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2021 Wisden Almanack: English cricket criticized for stopping on his knees amid fight against racism


Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac editor-in-chief Lawrence Booth wrote in his notes for the 2021 edition of the book that the sport has “lost its temper” over time.

The England and West Indies cricket teams both knelt down on July 8 last year following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in the United States a few weeks earlier. On the same day, former West Indian cricketer and now commentator Michael Holding gave a moving speech about his own experience of racism.

“It was a time to pause and think. Players yesterday and today had already started telling stories of prejudice; the net became a torrent,” Booth wrote in the 158th edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. “The golden rule was simple and brutal: if you were not white, you had suffered …

“For a while cricket has been saying and doing the right things. The ECB has admitted to let it go and promised action … But cricket doesn’t like radicalism (unless it There is money to be made.) As expected, he lost By the time Pakistan arrived, the hold of one knee had been quietly let go, amid supposed concerns about the politicization of the 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 have to… By not taking a knee, the cricket raised a finger.

“If cricket’s response to racism is a reaction of expediency rather than repudiation, everyone loses,” Booth added.

The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is a reference book on cricket published annually and was once coined the ‘cricket bible’.

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

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

Cricket originated in the UK but is now extremely popular around the world, with huge fan bases in India, Pakistan, South Africa and the Caribbean, as well as other Commonwealth countries.

READ: Australia’s first international cricket team has found fame in the UK. At home they were betrayed

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Booth cited a few examples of suspected racism in England, including Indian drummers Cheteshwar Pujara revealing in 2018 that his Yorkshire teammates called him “Steve” because they found his name too difficult. Another former Yorkshire player, Azeem Rafiq, has also accused the county cricket team of racism.

When approached by CNN, Yorkshire County Cricket Club said it took the claims “very seriously”.

“Racism has no place in our society or in our sport,” he said. “We have taken the claims of our former player, Azeem Rafiq, very seriously and a full investigation by an independent law firm began in September of last year.

2021 Wisden Almanack: English cricket criticized for stopping on his knees amid fight against racism

“This is a very important investigation for the club and for our sport, and we have embarked on a full and thorough process to provide a detailed set of recommendations that we will publish in the coming weeks.”

In response to the allegations and the growing discussion of racism in the wake of Floyd’s death, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a new anti-discrimination code of conduct for professional and grassroots gaming in order to ” fight discrimination and promote greater inclusion. and diversity through play. “
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In addition to scholarships aimed at increasing diversity among coaches and a “reassessment of how the ECB attracts, develops and manages its performance for its match officials,” he says he will work alongside the Football Association. professional cricket to deploy an anti-racism program that “raises awareness of cultural differences and unconscious bias in the context of racism in professional cricket, and addresses issues such as workplace jokes and inappropriate non-verbal behavior.”

“We remain absolutely committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination and making the game more inclusive and diverse,” said Tom Harrison, Managing Director of the ECB.

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

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