White privately trained British players 34 times more likely to become professional cricketers than state-trained British South Asians, according to academic research that should prompt further investigation into the treatment of ethnic minorities through play.
The report highlights how class and ethnic disparities are major determinants in advancing the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) talent development pathways towards professional play. The research, conducted by Tom Brown of Birmingham City University, found that white British players are three times more likely to become professionals than their British South Asian counterparts, regardless of education.
English cricket has been plunged into turmoil after a series of allegations of racism at all levels of the game, most notably following Azeem Rafiq’s testimony before a small parliamentary committee last week. Allegations of racism made by Rafiq, a former Yorkshire cricketer, include that he has been repeatedly referred to as a “paki” and referred to by the name “Kevin”, a dehumanizing nickname for black and Asian players.
Yorkshire Country Cricket Club chairman has resigned, the head coach has been suspended and former England captain Michael Vaughan has been temporarily sacked by the BBC after Rafiq accused him of making a comment racist to British Asian cricketers. Vaughan denied this.
Brown said the continued fallout from Yorkshire’s handling of Rafiq’s case reflects a larger issue related to the lack of diversity in the sport’s upper echelons.
Another paper published by the academic earlier this week revealed that the disparity in progression in professional gaming for white and Asian players could not be explained in terms of performance.
“The results indicate that current talent paths fail to provide an environment that can maximize the potential of its minority players,” said Brown. “As most selection decisions in path cricket are based on the subjective opinions of coaches, a lack of understanding of cultural norms leaves the system prone to bias. “
Brown, who is a performance cricket coach at Warwickshire CCC, as well as an academic, added: This country. “
Very few professional cricketers in England are British South Asians. According to a conservative estimate, 30% of recreational players are of South Asian descent, while only 4% of professional players are British of South Asian descent.
Laura Cordingley, Executive Director of the National Cricket Charity Chance to Shine, said: “Over the years we have seen incredible examples of how our programs can positively impact the lives of young people, including including those from ethnic minorities; to think that many people may now think that the sport we love does not welcome them is downright devastating. “
In 2018, the ECB published a action plan titled “Engaging South Asian Communities”. Coaches and researchers, including people of South Asian descent, expressed concern that aspects of the governing body’s short-term plan (2018-19) had still not been implemented. artwork. Most notable of these was the ECB’s plan to “establish a mentoring program for young South Asian players on the path to talent and provide support to all South Asian players and their parents”.
Sajid Patel, co-founder of the National Cricket League (NCL), said he has been involved as an “activist” in cricket since 1998. “It’s not just about Azeem Rafiq”, Patel said. “He spoke out and brought these issues to the surface, but I’ve been hearing about racism against Asian players for decades. How can you expect people to perform when the environment is toxic or subject to racist abuse? “
The NCL was launched in Waltham Forest, north-east London, in 2012. Patel estimates that 95% of the league’s 1,200 players are British South Asians.
“Organizations like ours are mostly self-funded and we are outside the network of established traditional cricket clubs,” Patel said. “In East London 60 to 65% of cricket is played by the South Asian community, but too many talented young people never get the chance. There is a blockage in the path.