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Owais Shah questions lack of black and minority ethnic coaches in English cricket

Former England batsman Owais Shah has called out English cricket for not giving enough opportunities to people from the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter movement around the globe.

Owais Shah, who played 6 Tests, 71 ODIs and 17 T20Is for England, in a recent interview spoke about how “people of colour” haven’t got the kind of opportunities that they deserve in English cricket.

A recent study showed that only five of the 118 (4.2%) people employed in the coaching staff by the 18 men’s first-class county teams are British Asian.

Citing Vikram Solanki’s example, Shah said the system must be transparent when it comes to employing people rather than be based towards any group or race based on their skin colour. Former England opener Vikram Solanki was appointed head coach of Surrey county team last week.

“Only eight people of colour [are] in the system we have in England, in the professional system, out of all the coaches and coaching staff and whatever, which is a phenomenal number.

“I live in London which is such a diverse city, everybody plays cricket that I know, especially people of Asian descent and Caribbean, so to think that only eight people of colour are in the system and in the coaching roles is phenomenal.

“I know Vikram Solanki has been appointed as Surrey head coach in the last few days which is really good to see but we’ve got to look at the bigger picture here, why are we in this scenario? Why has this happened?,” Shah told Sky Sports.

“Nobody is saying people should be given a job because of their skin colour, I think there should be a system in place where everyone is encouraged to be a part of the system and then the best man should, of course, always get the job.

“But it’s phenomenal that only such a minute number [of people from a BAME background] are in place, and that just makes you wonder ‘why is that?’,” Shah questioned.

The Black Lives Matter movement has steadily gained strength since the death of African-American citizen George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white male police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly 9 minutes as he lay face down and handcuffed.

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