A CRICKET coach says she wants to “break barriers” between faith and sport in Asian and Muslim communities.

Saba Nasim, who lives in Forest Gate, sealed a British Citizen Award for services to volunteering.

The 29-year-old set up Redbridge Rangers Cricket Club, the first girls-only project in the borough aiming to get more young women into coaching and playing professionally.

Ms Nasim, who is also captain of Wanstead Cricket Club women’s team, said she wants to be a role model for girls who are told that playing cricket is incompatible with their faith.

The 29-year-old said: “I was really surprised but delighted that my work at a grassroots level has been recognised.

“I am trying to break barriers and show girls from my community that you can be Muslim and play sports. Some girls from Asian and Muslim communities are told they can’t play sport because of their faith. They are told it’s not a female sport.

“It’s great to let girls know that they can play sport. I see myself as a female sporting role model. I want girls to be inspired by me.”

Ms Nasim, who is from an Asian and Muslim background, highlighted the role her faith plays in influencing the next generation of female cricketers.

She said: “My faith plays a good role. It keeps me grounded. I inspire girls of a similar faith to go out and play. 

“I want girls to embrace the sport and reconcile their faith with cricket. I want to inspire the next generation to take up cricket professionally.”

Seeing girls develop into coaches and players is just one of the highlights of a rewarding role.

Ms Nasim said: “The most rewarding aspects of the job are seeing girls focus, answering their questions, seeing them grow in confidence and become leaders in their own communities.

“Most of the girls I coach are from Asian backgrounds and they have gone on to play club cricket and taken on the courses which is great to see.”

The 29-year-old joined Wanstead Cricket Club in 2009, and became a volunteer coach in 2010 and a qualified coach in 2013.