Tributes paid to cricket stalwart

Farid Karolia.
Farid Karolia.

Tributes have poured in for a pioneering Asian cricketer who inspired generations to take up the sport.

Farid Karolia, one of the founding fathers of Mount Cricket Club, passed away at his home surrounded by friends and family, aged 60.

More than 1,000 people attended his janaza – an Islamic funeral prayer – on Monday August 4 to pay tribute to the cricket stalwart. He was buried in Dewsbury Cemetery.

Mr Karolia helped establish Mount, based in the Mount Pleasant area, in 1977.

In the decades that followed Mount became the most successful Asian club in Kirklees, winning many titles.

He was best known for encouraging youngsters to take up the sport and set up the first junior team at the Mount.

His brother Yusuf Karolia said he had lost a brother, a father figure and the community had all lost a best friend.

“He was so kind hearted and knew the importance of a community coming together,” he said.

“He lived by simple values to look after one another and will be missed by many.”

Mr Karolia, of Cullingworth Street, Dewsbury, held a number of roles in the sport, including chairman of Dewsbury District League and the Yorkshire Cricket Board’s black and ethic representative for 15 years.

He was appointed chairman of Batley Cricket Club after the club fell on hard times, and turned it into a community hub.

The YCB also named a trophy in his honour, which junior teams compete to win every year at Headingley.

Mr Karolia’s childhood friend and co-founder of Mount Hassan Kayat said: “He sacrificed so much of himself for others. When he passed part of me went with him.”

Batley Cricket Club business manager Jabir Laher said: “He focused his life around the juniors and he was dedicated to help the development of young people.

“He was more interested in getting children off the streets and helped give them an opportunity to do something positive in the community.”

In a letter to his brother, YCB executive director Andrew Watson said: “Farid was an absolutely fabulous person to work with, particularly in relation to junior cricket where his passionate views were always well received around the country.

“The work that he has done in the whole of the Batley and Dewsbury area including all the clubs and schools is quite simply immeasurable.”