Cricket Australia Announces 54 Multicultural Ambassadors

From cricketer Usman Khawaja to TV chef Kishwar Chowdhury, the ambassadors include high-profile figures, influential business leaders and community champions.

Cricket Australia announces multicultural ambassadors

Sport often has a way to connect people, and when it comes to the South Asian diaspora in Australia, cricket unquestionably plays a huge role in the lives of many first and second generation immigrants. Imagine you’re in the lounge room or down at the Sydney or Melbourne Cricket Grounds, cheering on India’s Virat Kohli or Australia’s Usman Khawaja during a nail-biting match. Or perhaps, upon migration, you’ve joined a local cricket club – a pathway to helping forge a sense of belonging and community in a new home. 

With all of this in mind, Cricket Australia has today launched its Multicultural Ambassador Program. The organisation has named 54 people with diverse backgrounds and experience across government, business, sport, media and community as the inaugural representatives for the next two years. 

Hailing from Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Indigenous Australian, Bangladeshi, Nepali, and Afghani communities, these ambassadors will be instrumental in supporting Cricket Australia’s recently-announced Multicultural Action Plan, and helping drive the plan's five focus areas of Participation, High Performance, People and Representation, Communications and Engagement, and Event and Experience.  

Among the ambassadors are high-profile figures, influential business leaders and community champions, with some of the more well-known names including Usman Khawaja, Mel Jones, Wasim Akram, Ravi Shastri, Lisa Sthalekar, Kishwar Chowdhury, Alana King, Peter Varghese, Swati Dave and Fawad Ahmed.   

“We are thrilled to welcome such a dynamic and diverse group as Multicultural Ambassadors. Their collective leadership, expertise and passion will be instrumental in driving meaningful change and fostering a more inclusive cricketing community,” said Cricket Australia CEO, Nick Hockley in an official press statement. 

“The Multicultural Ambassador Program represents Cricket Australia's unwavering commitment to creating a sport that reflects contemporary Australian society and embraces individuals from all backgrounds. Through collaboration and collective action, the program aims to ensure that cricket remains a welcoming and inclusive sport for all.

"Our objectives are clear: to create more opportunities for multicultural members of the community to engage with cricket, break down barriers, build trust, and drive progress across."

Pakistani Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja said he was “proud” to be named one of the ambassadors, adding, “I see the sport as a bridge that connects communities and welcomes all, fostering understanding, respect, and unity. 

"As a sport we need to take the next step to ensure we get a greater and more equitable representation of the community as a whole by creating opportunities, celebrating our shared love for the game, and inspiring members of all backgrounds to get involved.”

Meanwhile former Aussie cricketer and now commentator Lisa Sthalekar described the ambassador role as “an incredible honour”, especially at a time when the sport is trying to encourage more women to play cricket.

“It's a role that allows me to celebrate and promote the diversity that makes our sport so vibrant and inclusive,” she said. 

"Cricket has the power to unite people from all backgrounds, and I am committed to fostering an environment where everyone feels welcome and inspired to be a part of the game." 

The full list of Multicultural ambassadors:

Peter Varghese

Gitesh Agarwal

Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM

Hon. Lisa Singh

Michelle Wade

Hon. Barry O'Farrell 

Ravi Shastri

Swati Dave

Hamish Solomons

Bijaya Joshi

Saru Rana

Swarup Afsar

Aminul Islam

Sanjay Sharma

Rajendra Pandey

Wasim Akram

Amit Lohani

Rita Anwari Sultani

Fawad Ahmed

Shaniera Akram

Russel Arnold

Molina Asthana

Karina Carvalho

Kishwar Chowdhury

Kamrul Hossain Chowdhury

Preeti Daga

Sonia Sadiq Gandhi

Giles Gunesekera OAM

Rana Hussain

Johann Jayasinha

Mel Jones OAM

Kamil Khan

Pawan Luthra 

Dr Ashutosh Misra

Nilesh Makwana

Sheba Nandkeolyar

Tanya Oziel

Dipen Rughani

Gönül Serbest

Anupam Sharma

Ann Sherry AO

Gurnam Singh

Giri Sivaraman

Lisa Sthalekar

Bharat Sundaresan

David Talalla

Harinder Sidhu

Jason Sangha

Tanveer Sangha

Gurinder Sandhu

Usman Khawaja

Ashley Chandrasinghe

Alana King

Ashton Agar

Ash Gardner

Hannah Darlington

Scott Boland

Darren Ganga