Seeking inclusivity, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is set to add former fast bowlers Devon Malcolm and Dean Headley to the panel of its match referees. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the two respected former English fast bowlers of African-Caribbean heritage are among the five names added to a "supplementary match referees" panel.
The names are to be announced shortly. Both Malcolm and Headley have remained involved in the game in coaching roles.
Both have retired from active cricket after stellar careers. Malcolm took over 1,000 first-class wickets -- 128 of them in Test cricket with a best of 9/57 against South Africa -- while Headley grabbed an impressive 60 Test wickets at 27.85 apiece before his career was curtailed by injury.
Headley is expected to officiate in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy next week. It's a sign of ECB's commitment to diversity, months after former Test umpire John Holder had called for an inquiry following the revelation that the cricket body had not appointed a non-white match official to the first-class list since 1992.
Holder also claimed they had never appointed a non-white Pitch Liaison Officer, Cricket Liaison Officer, Match Referee, Umpires' Mentor or Umpires' Coach, forcing the ECB to acknowledged the grievances and work on "areas where we need to be better and do more to be inclusive and diverse".
The ECB also announced a raft of measures, including commitment to ensure that a minimum of 15 percent of umpires on the national panel are from a Black and minority ethnic (BAME) background by the end of 2021.
At present, the figure is 8 percent.