'Tis the season of Moeen Ali, it appears.
The England all-rounder was today named a 'Livelihood Campaigner' for Pakistan as part of the British Asian Trust.
As part of his role, Birmingham-born Ali will help raise awareness about the campaign which assists thousands of unemployed youth, women and the rural poor in Pakistan.
“Though I am born and brought up here in the UK, I have very strong links with the country of my forefathers, Pakistan", Ali said.
"I am passionate about the issues of livelihood, especially that of unemployment amongst the youth, both here and in Pakistan. I am looking forward to raising awareness about this important issue and visit the charities chosen by the Trust to help the unemployed youth, women and rural poor in Pakistan", he added.
Ali's ambassadorship is the culmination of a successful first year at the national level for the gifted southpaw.
As a batsman he made what was arguably the finest century of the British summer - many commentators described it as one of the greatest of all time - when he battled for eight hours to almost deny Sri Lanka victory with an elegant, chanceless and unbeaten 108 at Headingley.
Later Ali tormented India's much-vaunted batting lineup with his seemingly innocuous off-spinners whilst also piling on the runs: that despite some appalling behaviour towards him by a handful of Indian fans.
He topped off the summer by winning the Professional Player of the Year award at the inaugural Asian Cricket Awards at Lord's.
Welcoming Ali on board, Hitan Mehta, Executive Director, British Asian Trust said, “We are delighted to have Moeen Ali as our ambassador. He will add energy and vigour to this important campaign.”
Ali is known for his passionate views on issues.
He was chastized by some members of the cricket media after wearing 'Save Gaza' and 'Free Palestine' wristbands during the third test against England in Southampton in July when Israeli forces were pounding the Gaza Strip.
On a number of occasions, Ali also spoke eloquently about the issue of Islam in Britain and his responsibility as a devout Muslim to help breakdown misconceptions about his religion.
His ambassadorship with the BAT is a natural next step for the cricketer especially as it involves working in Pakistan.
According to a study commissioned by the Trust, a quarter of Pakistan's population lives below the national poverty line with more than half living barely a tick above it.
Public sector waste, poor governance, political turmoil combined with a raging militancy has left the Pakistani economy in tatters with many depending on foreign aid for their livelihoods - the country received nearly half a billion pounds from Britain in the last fiscal year.
Exacerbating the problem is the country's population boom.
While its South Asian neighbours have implemented effective population control policies, Pakistan's population continues to grow at two percent per annum: according to the report, the country will be the sixth most populous in the world by 2020.
“Pakistan's growing population offers a great opportunity to spur economic growth, but that is only possible if we are able to support interventions that work within the wider context of leveraging this demographic", Mehta continues.
"By adding value to Pakistan’s infrastructure we work together to reduce endemic poverty, and begin to make a real impact on reducing that figure of 40 million living on less than $1.25 a day.”
As part of its campaign in Pakistan, the Trust will launch the Livelihood Fund with the aim of generating £1 million from individuals, corporations, trusts and foundations.
Visit www.britishasiantrust.org for more.
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