New England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Richard Thompson believes cricket could be Britain’s most inclusive sport. On his first day in the role, the former Surrey chairman, 55, set out his vision for the game and argued that “this is a realignment moment for the ECB”.
Thomson’s statement also mentioned great comradeship, high-performance reviews, and developing grassroots cricket.
He wrote that cricket has faced harsh truths in recent times.
“As we begin to recognize and address the issues we face, it is clear that we will only be successful if we are a united sport.
“I have worked in cricket for a long time and it is my belief that we can be the most inclusive sport in the country – accessible to all, regardless of race, gender, class or (dis)ability.”
He added: “The harrowing testimony of Azim Rafiq and many others within cricket should serve as a catalyst for all of us to listen and learn and understand how we can improve.
“The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket will play a central role in this process and I hope that its findings later this year will be challenging. It is not just looking at race, but also gender and social background. Its findings should form the basis for constructive proposals that will bring about lasting change across the sport.”
Thompson also insisted he was flexible when it came to changes to the structure of the professional game following the release of a High-Performance Review report in August, chaired by Sir Andrew Strauss.
“I’m open-minded about how we can improve our game – both for our England teams and domestic cricket – and hopefully we can build a consensus among all stakeholders so that we can “Create a system that works for the players, the fans, and all of our people. The game,” he said.