The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a partnership with Microsoft to develop the governing body's 'Inspiring Generations' strategic plan.
The governing body will utilise Microsoft's technology within the partnership and unlock a range of opportunities from driving innovation across the ECB's elite teams to providing life-changing skills at grassroots level.
According to a statement from the ECB, the partnership will "redefine sport-technology relationships" as it looks to establish meaningful and sustainable changes across three key areas, which are: Cricket Communities, High Performance and Cultural Transformation.
Digital skills training will be provided to grassroots cricket communities over the coming years, which will also contribute to Microsoft's 'Get On' campaign, designed to help 1.5 million people build careers in technology by 2024.
Additionally, the collaboration will see the ECB work with Microsoft to explore how artificial intelligence (AI), real-time data and analytics can inform the performance of England's national teams, as well as using ball tracking technology to potentially unearth the next generation of elite cricketers and engage more diverse talent across the whole sport.
"This partnership has the potential to transform every level of our game," started Tom Harrison, CEO at the ECB. "The ability to drive innovation across high performance cricket will support the continued excellence of our elite teams, and the opportunities we will provide together across the whole recreational cricketing community will improve the life chances of many young people and adults.
"We could not have a better partner than Microsoft as we look to put technology at the heart of our business, develop the culture of the game, and bring our purpose to life.”
Clare Barclay, CEO at Microsoft UK, added: "Microsoft is proud to support the England and Wales Cricket Board in its quest to become a digital-first organisation that can meet the needs and expectations of fans and players now and in the future.
"A key aspect of our work together is to create long lasting economic change in local communities by helping people acquire digital skills so vital to their futures. This partnership is a great example of how we at Microsoft can fulfil our mission of empowering people and organisations around the world to achieve more."
Author: Jake Wilkin