WHEN Yorkshire County Cricket Club were rocked by allegations of racism, they called in one person who is known for taking tough decisions and effecting change through consensus. That man is Lord Patel of Bradford.
Few will forget the words of their former club captain, Azeem Rafiq, when he appeared in front of the media and sport select committee. In tears at times, Rafiq told the world what happened to him and how he as ignored by the club. Patel knew what was at stake, and he told a packed news conference at Headingly, “Racism or any form of discrimination is not banter.” Gentle, mild-mannered and polite he might be, but never, ever underestimate him.
He is much in demand, and my Lord Patel of Bradford, rarely says no to a request which would make the world a better place. Even on New Year’s Day 2021, at 11.57pm, this professorial fellow of mental and public health, engaged with the GG2 Power List. When we asked why he was still working at this time of night when most of us are in bed asleep, he responded “Old habits…!”
After 40 years of public service, anyone else would be thinking of retiring. Not Baron Kamlesh Kumar Patel of Bradford. You just have to read his back story to understand why.
If 2020 was a big milestone, then 2021 was such a huge moment it could change the face of sport in this country. This humble Yorkshireman, and he is fiercely proud of his county, had the previous year stepped down as deputy-chair and senior independent director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB); celebrated his first term as chair of Social Work England (SWE); and took on some influential roles in the health and mental health sector, on top of being