Heather Knight not surprised by unflattering picture painted by ICEC report

Heather Knight not surprised by unflattering picture painted by ICEC report

Heather Knight was unsurprised by the unflattering picture that was painted by an independent report into cricket as the England captain insisted there is still “a long way to go” to achieve equality despite the game having “come very far”.

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) this week published a long-awaited 317-page report which identified ingrained racism, sexism and classism within the sport in England and Wales.

The ICEC said it was “alarmed” the England women’s team had never played a Test at Lord’s, while among its 44 recommendations was for equal pay between males and females at international level by 2030.

Knight argued she has witnessed an uptick in attitudes towards the women’s game since she started her career, pointing out there will be nearly 20,000 people at Edgbaston for Saturday’s first T20 against Australia in a multi-format Ashes series that has sold in excess of 80,000 tickets across seven games.

England's women cricketers want to help lead cricket forward, according to Heather Knight (Tim Goode/PA)
England’s women cricketers want to help lead cricket forward, according to Heather Knight (Tim Goode/PA)

But in a statement on the eve of the T20, she said: “It’s been really sad to hear about anyone that’s not felt welcome in our game – nobody should be made to feel unwelcome in our sport.

“This is a really important step for cricket, and cricket – having done this report – can really lead the way in terms of being more equitable, more diverse and more inclusive.

“It’s really important for me to say as a woman in cricket it’s not at all surprising, the recommendations that have come out of the report – but it’s really important to say cricket has come a hell of a long way since I was a kid.

“I started out playing men’s club cricket and being asked ‘do you do the ironing for the men when you finish playing?’. (On Saturday) I’ll lead my side out in front of a near full-house, with 85,000 tickets sold for the whole series.

“Cricket has come very far but it’s also got a long way to go. As a group of England women cricketers we feel really strongly about this. We want to be a key part of that in pushing the game forward.”