AN HISTORIAN has said that English cricket is facing a “demographic timebomb” and that the Yorkshire Cricket Club, and Yorkshire cricket in general, has demonstrated “institutional racism”.

Dr Duncan Stone's new book discusses the history of cricket from the through a social lens.

In his book, titled “Different Class: The Untold Story of English Cricket” Dr Stone argues that cricket shows that the middle and upper cases “detest meritocracy.”

Last week, Mark Arthur resigned as chief executive of crisis club Yorkshire, bowing to mounting pressure on a day that also saw England captain Joe Root join the calls for lasting change at the county.

The fallout from Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism also saw the departure of chairman Roger Hutton, who tendered his own resignation citing frustration at the club’s handling of the case and called for both Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon to do the same.

Rafiq has repeatedly lobbied for the pair to go and a number of senior politicians have recently echoed those sentiments.

Dr Stone, whose book examines recreational rather than first-class cricket, stresses that those running English Cricket have sought to diminish or exclude participation among the working classes and ethnic minorities for over a century.

While this continues to take many forms, he said: “Cricket in the form of cups and leagues – so synonymous with the northern counties, especially Yorkshire – was effectively banned in London and the Home Counties for 50 years.

“Now free to choose who they played against; the middle classes were able to create their own discrete cricket world.

“We’re still living with the repercussions today in terms of the promotion of the fact that if you’re face doesn’t fit in these clubs it’s a problem, even in an era where leagues are played nationwide again, they create unspoken barriers."

The book also explores the idea that current structures in English Cricket inadvertently work against people who rely “on municipal facilities.”

Dr Stone said: “Councils aren’t able to spend a fortune on good wickets and if you have working class cricketers, especially south-Asian cricketers, their applications to join mainstream ECB leagues are often rejected on the grounds that their facilities aren’t good enough.

“This is obviously institutional racism, but they will hide behind the ideas that they want standards to be kept.”


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