Quotes taken from Lord Kamlesh Patel’s first press conference as Chair of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Kamlesh Patel, Yorkshire’s new chair, has arrived at Headingley with a clear vision.
“I have to believe this is going to be the best place on earth to play and watch cricket,” said the cricket mad Lord.
“It’s a club I’m going to be proud of from this moment onwards.”
In his detailed address to the media, including an apology to former captain and off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, Lord Patel of Bradford OBE spoke of righting the wrongs of the past.
“Yorkshire is my home, and I want to help make Yorkshire County Cricket Club a place for everyone, from all backgrounds,” he told the media.
“I love the game and believe in sport as a driving force for good, bringing us together and uniting us.”
Following his statement, he fielded questions about the current issues and looked forward to a bright future for the White Rose county.
“It’s not just about the South Asian community, it’s about all communities,” he said.
“It’s about the kid from the working class estate who says, ‘Oh, I can’t afford to come here’. It’s about young girls, it’s about everybody.
“That’s what I genuinely want to do, to make it a game for everybody.
“They are our future. This is their home, as it is my home.
“In the next years to come, I want to find the next Joe Root, the next Tendulkar, the next Kohli, the next Babar Azam here, playing for Yorkshire.
“What I’m saying to those people is, ‘The door’s wide open’.
“If we make mistakes along the way, we’ll listen to you and change. But come and live your dreams here. Why should you go somewhere else, why should you have to go somewhere else?
“This club is for everybody in Yorkshire and beyond. I would expect a few lads from Surrey and everywhere else to come because this is going to be the best cricket club in the world.”
Lord Patel also had a message for Yorkshire’s members and supporters. He said: “Walking away at a time when we need you is not what we need you to do if we are going to make Yorkshire County Cricket Club the best club in the world. They need to be a part of it.
“The longer this goes on, the more damage it causes for all of us. I’m going to be working night and day to get the correct processes in place.”
On the issue of sponsorship, he said: “I’m going to be meeting with all of the sponsors and will have to ensure them that there is going to be change.
“Hopefully they will work with me and see that change is happening.
“Of course, if you are a commercial company, you are going to need assurance. You’ll need more than assurance, you need actions to show that we’re not going to be in a place like this ever again.”
Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford OBE was born in September 1960 in Kenya before growing up in Bradford with his family from the age of one.
He is steeped in the game of cricket.
“I grew watching at Park Avenue when Yorkshire were there,” he said, before continuing with a smile: “I love cricket, but I’m not here for my cricketing skills even though I’d like to think I was!
“I’ve played in every single league here, the Halifax League, the Calderdale League, Aire Wharfe League, York and Bradford Leagues. And I’ve made the best of friends through that and have played with some amazing people.”
He has been a social worker for much of his life.
He worked for Bradford Council early in his career and progressed through to being appointed the first chair of Social Work England in 2018.
In 1999, he was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for Services to Ethnic Minority Health Issues.
A member of the House of Lords, he was made a life peer in 2006 with the title Baron Patel of Bradford. He was also named Yorkshireman of the Year by the Yorkshire Society in 2016.
Lord Patel is chair of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s South Asian advisory group and became the board’s first British Asian director. He stepped down from the latter role last year.
He played the lead role in developing the ECB’s South Asian Action Plan, aimed at improving relations with the community and increasing participation in the game.
Lord Patel regularly spoke during his press conference yesterday about going on a journey to re-create a great Yorkshire. And he wants everyone involved, no exceptions.