The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the professional game and Sky Sports will come together to celebrate the third year of Rainbow Laces this weekend.
Rainbow Laces is a Stonewall campaign which aims to ensure the message is heard that sport is a game for everyone.
All 18 men’s First-Class Counties and the six Kia Super League teams will play across the period, which runs from Friday August 9 to Monday August 12. Rainbow laces have been sent to every team, while stumps and flags have also been distributed.
Five of the fixtures will be televised live on Sky Sports, starting with the men’s Vitality Blast Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford and ending with the Surrey Stars v Southern Vipers Kia Super League match at the Kia Oval on Monday.
England and Yorkshire Diamonds cricketer Lauren Winfield said: “Speaking as part of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve always found cricket to be a really all-embracing and welcoming sport. It really should be a sport for everyone, regardless of race, background, gender or sexuality.
“It’s great to see ECB and cricket in a wider sense continue to support Rainbow Laces – and to have marched at Pride for the last two years. It shows great inclusivity and value to younger fans that cricket is a game for all.
Steve Gillies, a club cricketer at St Chad’s Broomfield CC who is gay, said: “Personally, seeing rainbow stumps at games and seeing players wearing rainbow laces just gives me a greater sense of belonging. It’s ECB and the counties going out of their way to reassure a minority group that they are welcome in the game.
“There was a time when I worried cricket wouldn’t accept me, that I would forever be an outcast – now I wear rainbow laces every time I walk out to the middle. It’s a small touch that allows me to fully express who I am, with no fear of a negative reaction. You can’t put a price on that.”