WHEN Isa Guha took over as lead presenter for the BBC’s return to televised cricket coverage in summer 2020, it has been a natural elevation for this champion cricketer who has established herself in broadcasting across the globe since retirement in 2012.
Guha, the first Asian woman to represent England, is also part of a new scheme launched late last year to encourage more players of Asian origin into professional cricket.
The South Asian Cricket Association (SACA), of which she is a patron, will offer bursaries, education opportunities as well as coaching aimed at helping British Asian cricketers between the ages of 18 and 24 pursue a career in county cricket.
The initiative aims to address the gap between the participation and professional levels when it comes to British Asians who constitute 30 per cent of recreational cricketers, but only around 5 per cent in men’s professional cricket. SACA aims to increase the percentage of British Asian players within the professional game to 8 per cent by the end of 2024 and 15 per cent by the end of 2027.
Guha is also very particular about closing the gap between men’s and women’s sport.
“It’s something I became more aware of towards the end of my playing career – I started to see the bigger picture and would get frustrated that we didn’t get as much support as the men,” she has said. In 2017, she became the first woman to be appointed to the board of the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
She has many firsts to her name; right from becoming at the age of 17 the first woman of South Asian descent to play for England in any leading sport to being the first British Asian woman to front the BBC coverage last year, each milestone in her career