TWO of the Colac district’s newest Australian citizens say cricket has helped them blossom in their new homes at Apollo Bay.
Indian-born Parwinder Sidhu and Dhanvir Dhaliwal moved to the district to work at the coastal town’s bakery after arriving in Australia more than six years ago.
The demanding hours of work made it difficult for the pair to meet new people, before Sidhu and Dhaliwal joined the Sharks at the start of 2015.
Dhaliwal, 26, said playing cricket in Australia was a dream on arrival from Patiala, a city in Punjab in India’s north.
“I love playing cricket and it’s been a wonderful journey playing cricket for Sharks,” he said.
“I always wanted to play club cricket in Australia and I got my opportunity through Apollo Bay.
“It’s also helped me make new friends and get to know so many people from the town which made me love this place even more.”
Sidhu, who has become a close mate of Dhaliwal since shifting from Indian city Bathinda, which is also in Punjab, to Melbourne in 2009, was first introduced to the sport at Apollo Bay.
“I used to play field hockey back in India at school, then I started playing cricket for Apollo Bay in January 2015,” he said.
“I’ve met new people there and made friends, as I work at night it’s hard to meet people, but cricket is a good platform to meet people, and there is so much to learn on the cricket field.”
Sidhu and Dhaliwal have established their spots in the CDCA club’s Division Two side under skipper Gavin Clissold.
Dhaliwal, a talented quick, earned a Division One call-up earlier this season after showing promising signs in the second grade.
The popular Shark said he had noticed Australia’s passion for the game since moving from cricket-mad nation India.
“It’s a pretty competitive sport here,” Dhaliwal said.
“I played cricket back in school when I was in India, and it’s the most-loved sport over there.”
Dhaliwal and Sidhu joined Benjamin Williams and Natasha Sikand as the Colac Otway Shire’s newest citizens on Australia Day.
Sidhu said he was thrilled to have a chance at starting a new life in Australia.
“It’s really a proud moment to be a part of such a beautiful country,” he said.
“There are so many opportunities in Australia to grow – the sky is the limit.
“I feel honoured to be a part of such a diverse and cultured country,” Dhaliwal added.