West Yorkshire businessman breaks boundaries in cricket

Kamlesh Patel
Kamlesh Patel
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A prominent Yorkshire businessman and local cricketer has become the first British Asian man to take up a position on the ECB Management Board.

Northowram Fields cricketer Kamlesh Patel, a second team all-rounder who lives at Thornton, joins a 14-strong Board of Directors at the England and Wales Cricket Board as an independent member.

Patel, whose son Dru plays for the Central Yorkshire League club’s first team, is a Labour Peer in the House of Lord’s and has an OBE.

Currently a professor at the University of East London and Chair of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust, Lord Patel is a former Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission.

Born to Indian parents in Nairobi, Lord Patel moved to West Yorkshire at the age of one, and first played the game in the back-streets of Bradford.

He has worked for the Yorkshire Cricket Academy as a part-time coach and his previous clubs include Wibsey Park Chapel, now Great Horton Park Chapel, in the Halifax League.

A former ambulance-man, special constable and social worker, Lord Patel has become one of the country’s most influential and authoritative spokesmen on issues relating to health, social care and equality and human rights.

He succeeds Lord Morris of Handsworth, who is stepping down from the Board after 11 years as an ECB Director.

ECB Chairman Colin Graves said: “Lord Patel’s instinctive grasp of the role cricket plays in uniting communities and crossing social barriers will be all important as we continue to change how we work as an organisation.

“He is a hugely respected figure and his sound judgment and expertise will be an enormous asset to the Board and the wider game.”

Lord Patel said: “Cricket has been a life-long passion of mine and this is a great honour for me.

“I am a huge advocate of what the sport can bring to the wider community – from instilling life-skills like self-discipline and leadership to improving fitness and tackling wider issues like obesity.”

Lord Patel expects his new role to include attending monthly board meetings and getting involved in projects which widen participation in the sport.

“Of course I will have to force myself to go and watch lots of cricket as well,” he said.

His passion for playing the game remains as strong as ever and he intends to keep turning out for the Westercroft Lane club, where he is a popular, down-to-earth and generous member.

“I love the game and have done so all my life. It keeps me relatively healthy, stops me working and most of all has allowed me to spend time with my son.”