Over the past year, society has once again wrestled with its response to questions of social justice, racism and inequality. It is clear there is still much work to be done. With a central role in our national life, it’s meant tough questions have been asked of cricket too.
Like many organisations, the ECB has been working hard to take steps to tackle discrimination and promote greater inclusion and diversity across the game. It’s work which has been under way for some time, but it is clear there is much more to do to make our sport open and accessible to everyone. Through the changes we are making we want to encourage people from all backgrounds to get involved and feel welcome within cricket.
For example, in the past six months a new Anti-Discrimination Code has been put in place across the professional game and will be rolled out across recreational leagues and clubs that fall under the ECB’s jurisdiction as the season gets underway. The inception of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket was announced, and bursaries have been introduced to enable people from under-represented groups to gain coaching qualifications.
This all builds on a significant amount of work which was already under way. One of our longer-term plans has been the South Asian Action plan which began in 2018 aiming to help remove barriers to involvement and help build stronger relationships with British South Asian communities.
A key part of the programme has been the Dream Big Desi Women project which is helping introduce more than 2,000 British South Asian women into cricket. The programme trains volunteers to become Activators meaning they can deliver cricket in their communities. We are seeing women help children learn, play, have fun and create memories together that will last a lifetime through our All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket programmes.
Sabah Hamad, who was introduced to cricket through this programme said, “Dream Big has not only empowered me but it’s empowered those around me and helped me truly say that cricket is a game for me. It helped me grow my network, nurture my community and helped put the power of cricket in the hands of children. I have never had as much confidence in myself than I do now and for that I am truly grateful.”
The 2021 programme launches this week and is looking to build on the initial success and welcomes anyone wishing to get involved. Visit ecb.co.uk/dreambig to find out more and get involved.
We know we still have more to do, but we are committed to making cricket truly a game for everyone and will continue our work to engage with South Asian communities whilst striving for equality and diversity throughout the game.