Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has been appointed as the new patron of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Foundation.
The MCC Foundation is the charitable arm of the Marylebone Cricket Club. It was formed to improve the lives of people through cricket. The 66-year-old Holding is considered as one of the world’s finest fast bowlers and had a cricketing career of 15 years. Since retirement, he has worked as a commentator on Sky Sports’ cricket coverage and, more recently, has earned praise as a powerful and eloquent advocate for ‘racial equality both in the game and further afield.’
“I am thrilled to support the MCC Foundation and its work to make cricket a game that champions respect and equality for all,” Holding said in a statement.
“Cricket has the power to heal divided communities, give hope in the most desperate of circumstances, and transform lives. There are much pain and prejudice in our world, but the Foundation is empowering and inspiring young people through cricket, so that they may build a brighter future,” he added.
An MCC release said that the ‘experience and expertise’ of the Holding will help the foundation strengthen the game at the grassroots level. From coaching and playing opportunities to male and female cricketers to providing mental health workshops, the MCC Foundation is committed to breaking social and financial barriers for cricket.
“From offering coaching and playing opportunities to state-educated male and female cricketers, to delivering mental health workshops, the MCC Foundation is committed to breaking down social and financial barriers to cricket,” it said.
MCC Foundation’s newly appointed director Sarah Fane said, “Over the past year, important conversations around equality and diversity have occupied the public’s consciousness. These have been discussed and felt across all areas of society.”
“While cricket is more diverse than it has ever been, we recognise there are inequalities which still dog the sport, and we are determined to play our part in changing the landscape so that cricket becomes a reflection of the diversity of our nation. I was deeply moved by Michael’s dignified and enlightening contribution to the debate on racism during the England -West Indies Test, and am proud to have him as our patron,” she added.