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Leicestershire head coach Paul Nixon proud to be visionaries of women in sport

Paul Nixon - Leicestershire head coach

Leicestershire cricket club head coach Paul Nixon admitted his excitement working alongside a more diverse boardroom and praised the revolution occurring at the club.

The appointments of Karen Rothery as chief executive in January who replaced Wasim Khan now managing director of Pakistan and Mehmooda Duke, chairwoman at the start of June signify a coup at the club and history of county cricket.

Leicestershire are the first cricket club in the country to have two women in senior positions within county cricket, following Lisa Pursehouse who succeeded Derek Brewer as chief executive at Nottinghamshire in 2012.

Earlier this year Clare Connor became the first woman as managing director of women’s cricket in March.

Nixon, 48, said: “We are the first club to do it in county cricket and it is a very positive move, especially with the way women’s cricket and women’s sport is at the moment.

“It is a great time for women in sport. I think for us to be visionaries in that department is fantastic.

“Karen’s appointment as CEO is an outstanding appointment, she has fitted in brilliantly already and we are looking forward to working together for many years.

“Mehmooda Duke has come in as chairwoman which is fantastic, a real coup for Leicestershire.”

Their appointments come at a crucial time for the club and Nixon believes both are undertaking a more sustainable approach and further connect the Asian community and deal with the financial limitations.

“Leicestershire are a non-Test match ground, so the gulf is getting bigger and bigger between the Test match grounds and the non-Test match grounds.

“The finances are much tighter, we have to be much more stringent with what we spend and how we spend it.

“We never went away on a pre-season tour this year, we could not afford it right now and it is about high priority.

“At the moment when we are trying to update our facilities, the Hundred money we help that massively to try and develop the ground and make it sustainable moving forward for Leicestershire county cricket club.

“We know as players, coaching staff and club employees that everything matters, and everything counts at small clubs.

For Nixon and the club, utilising the community department is essential financially, community-wise and for future development.

Currently the club supports over 120 schools and actively have cricket going on within them.

“The platform that they (students) come and use at Leicestershire county cricket club, kids’ classes come here around the ground as often as we can on days off and during games.

“The kids play on the outfield which is wonderful.”

Currently there are 30 Under-13 girls with three south Asians in the squad, however numbers decrease with only one south Asian out of 15 in the Under-17s team and women’s team.

“The community department are bringing our own, which is a massive part of our success.”

For smaller clubs, the economical option is to bring in our own children within our area and our community said Nixon.

“They have got an emotional connection with the club already. Financially it makes sense to keep them here as well, rather than buy in.”

“We cannot afford to buy in big players from around the country, so it is crucial that our pathway programme, our emerging player programme, our academy and our summer academy are really, really exciting places to be with good coaching, good facilities.”

JOTI KAUR

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