England cricket criticized for stopping kneeling in midst of fight against racism

Editor of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, Lawrence Booth, wrote in his notes for the 2021 version of the e book that the game “lost its nerve” over time.

The England and the West Indian cricket groups each knelt on July eight final yr in the aftermath of George Floyd’s loss of life by the hands of a policeman in the US simply weeks earlier. On the identical day, former West Indian cricketer and now commentator Michael Holding gave an emotional speech about his personal expertise of racism.

“It was a moment to pause, and reflect. Players past and present had already begun telling stories of prejudice; the trickle became a torrent,” Booth wrote in the 158th version of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. “The rule of thumb was simple, and brutal: if you weren’t White, you had suffered…

“For some time, cricket mentioned and did the correct issues. The ECB admitted that they had let issues slip, and promised motion… But cricket is not fond of radicalism (until there’s cash to be made). Predictably, it misplaced its nerve. By the time Pakistan arrived, taking a knee had been quietly dropped, amid supposed issues concerning the politicization of BLM.

“Cricket has been here before: a sympathetic ear, a pat on the shoulder, a promise that things will change. They never do, but this time they must … By not taking a knee, cricket raised a finger.

“If cricket’s response to racism is one of expedience reasonably than repudiation, everybody loses,” Booth added.

The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is a cricket reference book published annually and has been coined the “bible of cricket” before.

In it, it names five cricketers of the year, alongside its leading cricketer in the world.

England’s Ben Stokes was named leading cricketer in the world for the second year running, while Zak Crawley, Jason Holder, Mohammad Rizwan, Dominic Sibley and Darren Stevens were named cricketers of the year.

Cricket originated in the U.K. but is now immensely popular around the world, with huge fan bases in India, Pakistan, South African and the Caribbean as well as in other Commonwealth nations.

Taking motion

Booth cited a pair of situations of circumstances of alleged racism in England, together with Indian batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara revealing in 2018 that his Yorkshire teammates known as him “Steve” because they found his name too difficult. Another former Yorkshire player, Azeem Rafiq, also accused the county cricket team of racism.

When approached by CNN, Yorkshire County Cricket Club said it has taken the claims “very severely.”

“Racism has no place in our society or in our sport,” it said. “We have taken the claims made by our former participant, Azeem Rafiq, very severely and a full investigation carried out by an unbiased regulation agency started in September final yr.

Rafiq poses for a portrait during the Yorkshire CCC media day.

“This is a very important investigation to the club and to our sport, and we have committed to a full and thorough process to provide an in-depth set of recommendations which we will publish in the coming weeks.”

In response to the allegations and the rising dialogue round racism in the wake of Floyd’s loss of life, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a brand new anti-discrimination code of conduct for the skilled and grassroots sport to “tackle discrimination and promote greater inclusion and diversity across the game.”

As nicely as bursaries to extend variety amongst coaches and a “re-evaluation of the way in which ECB attracts, develops and performance manages its match officials”, it says it’s going to work alongside the Professional Cricketers’ Association to roll out an anti-racism program which “raises awareness of cultural differences and unconscious bias specifically in the context of racism in professional cricket, and address issues such as workplace banter and inappropriate non-verbal behavior.”

“We remain absolutely committed in our resolve to stamp out any form of discrimination and to make the game more inclusive and diverse,” Tom Harrison, ECB chief govt officer, said.

“The new Anti-Discrimination Code of Conduct sends a clear message that any discriminatory behavior will be dealt with through disciplinary processes and sanctions. Over the coming months we will build on the actions already taken to launch a number of new initiatives that will help us in our next step towards making cricket a truly inclusive and diverse sport.”

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