Retired international cricketer Philip ‘Daffy’ DeFreitas proved he’s still got what it takes to delight an audience after members of a virtual walking cricket session were ‘bowled over’ by his guest appearance.
The former England star shared tips on how to stay motivated and active during a virtual video call with members of The Centre for Ethnic Health Research walking cricket team which has been meeting virtually during the coronavirus pandemic.
The weekly sessions are an hour long and are delivered by a qualified coach from Leicestershire County Cricket Club. Phillip played for Leicestershire as well as playing for Lancashire and Derbyshire and is currently Director of Cricket at London Schools Cricket Association.
Sunny Rohit, Community Engagement Officer at The Centre for Ethnic Health Research has almost 20 years’ experience working in youth, community and sports development and management.
He said: “I approached Phil on Twitter and he was willing to jump onto a Zoom call to talk to our group about ways to stay motivated and active during this difficult time.
“He held a question and answer session, giving our members the opportunity to quiz him about his very successful cricket career.
“He was very open and honest and came across extremely well, encouraging our members to keep going even though times are tough. Once we restart properly, he hopes to pop into a walking cricket session. Our walking cricketers were very impressed with the special surprise guest.”
The Centre for Ethnic Health Research is working to reduce health inequality in the region by sharing resources and promoting research.
Walking cricket was identified as a possible means to encourage physical activity and increase wellbeing amongst those aged 50 and over and to engage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to take part due to the sport’s popularity in South Asia.
The Centre is funded by the University of Leicester and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands. NIHR ARC East Midlands is a partnership of regional health services, universities and industry which turns research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who is the Director of the NIHR ARC East Midlands and Director of the Centre for Ethnic Health Research is also Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “There is evidence to suggest that South Asians are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“Low levels of physical activity are a risk factor for increased body weight and in turn increases the risk of type 2 diabetes further.
“Walking Cricket aims to bring together older adults to an organised session of cricket where they can socialise and get more active through a team-based sport.
“In sharing his unique experiences within the sport I hope, Phillip DeFrietas, will have inspired some of the Walking Cricket members to keep active during even though times are tough.”