England bowler Chris Jordan says he hopes that by being a positive presence at the highest level the game can serve as inspiration for young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
Cricket, especially in England, is increasingly under-fire for its lack of diversity, with former England batsman Michael Carberry saying last summer that “cricket is rife with racism” and that “the people running the game don’t care about black people“.
Carberry’s comments forced the ECB to admit that “barriers to enjoying our sport exists”, while Azeem Rafiq’s litigation against Yorkshire over claims of discrimination and racial abuse led to the club issuing a statement that lifetime bans for anyone involved in “vile” threats on social media aimed at Rafiq, his family and his legal team.
Under-representation is a major aspect of cricket’s issues in dealing with and precenting discrimination, and Jordan wants both his performances and professionalism to be something that leads the way for others to follow.
“So many different eyes are on you but the kind of eyes that I’m more concerned about are especially those younger kids from different backgrounds and varying backgrounds that might be looking up to me, who knows, for some inspiration. You try to set an example as much as possible,” Jordan told ESPNcricinfo.
“Bearing that in mind, when I do step onto the field and you do find yourself in certain settings, you know that some of your actions and everything that you do, those kids might be looking towards you for that inspiration. So if they see me trying to continue to improve my game and continue to reach new heights and doing all these things and that inspires them then that’s good enough for me.”
The England bowler is so often the go-to guy for teammates looking for advice; the man able to not only lead his team but also unite it. Tom Banton this week explained how he would ask Jordan for an introduction to Nicholas Pooran, while Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar described him as his team’s “leader”.
“[He’s an] excellent human being, very supportive character,” said Sohail after Jordan’s 1-11 – including a wicket and just two runs from the ninth over of Bangla Tigers’ chase that came up seven runs short – ensured the Qalandars maintained their perfect T10 League record in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking prior to that decisive performance with the ball for Qalandars, Jordan explained that the mentoring role is something he relishes and could be an avenue he explores whenever he hangs up his spikes.
“I do enjoy really working with younger players, I do enjoy encouraging them,” Jordan said. “I’m always willing to share, I’m always trying to help just because I’m trying to live good with people in general and any bit of knowledge I can share or impart on anyone then I’m more than willing to do that.
“If that allows me to transition into a coaching role or mentorship role eventually then when that time comes, I think that I’ll have enough information to make that decision but I stay in the movement as much as possible. I’m enjoying playing my cricket, I’m enjoying continuing to travel the world and continue to improve my skills as well so I’m putting all my energy into that.”
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.