England captain Heather Knight calls for more diversity in women's cricket
"Cricket knows it needs to attract more females, more diverse groups of people and that links in with the Black Lives Matter movement"
Last Updated: 26/06/20 10:09pm
England captain Heather Knight says cricket needs to attract "more diverse groups of people" to help the game move forward.
Knight was one of 24 England Women cricketers who returned to individual training on Monday, with the ECB hopeful of a proposed tri-series with India and South Africa in September going ahead.
As sport begins to return following the COVID-19 outbreak, sporting icons worldwide have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and, asked if her team would follow suit when they return to competitive action, Knight called for change.
"It's a conversation we need to have as a team," Knight told Sky Sports News. "It's massively important; I've been following the news and what is going on.
"As a women's team, we're not massively diverse, which needs to change. The ECB are aware of that.
"Cricket knows it needs to attract more females, more diverse groups of people and that links in with the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Ebony Rainford-Brent has spoken really well about what they're doing at Surrey [launching a scholarship programme to increase participation] and I'd love to see that spread out across the country.
"There's obviously a lot of work to do but the ECB know that's an issue that needs to be addressed."
Knight also welcomed the appointment of Clare Connor as the first female president of the MCC in the organisation's 233-year history, adding that "more female voices in cricket will push the game forward".
Former England captain Connor - now managing director of England women's cricket at the ECB - will take up the role in October next year, succeeding Kumar Sangakkara.
"It's brilliant," Knight said. "I'm really chuffed for Clare. I'm really proud of what she's doing and what she has achieved. It's another of those things she can put on her long list on her CV.
"To be the first female [in 233 years] is amazing. Women were only allowed in the Long Room around 20 years ago.
"And Lord's is obviously a special place for me, winning that  World Cup final there with the rest of the team.
"It's great that has been addressed; just having more female voices in general in cricket is so important, on boards and in the conversations that go on behind the scenes. That's going to help push the women's game forward and keep it moving in the right direction."
As for Knight's return to training, the England skipper spoke of her relief following the three-month, coronavirus-enforced break, while she is optimistic the planned tri-series for September will go ahead.
Asked if she felt any frustration at the women's game taking a backseat to the men's - who start a three-Test series against West Indies on July 8 - Knight said she was willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the game.
"To get back this week has been amazing. I've absolutely loved it, added Knight. "When we first found out, it was a bit of a relief, something to focus on.
"The ECB have done a great job to get us back into training and to be part of those conversations around playing international cricket later in the summer.
"Obviously there's only a certain number of grounds that can be venues for these bio-secure events, so that limits the amount of cricket that can be played at the same time.
"The priority was to get the men back and, financially, that was the right decision for the ECB.
"It's great that hopefully we can play in September; it's not ideal in any stretch of the imagination, not playing all season, but that's the way it is.
"If us making a bit of a sacrifice, in terms of us not playing for a while, means that that the game is in a good financial position, I'm perfectly comfortable with that."