Clare Connor. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto via Getty Images)
LONDON: Former England captain Clare Connor is set to become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in its 233-year history as she was named on Wednesday to replace current chief Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka when he steps down next year.
The nomination of Connor, who is currently the ECB‘s managing director of women’s cricket, was announced by Sangakkara himself via video during Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting.
Connor will take up the post on October 1 next year, pending approval by the Club’s Members, as Sangakkara has been invited to remain in the role for a second twelve-month tenure due to the impact of COVID-19 on the cricketing landscape.
“I am deeply honoured to be named the next President of MCC. Cricket has enriched my life so deeply already, and now it hands me this wonderful privilege,” said Connor, who was made an Honorary Life Member of MCC in 2009.
“We often need to look back to see how far we’ve come. I made my first visit to Lord’s as a starry-eyed, cricket-obsessed nine-year-old girl at a time when women were not welcome in the Long Room. Times have changed.
“Now I find myself entrusted with this remarkable opportunity – the opportunity to play a part in helping MCC, cricket’s most influential club, to thrive and grow in an even more modern and inclusive future.”
Connor made her England debut in 1995 at the age of 19, and took over the captaincy in 2000, leading England at Lord’s against Australia a year later.
An all-rounder who bowled left-arm spin, Connor led England women to their first Ashes triumph in 42 years, overseeing a 1-0 series win in 2005.
The Ashes win was the culmination of her six-year stint as captain of her country, retiring from the game shortly thereafter.
She was appointed as the ECB’s Head of Women’s Cricket in 2007, having previously taught English Literature and been Head of PR at Brighton College alongside her cricketing career.
Aside from her ECB duties, Connor has been Chair of the ICC Women’s Cricket Committee since 2011. She has also served as a director on the board of Sussex Cricket and Sport England.
“I am thrilled that Clare has accepted the invitation to become the next President of MCC. The Club has a significant role to play in cricket’s global appeal and with her influence, I am sure she will make a considerable contribution to MCC,” said Sangakkara.
“With the extended lead-in time until she takes office, she will have an important part to play as President Designate,” added the former Sri Lanka captain, who became the Club’s first non-British President when he assumed office in October 2019 and will then stand down in September 2021.