The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play the national game of Pakistan on the fourth day of their royal tour

By Simon Perry
October 17, 2019 05:07 AM
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It’s game day for the royals!

Kate Middleton and Prince William joined a group of children in playing a friendly game of cricket in Pakistan on the fourth day of their tour of the country.

The sporty couple took part in the match with a group of children at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on Thursday. The two teams had a mix of boys and girls from underprivileged backgrounds between the ages of 10 and 14 years old.

William took to the crease for the first few balls — and after missing one, made a fantastic hit out of the field for six runs. And he was applauded by Kate who stood at the opposite end of the field.

Kate’s efforts weren’t quite as successful — she was caught out twice.

After the game, the couple received some gifts — including a cricket bat for their children. And an official told them “You must apologize to Prince Louis because the bat is bigger than he is.” William then joked: “He’ll grow into it!”

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Waqar Younis – former captain of the Pakistan cricket team – acted as umpire and was excited to see the couple as he had already met the Queen twice.

He told reporters, “I’m glad that they came – it was a great encouragement for these young kids.”

On their skills, he joked: “They probably need some homework! William told me he has played a lot of tennis – and that he really only played cricket when he was younger. But he said he can work on it!”

Prince William
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Adeeba, 14, asked Kate if she liked cricket. “The Duchess said she liked cricket – but is into tennis and swimming. She said she needs to practice cricket more!”

Cricket is incredibly popular in Pakistan. Imported to the country by the British, it was easily exported from the elites to the street. “Unlike polo and tennis and golf, it moved from the game of lords to the street because it could be played anywhere,” said Yahya Ghaznavi, head of the archives at the National Cricket Academy.

Behind the fun was the important message to inspire and include the children in an important program called DOSTI, which promotes sport as a crucial element in child development (Dosti means friendship in the local Urdu language). The initiative helps build social integration and self-esteem among young people.

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Kate Middleton
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William and Kate — wearing a shalwar kameez by Gul Ahmed and shawl by Maheem Khan — also met some legends of the game, which is the national sport in Pakistan. Kate also swapped her heels from earlier in the day for a pair of white trainers.

The moment for the sports-friendly royals (who play tennis together at home and recently took children Prince George and Princess Charlotte to watch a soccer match!) mirrored the occasion in India three years ago, when the couple played cricket with kids in Mumbai.

Kate Middleton
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Kate, who memorably wore sky-high wedges for the game, and William used that occasion to kick off their visit in April 2016. The royal couple also met with former cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, who said, “They were a remarkable couple and made us feel so comfortable. They were really humble.”

Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Later in the day on Thursday, the royal couple headed to the Badshahi Moque, which is located within the Walled City — the most iconic Islamic site in Lahore, which has also been visited by William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth when she was in the country with husband Prince Philip in 1961.

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William and Kate’s day of outings in the vibrant city of Lahore fit with their wish to “meet as many Pakistanis as possible including children and young people, leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars,” their spokesman said.