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This page was last updated on 09/06/2006 16:25:59

 

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Breaking cricket’s racial boundaries
09 June 2006

throwing a cricket ball

Chris Hassell, chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, responded to allegations of racism in the game in 1999

Mathew Engel, the editor of Wisden’s Almanack, recently claimed that ‘it has become normal for ethnic minority cricketers to gravitate towards their own clubs, and there is now clear cut evidence of segregation operating in both Yorkshire and Essex.’ Similar comments about racism in Yorkshire and Lancashire cricket were made by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has adopted a wide range of measures to identify and develop young ethnic minority players

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has adopted a wide range of measures to identify and develop young ethnic minority players around the county in order to give them every opportunity of going on to play for the county at the highest level.

The club’s rules were updated some years ago and now state among the objects: ‘The promotion of coaching schemes to develop the cricketing skills of young players irrespective of race or colour and the development of wider interest in cricket by the promotion of coaching schemes for the encouragement of all young players including ethnic minorities, girls, women and those with disabilities.’

Until recent years the club took on only Yorkshire-born players, so there was a concerted effort to unearth the first Yorkshire-born Asian player. This was achieved in 1991 when 16 year-old Adil Ditta, from Middlesborough and of Pakistani descent, joined the academy. He was joined the following year by 15 year-old wicket keeper Ismail Dawood, born in Dewsbury of an Indian father and a Fijian mother. Neither progressed to the professional staff but Ditta joined eicestershire and Dawood played for Northants, Worcestershire and Glamorgan.

The club relaxed its Yorkshire-born policy in 1991, and signed the emerging Indian star Sachin Tendulkar the following year. He was an inspired choice, as was West Indies captain Richie Richardson, who played for Yorkshire in 1993-94.

Since then, the club’s development policy has continued apace, and we now have two very talented Asian scholarship players on the books. Fifteen year-old Tabassum Bhatti, whose family hails from Rawalpindi, plays for Saltaire in the Bradford League, and Gharib Razak, 17, from Keighley, plays for another Bradford League team, Manningham Mills.

Yorkshire also has high hopes for Safraz Mohammed, who captains our under 13s team, and is in the England under 13s squad. Fifteen ethnic minority players are currently at the club’s regional centre of excellence, being closely monitored for signs of progress, while a number of others have been for trials, and Ridwan Patel played some early season practice matches with the club’s professional players this year.

One of our four development officers, West Indian Tony Bowry, who looks after the west of Yorkshire, has particular responsibility for the development of ethnic minority players. He is heavily involved in the Yorkshire Cricket Association’s black and ethnic minority forum, which has been operating for more than 10 years. It meets regularly with people from every area of the county, and has development centres in Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley, Leeds, Middlesborough, Sheffield and Wakefield. It also holds a summer school in Scarborough.

we cannot say that racism does not exist in cricket

The YCA and the Yorkshire Cricket Board also have an anti-racism and race equality policy which every member league, association and club is expected to adopt. Any organisation which does not do so will not be considered for grant applications.

So while we cannot say that racism does not exist in cricket, the measures taken by Yorkshire County Cricket Club clearly demonstrate that the matter is taken very seriously and every effort is made to encourage ethnic minority players. In fact, YCCC chairman Keith Moss recently received a presentation from the Asian Sports Council of the UK and Commonwealth for the efforts we are making.

Some of the young ethnic minority players now coming through Yorkshire’s extensive system are exciting prospects, and we only hope that a Yorkshire-born Sachin Tendulkar or wasim Akram is not too far away.

This article first appeared in Connections Magazine, the previous magazine of the CRE, in summer 1999.

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Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Cricket talks back: Catalyst Magazine speaks to Iain Wilton, Head of Communications at the MCC

Not-cricket cricket: Peter Wilby on absences of fair play at the crease

Commission for Racial Equality

Publisher of Catalyst Magazine, the CRE works to create a just and integrated society, where diversity is valued.

openDemocracy

Independent political discussion and debate based on exchange and participation.

Prospect Magazine

A political magazine, Prospect also includes features on arts and culture, science, economics, history, social affairs and philosophy.

Runnymede Trust

The Runnymede Trust promotes a successful multi-ethnic Britain.

Institute of Race Relations

The Institute of Race Relations is a race relations thinktank.

EUMC

The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Social policy research and development.

For more links, see our new links page.

Search Catalyst

Search For:


Promote Catalyst

If you are able to promote Catalyst in your workplace, university etc, please download our poster, a pdf which can be printed at A4 or A3 size.

Small print

Contributor and illustrator information

Articles published in Catalyst do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Commission for Racial Equality.

For advertising or editorial enquiries, please .

rss logo | What is RSS?

This page was last updated on 09/06/2006 16:25:59

 

© Commission for Racial Equality 2007

 

CRE 30 years logo