Wealthy white cricketers are “significantly overrepresented” at all levels of the game, according to research released on the eve of the World Cup semi-finals.
People from wealthier backgrounds and those who went to private schools were much more likely to make it into professional cricket than those who had less affluent upbringings, according to the study by Birmingham City University.
Researchers found British players from South Asian backgrounds were much less likely to make it to the professional ranks, despite the sport being hugely popular among these communities.
Results suggested a lack of access to wealth created barriers to participation and development in the game, contributing to an ethnicity bias on a national scale.
The research found that 56% of under-16 to under-19 cricketers, and 45% of professional players were white-British and went to independent schools.
It echoes a study released by the Sutton Trust last week.
It found 43% of those who have played cricket for England in the last year went to a private school, compared with 7% of the general population.
Of the England World Cup squad, 40% went to private schools and 47% to comprehensives.
Tom Brown, postgraduate researcher at Birmingham City University, carried out on-the-ground research with Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
He said: “Although the majority of state schools offer their students cricket as part of their curriculum, the amount of extra coaches and quality of facilities provided often fall well short of what is accessible to students attending private school.”
Paul Greetham, elite cricket development manager at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, added: “It’s important to note that some pupils gain bursaries or scholarships to attend independent schools, but it is likely that young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds may encounter barriers prior to reaching an elite development standard.”