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BBC Get Inspired: Where are all the black English cricketers?

[img]https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/0D16/production/_102605330_dbd_updated.jpg" srcset="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/240/cpsprodpb/0D16/production/_102605330_dbd_updated.jpg 240w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/320/cpsprodpb/0D16/production/_102605330_dbd_updated.jpg 320w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/0D16/production/_102605330_dbd_updated.jpg 480w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/624/cpsprodpb/0D16/production/_102605330_dbd_updated.jpg 624w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/800/cpsprodpb/0D16/production/_102605330_dbd_updated.jpg 800w" sizes="(min-width: 900px) 50vw, (min-width: 600px) 70vw, 100vw" alt="Daniel Bell-Drummond" class="">
Kent opener Daniel Bell-Drummond has set up his own initiative to encourage black children to play cricketAsk any cricket fan who grew up in the 1990s to name a handful of standout performances by England players, and the chances are they will recall a match-winning performance by a black cricketer.Perhaps it would be Devon Malcolm's fiery 'you guys are history' spell against South Africa in 1994[/img]

That hasn't happened.In 2007, BBC Sport asked: "Where have all of England's black cricketers gone?" That question remains just as, if not more, relevant today - there are just eight black or mixed-race English cricketers active in the 18-team County Championship.So what can be done to encourage and engage those of Afro-Caribbean descent to play cricket, particularly at grassroots and club level?
Bell-Drummond's 'duty' to give back
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/61A1/production/_102439942_dbd2.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Daniel Bell-Drummond">
Bell-Drummond (right) hands out medals to children taking part in cricket sessions in South LondonKent's Daniel Bell-Drummond was born to Jamaican parents in Lewisham, South London, and fell in love with the sport as a child, when he watched his dad play club cricket."There is an issue with the number of young black kids playing cricket," the 24-year-old says frankly.Platform initiative[/i] last year.Bell-Drummond and his team visit primary schools in North Lewisham and introduce the sport into the curriculum, as well as putting on after-school sessions in Deptford Park."We target younger kids because we feel at 13 or 14 they are set in their ways, they're in school with GCSEs coming up, and so cricket would probably be a pointless distraction," he says. "So we work with year four pupils and teach them the game - no real technique, just the basics and to have fun."
'With black communities it's about participation'
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

The Platform initiative introduces the basics of cricket to school children in LewishamIn May, the England and Wales Cricket Board launched a new strategy to engage more people of South Asian origin in playing, supporting and getting involved in cricket. Bell-Drummond believes the two communities face different challenges.he said in 2013.[/i]"There were the drums and hundreds of people would bring in some rum and food. But that's all been banned. And it dampened the spirits of the carnival atmosphere that made attending cricket a joy."
'Strategy needed for black communities'
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Rainford-Brent enjoyed a successful England career and was part of the 2009 World Cup-winning squad. She is now a pundit on the Test Match Special commentary team and director of women's cricket at Surrey.Ebony Rainford-Brent, the first female of Afro-Caribbean heritage to play for England, says the ECB needs to implement a similar strategy for black communities to the one targeting those of South Asian origin."Without that kind of approach I think we will drift along," she says. Rainford-Brent was born in Loughborough Junction in South East London to a Jamaican mum and grew up in what she describes as a "typical Caribbean household". She first took up cricket after a community coach came into her school and introduced her to the sport. She started to play street cricket, then transitioned into the more conventional form. But Rainford-Brent says, despite being made to feel welcome, she didn't always feel comfortable being the only black girl in the team. "I knew I was different. My mum would turn up on the bus with a load of bags. Other kids would turn up in bigger cars, coming from private schools," she says. "When I opened my packed lunch with Jamaican food, the other kids would stay 'it stinks'. It was kind of a joke and wasn't a bad thing but, because there was such a difference, you stood out." Rainford-Brent also does not feel that gender is an issue when it comes to attracting Afro-Caribbean children to the game."There are different challenges for girls in sport but in terms of black communities it's about supporting and getting them to stay in the sport," she says."Encouraging black British participation is important but we should also target the disadvantaged communities, because the challenges are similar - they need financial support, help with transport and buying kits."
Can one black superstar make a difference[/img]
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/12C23/production/_102753867_devonmalcolm.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Devon Malcolm">
Fast bowler Devon Malcolm was born in Jamaica and played in 40 Tests for England, taking 128 wicketsRainford-Brent says attracting Afro-Caribbean communities to play cricket has always been a problem.There have been 13 black cricketers to play for England who were born in the West Indies, including those big names from the 1990s such as Lewis, Malcolm and Gladstone Small."There's only a handful that have come through the system," Rainford-Brent says."I am not sure how much movement we have actually seen. I think it's consistently been in a state which needs some work and identification." If the England team had a superstar who was black, would we see a spike in participation from Afro-Caribbean communities[/img]
Bell-Drummond offers a slightly different view."Michael Carberry had his go with the England team. Even though he would have had an impact, I don't think there will be hundreds of Afro-Caribbean kids coming into cricket because of him, or if I make it, because of me," he says. Malcolm echoes Bell-Drummond, saying: "The main thing is getting the youngsters out there playing cricket. "You can't say because of Moeen Ali you will have eight Asian players in a county team, that won't happen. But at the lower levels, in club cricket, you hope that these guys can influence kids to start playing the sport."
'Where black people are, black people will follow'
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'My dream is to play Test cricket for England' - Jofra Archer
Could Barbados-born Jofra Archer be the future of English cricket? The 23-year-old was snapped up for £800,000 in this year's Indian Premier League auction and has become a T20 sensation. He has an English father and British passport, but is not eligible to play for England until the winter of 2022. The all-rounder says he would love to "get to the top and encourage black kids" to play cricket. Archer signed for Sussex in 2016 on the recommendation of England bowler Chris Jordan, also born in Barbados, after the two met in the Caribbean country. Sussex have four black players in their first-team squad, more than any other county, and Archer says that was an influencing factor in him joining, despite Northamptonshire also offering him a trial."I pretty much only went to Sussex because of Jordan and the others. I much rather go somewhere where there are a few familiar faces," he said."I do think where black people are, black people will follow."And that crystallises the challenge for all involved in English cricket - from the grassroots to the professional game.
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