Half a century ago cricket was played in state schools to an extent almost incomprehensible today
later exams and a later summer holiday, creating a proper cricket term. It could also seek to incentivise staff who volunteered to supervise games. Ministers should encourage schools to form relationships with local clubs, with a view to sharing facilities, and with local independent schools, some of whom do little to merit their charitable status: in some places this already happens. The effects of such initiatives should be considerable, not least among children in our black and Asian communities.
Some will remember the Haringey Cricket College, which almost 40 years ago arranged training and games for predominantly black boys in a deprived part of north London, producing in the process the occasional great player, notably the Middlesex and England fast bowler Norman Cowans.
All over our cities boys and young men are stabbing each other to death as they get sucked into a poisonous culture of gangs and drugs. Could they not be playing cricket instead?
The chances of young people whose parents cannot afford to send them to an independent school ending up as top-level cricketers remain at the mercy of the Government, because the Government controls the schools they attend. It does not take enormous brains to rectify the problems the Sutton Trust and the SMC have identified, just some money – which could be privately raised – organisational ability and political will. And all that those things require are leadership.