Ebony Rainford-Brent: ACE Programme can make cricket stronger through better representation

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“Our game will be stronger in 10 years if we can excite and excite a community”; Ebony Rainford-Brent discusses the progress of her ACE Charity program and the need for cricket to ‘excite and excite’ communities to be more representative

The ACE charity program aims to engage youth of African and Caribbean descent after a 75 percent decline in black players playing professional cricket. This is the history of the show so far …

Ebony Rainford-Brent says her ACE Charity program is progressing rapidly and believes it can help strengthen cricket by making the game more representative of the population.

ACE was founded in January 2020 to try to engage young people of African and Caribbean descent following a 75 percent decline in the number of black British professional cricketers.

A talent search began in London with the award of 25 ACE Academy scholarships and its success led to ACE launching as an independent charity in October in hopes of establishing the program in five UK cities.

“He’s moving really fast,” Rainford-Brent said. The Cricket Show: Black Lives Matter Special – You can watch the program on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 6 pm

“We set it up because there was a 75 percent decrease in black professional players and we also knew that there was underrepresentation, that there was not enough participation in the game.”

Ebony Rainford-Brent says her ACE Charity program wants to strengthen cricket by ensuring that the game is more diverse and representative of society as a whole.

“We just wanted to see, is there talent out there? Is there interest? And can we offer some scholarships and get some opportunities for some people?

“We found some real talent in the game, we had a kid play for Surrey U18, we had three more practices at the county level, not because it’s forced but because they deserve those opportunities.”

While Rainford-Brent emphasizes that there are a number of factors that have led to the marked decline in the participation of black players at all levels of the game, he highlights the structure and manner in which players are selected as key to the foul. diversity at the highest level. of the English game, with those who attend private schools significantly more likely to find their way into the county system than those who do not.

“The big vision for me is that I want our game, which we all love, to be representative of our society.”

“Our society is made up of everything from the white working class to the South Asian British, all the different communities and what ACE is trying to do is tackle a specific problem, but we have a lot to tackle.

“The most important thing we have is the fact that the elite and access to wealth dominate our game.”

Rainford-Brent reflects on how the murder of George Floyd impacted the sport and the legacy he left behind, as the world turns one year since his death.

Given the foundation on which it was founded, the ACE Program is understandably focused on ensuring that opportunities exist for young black cricketers to advance into the professional ranks.

However, the show is working hard enough to allow those who don’t make it to stay in the game.

“The number one clear factor is ensuring progress from the grassroots to the elite,” Rainford-Brent said. “So we are looking at that talent path.

“However, we’ve already discovered that we have kids who are interested in sports media. Well, we look around our media box often when we get there and it’s a similar position.

“Now we are seeing if we can support and facilitate the young people that we meet, who have that interest, to move to that area, get into S&C (strength and conditioning), get into the game.

“I think our game will be stronger in 10 years if we can excite and excite a community. So someone who is writing about it can inspire more people. The key is that we want the game to be more representative as a whole.”

“That is the exciting thing about ACE, we are seeing results quickly, we are seeing that there is talent and we are seeing that there is real interest even if people have not had that heritage.”

“I didn’t grow up knowing much about the West Indies team, that incredible team, until much later in my career. I don’t think we always have to wait until someone knows about that history, we can get them excited today from the absolute point of view. scratch because the game is an amazing game, and the larger parts of the game, I think it will be a natural transition. “

Women’s football needs particular attention, according to Rainford-Brent, and while the numbers show there is considerable work to be done, that only makes the former England player more determined to succeed.

“Women’s soccer is fine,” said the World Cup winner and Ashes. “We are aware of the problem, so what that means is that we are doubling down, we are putting in a lot more effort.

“What’s really exciting is that we have these development centers where with all the schools that we look for talent in, we offer these centers to them and a lot of girls are showing up, a lot of talented girls are showing up and they are ‘loving it.

“I think there are other barriers when it comes to girls and sport anyway, which ties into all kinds of identity issues. Do we think sport is for us? Are there opportunities?”

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