The ECB today announced a range of action in the first phase of work to strengthen its inclusion and diversity strategy and continue the change needed to make cricket a game for everyone.

These first steps have focused on three key areas of development:

  • Leadership & Governance across the game – Improving representation across administrators and decision makers so the game embodies the modern and diverse society we live in
  • Listening & Education – Listen, learn and educate to broaden understanding and openness across cricket
  • Opportunity & Visibility – Create further opportunities and highlight role models for diverse communities within the sport

Measures announced today include a commitment to increased diversity in leadership across the game, in addition to a number of other measures. The ECB Board currently meets the Sport England Code targets for gender diversity across Board members, but will seek to advance further in other areas, particularly Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation. The Board will also work with First Class County and County Boards to support them reaching their own representation targets, notably, to have at least 30% women and a BAME target guided by the make-up of their local population – as quickly as possible.

A new coaching bursary will be introduced for future Black coaches, cricket provision increased in primary schools, particularly those which are most ethnically diverse, and a game-wide anti-discrimination charter and code will be launched to span players, coaches, fans, media and clubs across the professional and recreational game. The ECB will continue to work with the FCCs in recommending the adoption of the Rooney Rule for all coaching roles across the game.

We will also deliver support to the PCA on its consultation with BAME players to understand further the experiences of current and past players and inform what further action may be required. To ensure ongoing collaboration and a dedicated approach to Black communities, the ECB will also work directly with Black influencers and stakeholders recruited from across cricket, with Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison leading an initial set of meetings. Sanjay Patel, MD of The Hundred, has been appointed the ECB’s executive Inclusion & Diversity champion, to ensure insights and experiences are used to shape impactful programmes that reach and resonate with Black communities, as well as other diverse groups.

The announcement is designed to extend the ECB’s existing Inclusion & Diversity action plan. The measures also build on the organisation’s five-year Inspiring Generations strategy, created in collaboration with the game, which aims to increase the reach and engagement with cricket through projects such as The Hundred, transforming women’s and girls’ cricket, and the South Asian Action Plan.

“Alongside most of society, we have had to confront some uncomfortable truths in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. We have listened and will continue to listen carefully to the experiences of Black people in cricket and society, and we thank those who worked tirelessly and spoke bravely to open up conversations about the change our sport needs to create.

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer

“We have made strong strides in many areas to become a more inclusive and diverse sport, but we realise there is a great deal more to do.

“Our Inspiring Generations strategy – with the launch of The Hundred and initiatives to increase participation among women and girls and get more schools playing – represents a five-year plan to grow cricket and make it more relevant to our diverse nation. These first steps in our expanded Inclusion and Diversity plans will now support it and help us make sure we don’t leave anyone behind.

“We are thankful to those within cricket who have given us their views and insights and are committed to keeping us honest and focused on our delivery to Black communities. Through their experiences, and their desire for change, we are certain we can start to create lasting foundations into Black communities and see a future that creates a more inclusive cricket world.

“This is the first phase of our new plans, and we know we can never stand still if we are to be truly inclusive and diverse. We will continue to listen to, consult and collaborate with diverse communities to develop further. We remain committed to learning more, growing more and achieving more with open minds and a single-minded philosophy to deliver on our aims – to see a generation inspired to say that ‘cricket is a game for me’.”