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    25 September 2023

    Report by ICEC: Ebony Rainford-Brent believes cricket has the potential to become the most inclusive sport in the UK

    An Exciting Turning Point for Cricket

    Ebony Rainford-Brent made history as the first black woman to represent England in cricket, and her impact extends far beyond the pitch. As a presenter and pundit for various sports platforms, including being associated with the African-Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACEP), Ebony is actively creating opportunities for young cricketers from marginalized communities.

    The recent report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) highlights significant challenges within the sport – race, class, and gender disparities that cannot be ignored. However, this report signifies a major turning point towards achieving inclusivity – an ambition deeply cherished by Ebony herself.

    Drawing on her extensive experience in cricket, both as a player and now as an influential figure within the game’s governance, Ebony has witnessed firsthand the obstacles faced by underrepresented groups. Yet she remains optimistic about tackling these barriers head-on.

    A Transformative Journey Towards Inclusion

    This exciting journey not only promises positive changes within cricket but also has implications for other sports facing similar challenges. By effectively addressing these issues of representation and diversity through concrete actions inspired by ICEC’s recommendations, cricket can become a trailblazer – setting an example of how any sport can evolve into a more inclusive domain.

    Ebony’s commitment to promoting inclusion led her to establish ACEP specifically targeting Black-British participation in cricket. She recognized that despite local interests existing amongst children, access to cricket remained limited or nonexistent across many communities nationwide.

    Through relentless efforts, ACEP has successfully introduced cricket to numerous schools that had previously shown no interest in the sport. Moreover, they have created community hubs where children now have access to cricket outside of ACEP – a significant achievement considering the initial lack of opportunities.

    The program’s success is evident as over 20,000 children have already engaged with ACEP. Ebony’s goal is to reach an even larger audience and make cricket more representative by engaging with over 100,000 children – closer mirroring the diversity within society.

    Unlocking Talent through Accessibility

    One highlight of ACEP’s achievements lies in their ability to facilitate pathways for talented individuals into professional cricket. Their open trial process welcomes anyone willing to showcase their skills, effectively democratizing talent identification.

    ACEP coaches leave no stone unturned in search of potential talent; they are known for spotting promising young athletes across unexpected places. A noteworthy example includes discovering a child who had never played cricket before but displayed athletic prowess across a car park – this individual now finds themselves on the talent pathway thanks to ACEP’s keen eye for potential.

    Achieving Security and Building Momentum

    To sustain their impactful work in fostering inclusivity within cricket, ECC announced earlier this month that ACEP would become one of five charity partners receiving funding support. This partnership ensures long-term security and enables them to strategize alongside other stakeholders involved in improving accessibility throughout the wider game.

    Ebony Rainford-Brent continues her journey towards creating transformative change within English cricket. With every step forward fueled by determination and passion for inclusivity, she paves the way towards a more diverse and accessible future for cricketers at all levels.

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