli, who enjoyed a hugely successful year, featured more than any other player in the competition entries.

As winner, Majeed is awarded £2,000, while Brown and Ratnayake win £1,000. All three images appear at the beginning of the colour section of the 2017 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

The eight other shortlisted entrants, which include two photographs by amateurs, are awarded £250, while all 11 images form part of the ground floor displays in the new Warner Stand at Lord’s – making them available for visitors to view all year round.

The seventh year of the competition saw more than 450 entries from around the world, with photographers of all levels of experience capturing a huge variety of cricketing moments.

These ranged from Darren Sammy’s celebration after the West Indies won the ICC World T20 through to an impromptu game played by children among piles of drying rice near a mill in Bangladesh.

The shortlist, runners-up and eventual winner were chosen by a judging panel chaired by former Chief Sports Photographer of The Sunday Times, Chris Smith, and including world-renowned cricket photographer Patrick Eagar. The former art director of The Cricketer magazine, Nigel Davies, was also on the panel, along with music photographer Kevin Cummins.

Alison Mitchell (the SJA Sports Broadcaster of the Year for 2013) and multi-award-winning cricket photographer Adrian Murrell joined the panel for the first time.



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