London: Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford, an OBE and a leading voice on health, social care and community cohesion in the UK, has become the first British Asian to join the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Lord Patel, who currently sits in the House of Lords as a Labour Peer, formerly worked for the Yorkshire Cricket Academy as a part-time coach.
Last year, he served on the judging panel of the inaugural Asian Cricket Awards supported by ECB. Lord Patel is a former ambulance-man, special constable and social worker.
He succeeds Lord Morris of Handsworth, who is stepping down after 11 years as an ECB Director.
Commenting on his appointment, ECB Chairman Colin Graves said: "Lord Patel's instinctive grasp of the role cricket plays in uniting communities and crossing social barriers will be all important as we continue to change how we work as an organisation.
Lord Patel said: "Cricket has been a life-long passion of mine and this is a great honour for me. I am a huge advocate of what the sport can bring to the wider community ? from instilling life-skills like self-discipline and leadership to improving fitness and tackling wider issues like obesity.
Currently a Professor at the University of East London and Chair of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust, Lord Patel is a former Chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission.
He served as a government minister in the House of Lords from 2008-2009 and on the shadow front-bench in the upper house from 2010-2012.
Born to Indian parents in Nairobi, Lord Patel moved to West Yorkshire at the age of one, and first played the game in the back-streets of Bradford. He subsequently joined a number of local club sides where he played alongside famous cricketing names in the Bradford League like Phil Sharpe and Geoff Cope.
An all-rounder, he retired in 1998 after taking all 10 wickets in a league game.