Michael Carberry: ‘I don’t expect anything from the ECB on racism’

Michael Carberry scored almost 14,000 runs in 208 first-class matches

Michael Carberry does not “expect anything” from the England and Wales Cricket Board in fighting racism, which he says is “rife” in the sport.

The former England batsman first spoke out on the Cricket Badger podcast on Monday and says he has not been contacted by the governing body.

“They have put out pictures to say ‘we’re not racist, look at Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid hugging after winning the World Cup’,” said Carberry.

“The figures tell me otherwise.”

The ECB discussed the issues raised by Carberry and others at a board meeting on Friday and said it would work to engage with community leaders and black influencers.

“We have listened carefully to those who have spoken out in recent weeks about their experiences of being black in cricket, sport and society,” said an ECB statement. “We know that systemic racism spans institutions and sectors across the country and we know that our sport is not immune.

”In recent weeks we have reflected, and acknowledge that black players and fans, who have contributed so much to the history of our game, now feel disenfranchised. They do not feel as if cricket is a game for them. This must change.

“It is our overall desire to create demonstrable action, in order to deliver meaningful and long-term change that permeates every layer of the game.”

On Friday, Vikram Solanki was appointed by Surrey to become the only coach of the 18 first-class counties from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

It is a similar story with the captains of teams in the County Championship, while only one member of the 12-strong ECB board is from a BAME background.

According to the 2011 Census, around 13% of the population of England and Wales is from a BAME background.

The ECB implemented its own version of the ‘Rooney Rule’ in 2018, meaning at least one candidate from a BAME background must be interviewed for every coaching vacancy with the men’s, women’s and disabled national teams. The same rule is set to be introduced in county cricket.

In addition, the governing body’s South Asian Action Plan has been in place for the past two years.

“Triggering the Rooney Rule in county cricket is fantastic,” Carberry told BBC Sport. “Let’s see how that plays out.”

Carberry, who played six Tests and six one-day internationals, said he would welcome an approach from the ECB depending on how much it is willing to listen to his views.

“I am coming from a place of knowledge, having experienced this my whole life,” he said.

“What role do I see for myself? I could help lay the building blocks. Maybe it could be a built-in programme to educate players about people from other backgrounds. It could be identifying and investing in coaches from other backgrounds.”

The debate about racism in sport comes against the backdrop of global protests since the death of George Floyd in the USA.

Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was being restrained.

Some sports stars have chosen to take a knee, while West Indies captain Jason Holder said he will have discussions with his team over making a gesture during the forthcoming Test series against England. Pace bowler James Anderson said the hosts would consider joining the Windies if they take action.

Former opener Carberry played for four first-class counties in a 19-year career, as well as spending time in Australia’s Big Bash League with Perth Scorchers.

He says the majority of the reaction to his comments has been “overwhelmingly positive”, and he has been contacted by former team-mates.

“There have been people that have said ‘if you felt this during your time playing with me, I deeply apologise’,” he said.

“Similarly, there are others who have been massively behind what I have been saying because it still affects their daily lives now.

“It has touched a nerve with everybody. Even people from other sports have said ‘good on you for speaking out and let’s keep fighting the good fight’.”

The 39-year-old is also considering plans to found a performance centre to benefit youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I don’t think counties reach out these areas enough,” he said. “It’s not just about the black community, but offering all communities inclusion and valuable insight into the life of a professional cricketer.

“There isn’t enough of that, particularly in inner-city London. Hopefully now we can start to put a blueprint together.”

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