Getting more of the county’s women and girls of different ages, backgrounds and religions into cricket is a one of the key 2018 priorities for Nottinghamshire Cricket Board’s Director for Diversity and Inclusion Sadi Khan, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
The local businesswoman – who is to receive her accolade in recognition of her cultural and religious awareness training and services to vulnerable women – is also keen to see improved relationships between the game’s main stakeholders in Nottinghamshire and the communities they serve.
Khan, who set up Noble Khan Ltd in 2004 to deliver specialist training to organisations across the UK to help make them more inclusive, is convinced she can use the skills she has developed to inform future thinking towards making cricket across the county more accessible to all.
“Cricket should be a sport for everyone.”
“I have worked with the ECB, particularly through Cricket Unleashed, to help give them a better understanding of how as an organisation they can better engage with specific groups of people they haven’t been effectively reaching in the past,” she said.
“Since my appointment to the Nottinghamshire Cricket Board, I’ve been looking to improve this in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire too because here, like across the country, cricket hasn’t always done the best job in that respect.
“I’m not a believer in positive discrimination in job roles, but instead giving all staff regardless of their backgrounds the skillsets they need and breaking down the misconceptions people may have about others.
“It’s about everyone, regardless of skin colour, sex, religion or background. A lot of people in cricket hold back, when it should be a sport for everyone. It is human nature to fear communities and groups of people who are different from their own, but tackling that is very important.
“We want to give people working for the Board the right tools to go out into various communities and establish relationships by being visible, proactive and approachable.”
Originally from Long Eaton, Khan’s passion for cricket was nurtured playing in the street as a wicketkeeper with her two brothers.
She grew up admiring the exploits of Pakistan stars Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, so is passionate to make a positive change, knowing the influence professional players can have.
“I would like to see more women and girls involved in cricket, more from the South Asian community and more disabled people too.”
Khan said: “It’s massively important to me and others to make cricket open to everyone and steps area already being taken to make sure that it is in the future.
“The players at the top level can certainly play their part because they are huge role models, representing the dreams and aspirations of youngsters.
“I would like to see more women and girls involved in cricket, more from the South Asian community and more disabled people too, even if they don’t have a sporty past. It’s about getting more people picking up a bat and more people watching Nottinghamshire and the Notts Outlaws.”
With Lisa Pursehouse MBE as Chief Executive of the County Cricket Club and Kate Davies OBE on its Committee, in addition to Jancis Walker and Mandy Wright joining Khan as Cricket Board directors and advisors, she believes the county are setting a positive example for others to follow with women in positions of cricketing power.
And she insists there is ‘no glass ceiling’ when it comes to what can be achieved across the county over the next few years when it comes to inclusion.
“There is a lot of hard work to do, but there is a great deal of potential to unlock.”
“We have a good team of people coming together in leading roles who are determined to make changes for the better and genuinely want that change,” said Khan.
“There is a lot of hard work to do, but there is a great deal of potential to unlock, which should be of real encouragement to everyone.”
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