'Cricket has been torn apart' – Leicestershire chair Duke resigns early and calls for 'fresh leadership at national level'

Mehmooda Duke
Mehmooda Duke was due to stand down in March to take up her role as High Sheriff for Leicestershire

Leicestershire chair Mehmooda Duke has left the club, four months before her planned resignation in March.

She had been one of only two black and ethnic minority chairs among the 18 first-class counties.

Duke, a lawyer who runs her own practice in Leicester, was also the only female chair across the counties.

“Cricket has been torn apart by recent events and I’m deeply saddened by the hurt felt by individuals within our game,” Duke said in a club statement.external-link

Vice-chairman Jonathan Duckworth will take on the role as interim chairman up until Leicestershire’s 2022 AGM.

Duke’s early departure comes as the England and Wales Cricket Board prepare to release a 12-point plan in an attempt to learn from the sport’s racism scandal.

Former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq was found to be the victim of “racial harassment and bullying” during his two spells with the county by an independent report, but nobody at Yorkshire was disciplined.

But the fallout from that decision led to the resignations of Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur, with Hutton’s replacement Lord Patel setting up a whistleblower hotline which was contacted by 36 people in its first week.

Rafiq, 30, also gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee earlier this month where he described English cricket as “institutionally racist” from his experiences.

“I wish all of my colleagues on the board and across the network all the very best for the future,” Duke said on her departure from Leicestershire.

“With fresh leadership at national level and with a determination to learn from the recent past and move forward, I hope that racism and discrimination will be expunged from the dressing rooms, the fields, and the game as a whole, allowing us to celebrate the diversity which makes cricket and sport in this country so great”.

Worcestershire chairman Fanos Hira praised Duke’s work in her near three years in the post at Grace Road.

“Mehmooda has done a sensational job at Leicestershire CCC and leaves them stronger than when she joined them,” he told BBC Sport.

“I think she is a loss to cricket, but a gain to whatever she applies her considerable skills to. “


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