The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Microsoft have today announced a ground-breaking partnership that will put technology at the heart of delivering long-lasting benefits across all levels of cricket.

The relationship will accelerate the ECB’s strategic plan ‘Inspiring Generations’ to grow cricket, connect communities and improve lives, and aligns with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Utilising Microsoft’s world-leading approach to technology the partnership will unlock a range of opportunities from driving innovation across the ECB’s elite teams to providing life-changing skills at grassroots level.

The partnership is set to redefine sport-technology relationships as it will focus on innovative and purpose-led initiatives to establish meaningful and sustainable changes across three key areas: Cricket Communities, High Performance and Cultural Transformation.

Digital skills training is set to be provided to grassroot cricket communities over the coming years, which will contribute to Microsoft’s ‘Get On’ campaign, designed to help 1.5 million people build careers in technology by 2024.

This will provide opportunities to people across cricket, from volunteers to young participants, to develop new life skills.

The ECB will also work with Microsoft to explore how artificial intelligence, real-time data and analytics can inform the performance of England’s national teams.

The partnership is set to investigate whether ball-tracking technology can help to unearth the next generation of elite cricketers and engage more diverse talent across the whole game.

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “This partnership has the potential to transform every level of our game. The ability to drive innovation across high performance cricket will support the continued excellence of our elite teams, and the opportunities we will provide together across the whole recreational cricketing community will improve the life chances of many young people and adults.

“We could not have a better partner than Microsoft as we look to put technology at the heart of our business, develop the culture of the game, and bring our purpose to life.”

Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft is proud to support the England and Wales Cricket Board in its quest to become a digital-first organisation that can meet the needs and expectations of fans and players now and in the future.

“A key aspect of our work together is to create long lasting economic change in local communities by helping people acquire digital skills so vital to their futures. This partnership is a great example of how we at Microsoft can fulfil our mission of empowering people and organisations around the world to achieve more.”