Iqbal Singh Chohan
Humans of Woodlea

Iqbal Singh Chohan

From professional cricketer to community captain

It’s not always easy to start over when it comes to a support network, but for this local baker, it was his professional passion that helped him build his own community, thousands of miles from home.


When professional cricketer Iqbal Singh Chohan left India in 2007, he arrived in Melbourne to study with no family and few friends in the city. Fast forward 13 years and he is now the President and founder of his local cricket club, Aintree Cricket Club (ACC), and is a proud husband and father.


When he’s not spending his hours skillfully kneading knots out of soft white dough, or perfectly timing the next dizzyingly tasty tiger loaf, Iqbal dedicates considerable time and effort to ACC.

“They knew about my professional status back in India, so it would have been tough to argue with my election as president of the club when it started in 2018. It’s worked out perfectly and I couldn’t ask for a more comforting way to spend my time — the combination of cricket and community engagement will always make me feel at home,” explained Iqbal.


“I started playing when I was about six or seven back home in India. Everyone played cricket when I was growing up. One of the things I adore about Australia is this mirrored appreciation for cricket — in both countries, cricket and community fuse together to create a family atmosphere like no other.”


Iqbal spends his free time at meetings, talking to the locals, deciding which policies to establish for the betterment of the club and facilitating the sponsor drive system, among other initiatives. He’s currently working on establishing a women’s team for the club in 2021, after noting that the work of the club will only be complete once it’s fully inclusive.


Despite being a fairly new organisation, the small town success of ACC continues to gain momentum. Already boasting three senior and three junior teams after just two years. Iqbal professes that he couldn’t do what he does without the “sporty spirit and can-do attitude” of his local community members.


“My children often ask me about my professional past, with both my girls showing a keen interest in cricket. I want to show them that if you’re passionate and determined enough about something, it can lead to success.”


“Although there aren’t many of us running the club, each of us is impassioned beyond belief, we even keep the club running all through the winter to build up the confidence of our players and ensure they feel comfortable enough to play when summer comes round — most clubs don’t bother to do this but it’s such an important part of the process.”


Although the community spirit of the club’s members and supporters brings the x-factor to their talent pool (often lacking for many small local teams), the six club organisers are struggling to keep it afloat on their own. 


Working full-time with doting families, the ACC always need more volunteers and supportive parents backing their work and are calling for more members from the Woodlea and wider Rockbank and Aintree communities to join them in a united cause — the love of cricket


Iqbal’s story is part of Humans of Woodlea, an initiative by the fully integrated master-planned community that seeks to highlight the unique stories of its residents, whilst showcasing its diversity and spirit.