London: People from wealthier backgrounds in the UK were much more likely to make it into professional cricket than those coming from less affluent families, according to a study.
The research found that 56 per cent of Under 16 Under 19 cricketers, and 45 per cent of professional players, were White-British and attended independent schools, according to the study from Birmingham City University.
White-British cricketers who were privately educated are significantly over represented at both the professional and youth levels of the game, the study claimed.
Results also highlighted that a lack of access to wealth created barriers to participation and development in cricket, contributing to an ethnicity bias in the sport across Britain.
British South Asian players were shown to be much less likely to make it into professional cricket, despite the sport being very popular among these communities, the study said.
The study, published ahead of England's Cricket World Cup semi-final clash with Australia on Thursday, took in ethnicity data from an England and Wales Cricket Board survey.
Where available researchers also analysed data on the type of school attended to measure relative access to wealth.
Ethnicity and school-type distributions were then compared with expected distributions for White-British', British South Asian' and Other' ethnic groups, revealing the demographic split in the sport.
Researchers concluded that, given the popularity of cricket amongst British South Asian communities, a lack of potential talent was unlikely to be a factor in their under-representation in the sport.
Tom Brown, postgraduate researcher at Birmingham City University carried out on-the-ground research with Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
He said: "Although the majority of state schools offer their students cricket as part of their curriculum, the amount of extra coaches and quality of facilities provided often fall well short of what is accessible to students attending private school."
Paul Greetham, Elite Cricket Development Manager at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, added: "It's important to note that some pupils gain bursaries or scholarships to attend independent schools, but it is likely that young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds may encounter barriers prior to reaching an elite development standard.
"Limited access to transport to attend training or matches and the expense of equipment, coaching and playing fees could all become barriers to reaching that level.