Sunrisers star talks to The Voice to mark Windrush 75.
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Cordelia Griffith was born to play the sport. With Barbados and Jamaica heritage, the ambitious Sunrisers batter is a product of the Windrush Generation who intends to leave her own mark on the game.
Following in her father’s footsteps as a professional cricketer, the 27-year-old has spoken to The Voice, the only British national Black newspaper operating in the United Kingdom.
The PCA and The Voice will be working in partnership to bring readers news and views from professional cricketers from the British African-Caribbean community.
She talks to The Voice about her famous father, why the sport is important to the Caribbean community, her admiration for Sir Vivian Richards and ambitions for the future.
- When did you realise that cricket was important to you?
- Cricket has always been important to me and has been a big part of my life from a very young age. But I probably didn’t realise just how important the sport was to me until 2019 when I was faced with the reality that it was time to start seriously pursuing my career in law and applying for training contracts with law firms.Cricket, then, was not a viable professional career path for women unless you already represented or were on the verge of representing England. Having already taken 18 months, following my Masters graduation from Durham University, to pursue my ambitions in cricket, it was time to start my legal journey.It was at this point, I realised just how significant the sport was to me and how heartbreaking it was to sacrifice something you’d always dreamed of doing professionally.With the introduction of the domestic professional cricket contracts in 2020, I was fortunate enough to be given a second chance to pursue my ambitions of playing professional cricket and aspirations of playing for England; an opportunity I took with both hands, and I am so grateful to be able to do so.
- How significant is the sport to the Caribbean community and why?
- With family from both Barbados and Jamaica, I understand how significant cricket is to the heritage of the Caribbean community. My Great-grandfather would often reminisce about the strength and success of the West Indies team under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd during the 1970s and 80s, and it was clear that the sport gave my Great-grandfather, his generation and the Caribbean community as a whole so much pride.Cricket brought the Caribbean community together in the UK during the toughest of times and will always hold a special place in their heart.
“They have been trailblazers in recent years in inspiring and encouraging young women from all backgrounds to not only get involved and follow their passion for the sport, but have also given them the opportunity to access county and other talent pathways.”
- How influential was your father to your own career?
- I am very fortunate to have a father who is an ex-professional cricketer. Watching YouTube clips of him bowling the final over to win the Benson and Hedges Cup final and hearing stories of his professional career, the highs and lows and the enjoyment he experienced undoubtedly inspired me to dream big and to follow my own aspirations in cricket. But my father has been influential in so many other ways as well. From a young age until the present day, he has spent countless hours coaching me, passing on his knowledge and giving me the tools to progress and succeed in the sport I love. He has shaped and supported me into being the cricketer I am today and the best version of myself I can possibly be, and for that I am eternally grateful.
- Name some of your favourite cricketers and why?
- Viv Richards has always been one of my favourite cricketers. Although I was never fortunate enough to see him play, having watched old clips, I admire just how destructive he could be with the bat and how he could singlehandedly take a game away from the opposition. A true great of our game and a class act!Growing up I also enjoyed watching the late Andrew Symonds, a true entertainer and Charlotte Edwards, a pioneer in the women’s game.
- What are amongst your personal goals this summer and beyond?
- The dream is and always has been to play for England. However, looking to this summer, my personal goals are to put in match-winning performances for Sunrisers and to be one of the leading run scorers in both the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the Charlotte Edwards Cup. I’m hoping that a successful season with the bat for Sunrisers will put me in contention for England A fixtures.
- Why is there a lack of women from a diverse background in cricket? Do you feel the situation will change?
- For me, the two main reasons for a lack of women from diverse backgrounds in cricket are, a lack of access and opportunity coupled with a lack of female role models in cricket from different ethnic backgrounds.I think there is a lack of opportunity for women and girls from a diverse background to access the sport. Unfortunately, cricket is not taught as widely as it could be in schools, and it is not as visible as it could be on television and in the media. Consequently, many women and girls who do not have brothers, fathers or friends involved in cricket, do not know that cricket is a sport that they could get involved or even have a future in.Initiatives such as the MCC Foundation and the ACE Programme have embarked on a mission to increase access and opportunities. They have been trailblazers in recent years in inspiring and encouraging young women from all backgrounds to not only get involved and follow their passion for the sport, but have also given them the opportunity to access county and other talent pathways to follow their aspirations.The second reason for me, is the lack of female role models from diverse backgrounds in the sport. While we can slowly see numbers of Black and Asian women and girls increasing at the grassroots level, the same trend is not occurring at the professional level. Seeing is believing, and budding young female cricketers from diverse backgrounds need to see female cricketers who look like them and who have similar lived experiences in the positions they aspire to achieve.
Growing up I had to look to other sports to find Black female role models for inspiration. I want that to change so that the next generation of young cricketers have role models and heroes in our sport that look like them.
I am hopeful that the situation will change. But more can still be done to increase diversity in cricket at all levels.
Cricket is a game for all and is a much richer sport when it is played by people from all different backgrounds.
- What advice would you give a young woman who was looking to take up the sport?
- My advice to any young girl or woman who is curious or passionate about the sport is to head down to their local cricket club and give it a try. You never know where your journey in the sport will lead.Being a professional cricketer is now a viable and achievable career option, following the introduction of the domestic regional structure in recent years. So I would encourage young women and girls to dream big! Believe in yourself, work hard and most importantly enjoy the process.I would also urge women and girls, whatever their aspirations in the sport, to watch as much women’s cricket as they can.It is a hugely exciting summer for women’s cricket with the Ashes and The Hundred fast approaching.