The game of cricket is centuries old, rooted in strong traditions and principles. But now, the England and Wales Cricket Board—the governing body for cricket in England and Wales, and a leading voice of cricket on the world stage—is looking to modernize and grow the sport in more ways than one.
With over 2.5 billion fans across 180 countries, and more than 10 million fans in the United Kingdom alone, cricket is the second-most popular sport in the world after soccer. The game has a unique ability to connect fans and communities. And now, in partnership with Microsoft, the ECB is harnessing that connection and technology to create change by improving team performance, empowering local cricket communities, and driving cultural transformation.
Tech for better performance
The use of technology to improve performance is vital to any sports team. This is particularly true in cricket, where technology and data can be used to show how players perform in incredible detail across all three disciplines: with the bat, with the ball, and in the field. These insights can also help coaches identify the traits that predict how a player with potential might perform at the very top level of the sport. Teams, coaches, and captains who have this intimate data-driven understanding of their players gain a valuable edge with decision-making—which can ultimately be the difference between victory or defeat.
But ECB believes that cutting-edge technology shouldn’t just be accessible at the elite level—it should also have a lasting impact across the broader cricket community.
Microsoft will support the ECB to use more technology in cricket to unearth the next generation of elite cricketers and will provide more opportunities for diverse talent across the game.Derrick McCourt, GM of Customer Success, Microsoft UK
As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has previously noted, technology can be the key to uncovering the stars of the future who otherwise might never have been discovered due to a lack of opportunity. It is this ethos that ECB want to instill across the whole game, underpinned by Microsoft’s technology.
Empowering cricket communities
Beyond the field of play, Microsoft and the ECB will together launch programs aimed at improving the life chances of people across England and Wales. This will initially focus on the development of digital skills for adults and young people across the 5,000-strong cricket club network to help empower them beyond the game of cricket and create long-lasting value in local communities.
This will be part of Microsoft UK’s ‘Get On 2021’ campaign, which aims to address the widening digital talent gap, accelerate technology adoption, drive productivity, and enhance long-term competitiveness by increasing access to tech careers and fostering new talent pathways.
Driving cultural transformation
While the program is based in the UK, it has the potential to be a model for future programs in other communities around the world.
By combining the ECB’s deep knowledge of cricket with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization around the world with technology, the goal is to create long-lasting change for individuals and communities. As the partnership grows, the ECB will highlight and celebrate stories that illustrate the power of cricket and technology to connect people and communities to new possibilities.