Former England captain Clare Connor will become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in its 233-year history.
The 43-year-old, currently the England and Wales Cricket Board’s managing director of women’s cricket, will take up her new role on 1 October 2021.
She will replace former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, who has been invited to take up a second term.
“I am deeply honoured to be named the next president of MCC,” said Connor.
“Cricket has enriched my life so deeply already, and now it hands me this wonderful privilege.”
The MCC currently has 18,000 full members and voted to allow women to join in 1998.
While membership was immediately conferred on a dozen notable female cricketers, and others qualified as playing members or (like Connor) were given honorary life membership, the waiting list of more than 20 years meant the club only welcomed its first female “ordinary” member in 2018.
Based at Lord’s, which it owns, the MCC acts as custodian and arbiter of the laws and spirit of the sport.
“We often need to look back to see how far we’ve come,” said Connor. “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.”
As a player, all-rounder Connor captained England women to their first Ashes series win in 42 years in 2005.
Sangakkara, who became the MCC’s first non-British president when he assumed office in October 2019, has been invited to remain as president for another year because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cricket.
“I am thrilled that Clare has accepted the invitation to become the next president of MCC,” he said.
“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.
“With the extended lead-in time until she takes office, she will have an important part to play as president designate.”