'We're making progress, but we must tackle racism in cricket' - Gloucestershire legend Syd Lawrence

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Legendary Gloucestershire fast-bowler and former England international Syd Lawrence says that progress is being made at tackling racism in cricket but more needs to be done, nearly six months after a damning report was published.

In June, an investigation found that the sport was elitist, exclusionary and entrenched in racism.

It prompted an apology from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and top officials from within the game.

At the time, Syd said the findings were not news to anyone who had been in the sport.

He has now told ITV News West Country of some of the issues he encountered during his career, particularly during the early years.

"From day one I think when I used to turn up to trials we used to have a practice game, I was always the last to bowl," he said.

Syd Lawrence playing for Gloucestershire in the 80s.

"I always felt like I was being held back which was incredibly frustrating for me, it felt like a specific boys club and I was never allowed in."

Syd was targeted with abuse when playing at specific stadiums away from Gloucestershire and he even encountered some issues within his team.

That prompted an apology from his former side but he says that he has now made peace with that part of his own history.

He has since returned to Gloucestershire Cricket as the club's president.

Syd says that representing his country was a 'true honour'

His term ended in the summer but he says that as a result of the report in to the ECB and the sport he has agreed with the club he will stay on in the role.

"It was a very proud moment for me when you think that was a club I was returning to after being there as a 16-year-old," he explained.

"I thought long and hard about it all though I didn't want it to be a tick-box exercise at all and I never felt that way. The club's views aligned with mine.

"Normally it is a short-term role but we have agreed we can't achieve what we want in that time so I will be staying on.

"I hope that seeing me in this role people can understand there is people out there you can talk to about any issues."

He says that the ECB needs to target different communities in the sport to try and turn the tide and cultural issues within it.

He says that by trying to improve cricket provision in state schools would be positive, it is also the way he fell in love with it himself.

"We are missing out on such a talent pool in these schools," he said.

"We need to get boys and girls from all backgrounds playing the sport because it is for everyone and it is a family, nobody should ever be disillusioned about whether they can make it because anybody can."