World cricket diversity champion awarded Honorary Degree

A former cricketer who has championed widening participation among the next generation of cricket stars has been awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Leicester at a ceremony today (Tuesday 18 January).

Wasim Khan MBE became the first British-born Pakistani-origin Muslim to play professional cricket in England when he made his full debut for Warwickshire in 1992, and has gone on to serve in positions at the very top of the world game.

A former Chief Executive of Leicestershire Country Cricket Club Wasim served the interests of 220 million cricket-mad fans when he became CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), from February 2019 until October 2021.

During his time in charge, Pakistan saw the return of International Test cricket after 10 years and he was instrumental in the process that saw the country awarded an ICC Global tournament in 2025; the first time since 1996. The PCB thanked Wasim for his “excellent leadership, particularly following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic”, and added that Pakistan “owes Wasim Khan a debt of gratitude for his good leadership”.

Speaking today, Wasim Khan MBE and Honorary Doctor of Laws said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Leicester. I will always be grateful and have gratitude to Leicestershire County Cricket Club for the opportunity to lead the organisation as CEO from 2015 to 2018, prior to going on to lead the Pakistan Cricket Board as its CEO.

“The warmth and support I experienced from the people of this great city and everyone associated with the Foxes will always remain with me. I am sure the sporting clubs will always continue to play their part in leading from the front in shining a positive light on the city.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester said: “I am delighted to confer the title of Honorary Doctor of Laws to Wasim, whose values and view on the world are so closely aligned with our own. 

“Not only through his leadership of both Leicestershire Cricket and Pakistan’s Cricket Board, but through his tireless championing of widening participation in his sport, he truly embodies what it means to be a Citizen of Change.” 

A left-handed batsman with a useful right-arm leg spin, Wasim averaged 49 in Warwickshire’s record-breaking double-winning side of 1995, lifting both the County Championship title and the NatWest Trophy. He also represented England at Under-19s.

After seven years at Warwickshire and stints at Sussex and Derbyshire, he led the Cricket Foundation’s landmark Chance to Shine campaign, which aimed to regenerate competitive cricket in state schools and bolster the next generation of cricket stars. The charity raised £55 million in nine years and reached 2.5 million children, of which one million were girls.

His autobiography Brim Full of Passion received the prestigious award of Wisden Book of the Year in 2006. Wasim sat on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Sports Group, the Prince’s Trust Cricket Group, the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit of the England and Wales Cricket Board and on the Board of Sport England. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s 2013 Birthday Honours for services to cricket and the community.

These are the first in-person Graduation ceremonies taking place at the University of Leicester since January 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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