Melbourne’s cricket-mad communities eagerly await T20 World Cup

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is around the corner after being delayed because of the pandemic.

That’s welcome news to members of the many ethnic communities in Melbourne whose countries of origin are sending their national cricket teams to Australia – the tournament hosts and defending champions – in October.

Aware of some of the epic rivalries among these cricketing nations and the important role the sport plays in their communities, the organisers of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia have created squad groups for each team on Facebook where fans can join the groups and talk cricket.

We take a look at five communities in Melbourne who love cricket, and the teams they’re supporting.

A man sitting at a table using a laptop
Melbourne’s large Indian community will be backing the Men in Blue. Photo: Lijin Kalloor


The Indian community in Melbourne according to the 2016 census comprised of 161,078 people. About three per cent of Melbourne’s population are of Indian origin. Indian-Australians have had a long presence in Melbourne concentrated in suburbs like Point Cook, Tarneit, Truganina, Rockbank and Hawthorn. The community encourages the preservation of Indian cultures and lifestyles.

In the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, there are several cricket clubs set up by the community who field sides in local Victorian tournaments. This reflects the community’s interest in world class cricket tournaments like the T20 World Cup and allows them to feel closer to the sport and the Indian national side.

Key players in India’s giant squad include batsmen Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Surya Kumar Yadav. Virat Kohli is the most-followed Asian on Instagram with 215 million followers – in the world of sport, he is second in the size of his Instagram following only to soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

India’s T20 International track record of winning 116 matches out of 182 games puts its men’s team at number one in the world.

A man sitting in a green shirt
Ramis Hussain of Fawkner is keen to support Pakistan at the T20 World Cup. Photo: Abdul Wahab


The Pakistani community in Melbourne is a strong and established one. If we talk about the Pakistani community in Australia – it’s a huge number. According to the latest census in 2020, more than 96 thousand people living across Australia and more than 30 thousand people in Melbourne claim Pakistani descent.

The Pakistani community in Melbourne has been established for more than 15 years. Community members are active on social media with large Facebook pages where they can post about all sorts of things including queries about life in Melbourne and other community members will interact and try their best to provide some help.

Most of the Pakistani community members live in Fawkner which is also where the community has its biggest mosque. Many play community cricket across Melbourne representing different clubs, and they organise cricket tournaments on special occasions such as the Azadi Cup marking Pakistan’s independence day, and including famous singers flown in from Pakistan.

Key players to watch from Pakistan at the World Cup include Muhammad Rizwan who is the number one T20 batsman in the world, Babar Azam who is ranked number three, and pace bowler Shaheen Aridi. Naseem Shah is also one of the young guns of Pakistan who has impressed the cricketing world with his fast bowling.

The team’s got a solid T20 international track record with Pakistan being the first side to reach 200 T20 matches, from which it’s won 122 games.


A group of people posing for the cameraThe Bangladeshi community in Melbourne is comparatively small with the 2016 census recording around seven thousand Bangladesh-born people in Victoria. In the late 19th century the first migrants from the British ruled Indian province of Bengal arrived in Australia. Between 1991 and 2011 the number of arrivals from Bangladesh jumped, under the Humanitarian and Skilled Migration program.

Centred in the local government areas of Wyndham, Maribyrnong and Monash, Bangladesh-born migrants work across the fields of education, health and community services.

The community has set up cultural and sporting groups including the Australia Bangladesh Council of Victoria and the Victorian Bangladeshi Sports Club with men’s cricket teams and women’s badminton competitions.

Key players in the national team (for the World Cup) include captain Shakib Al Hasan – a critical all-rounder in a line up heavy on spin bowlers like Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, and Mohammad Saifuddin.

The team’s T20 international track record isn’t great, having suffered 10 losses in their last thirteen T20 international matches. With major changes to the side that came back without a win from the Asia Cup, the community in Melbourne and the country will be hoping the Tigers have better luck this October.

A close up of text on a white backgroundSRI LANKA

There are more than a hundred thousand people of Sri Lankan heritage in Australia according to the 2016 census, with Melbourne the ‘hot zone’ of this community with 55 thousand members. Many of Sri Lanka’s first class cricketers were invited to Australia to play cricket professionally, later gaining permanent residency and playing for large Australian clubs.

Key players to watch in Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup side are Wanidu Harrasanga, who ESPN describes as a ‘bruising lower-middle order batsman and an aggressive leg break bowler’ and Bhanuka Rajapaksa – an attacking left-handed batsman.

The team’s T20 international track record is impressive for the youngest side in this T20 World Cup, with no big names in the team. The cricketing world’s been impressed with Sri Lanka’s recent performances against top sides – their young inexperienced team taking out the 2022 Asia Cup. So far, Sri Lanka have played 165 T20 matches, winning 74.


The Afghan community in Melbourne is a vibrant one, with a population of 18,116 people. Around 38 per cent of Afghani Australians reside in the state of Victoria. They have a strong community presence in the west of Melbourne and in nearby Geelong, as well as the south east of Melbourne in Greater Dandenong. The Australian Bureau of Statistics categorises these people as Australians from Southern and Central Asian backgrounds.

Through bilateral relations, Afghanistan and Australia have built strong links across sports and diaspora-to-people contact. This young community is keen on sports like cricket which they’ve expressed interest in ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup, taking the initiative to create cricket communities around Victoria in the form of several cricket clubs as well as tournaments.

Key players to watch from the exciting, emerging cricket side that is Afghanistan include Rashid Khan who is a bowler, and captain Mohammad Nabi who is an attacking batsman. Lance Klusener is the side’s international coach and a former South African cricketer.

The team’s T20 international track record shows Afghanistan having played 104 matches resulting in 68 victories for an overall winning percentage of 65.86. Team Afghanistan is ranked number ten in the ICC ODI rankings.