STEVE Silk, the chief executive officer of the Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation, has been appointed to a new England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) sub-committee charged with driving the future of the recreational sport.
The 45-year-old is one of eight appointments to the Recreational Game Committee (RGC) which recently assembled for the first time in Manchester where they were joined by chair Jennifer Owen Adams and Pete Ackerley (ECB directors) along with ECB CEO Richard Gould.
The RGC has been formed, along with a Professional Game Committee chaired by Mark McCafferty, in the wake of the publication earlier this summer of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket report which highlighted racism, sexism and elitism issues throughout the sport.
Silk said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be asked to be a part of a committee which is going to play such a key role in the development of the recreational game.
“The report was a massive wake-up call for cricket in this country. I genuinely feel that the game is in good health but at the same time there are clearly significant challenges to deal with as well as great opportunities as we look ahead.
“I have a massive passion for recreational cricket – I’ve been playing since I was eight – and it has given me so much.
“I want cricket to be as strong as it possibly can be, and I’ll be doing everything I can to help and support all initiatives to make the sport inclusive and available to as many people as we can.”
Silk was appointed to the Gloucestershire Cricket Board, as it then was, in 2009 when it had only two other employees.
Fast forward to today and the word ‘transformed’ barely comes close to describing an organisation that will soon welcome two further members of staff, taking the number of the team to a grand total of 18, while turnover has increased from £300,000 to be about to break through the million-pound barrier.
It’s that experience – of growing the sport in a county rich in ethnic and social diversity across challenging city centre environments as well as its villages, towns and suburbs – that Silk now hopes to bring to bear in his new role.
He added: “I hope that I have a lot to offer. I sense that we are at what I call a ‘critical crossroads’ … there’s so much good happening, for example, in the professional game with the audiences and appetite for both Ashes and the 100.
“But we also have to make sure that the recreational game is not forgotten about, and that’s why I can’t think of a better time to be involved with influencing the sport’s direction in the next few years.
“The first meeting of the RGC was a very encouraging start. There’s a very deep-seated desire to move forward and we’re all ready to do whatever we can to help.”