Cricket is an emotional game for almost all fans. The recent example of attachment with the sport was evident with the England vs New Zealand WC19 final that ended up hurting the sentiments of not just New Zealanders but almost all the cricket fans around the world. However, this does not mean you have a free pass to yelling racial slurs and abuses. But unfortunately, the world is not an entirely safe place, and the hooligans in the stadiums disrupt the flow of the game.
Source: The Independent
One such incident occurred recently during the last day of the first Test cricket match between England and New Zealand. Since the World Cup, this tour was the first time both the teams were clashing, and the spirits were high.
New Zealand is hosting the tour, and during the match at Mount Maunganui, the English team did not fare well as all the batsmen struggled to stay on the crease to win the match from the hosts.
After the match, the English all-rounder took to Twitter to express his concerns over the racial abuse that was thrown his way after he was sent to pavilion by the Kiwi bowler, Neil Wagner. The tweet said,
“A bit disturbing hearing racial insults today whilst battling to help save my team, the crowd was been amazing this week except for that one guy.”
Already a Twitter celebrity, the tweet attracted massive attention with follower criticizing the incident and showing support to the cricket. The New Zealand cricket board took immediate action and condemned the act in strong words. New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive, David White raised the matter publicly and apologized to Archer in person after his arrival in Hamilton for the second test.
He stated that “if we find the offender we will hand him to the police.” The home team was thoroughly embarrassed and established that this was an individual act that starkly contrasts with everything that the natives stand for.
An investigation has been opened by England and Wales board regarding the incident and White has also promised to take strict action against the offender. He announced that if the offender is identified then he would be “banned from all New Zealand cricket stadiums”. According to White, the English board and Jofra Archer have appreciated their support and apology.
Furthermore, the New Zealand skipper, Kane Williamson labelled the incident as “horrific” and said he would personally apologize to Archer as the tweet clearly showed the emotional damage done to the cricketer. The Kiwis did not underestimate the weight of the incident as Williamson lamented how the New Zealand society is “multicultural” and practices like these should be “put to bed quickly.”
The managing director of England’s men’s team, Ashley Giles, is now closely monitoring the situation. Even though he believes it is not a “New Zealand Cricket problem”, he still appreciates the measures and apologies of all the members of the board and team.
He stated that “(Jofra)is an important part of the team” and this incident might compromise with his productivity as a cricketer. He assured that the team is “rallying” around him as he emphasized on the issue itself.
Giles said, “It’s a problem in sport still, clearly. It’s terrible in this day and age that this sort of thing is still happening and when it does happen, and that person isn’t identified much quicker – even by the people around them – it’s really disappointing.”
Source: Yahoo News
With England all set to play the second test in Hamilton, Jofra issued a statement in The Daily Mail, saying it is time to “move on” from the incident but reinforced that it is a “real shame” that racial prejudice is still prevalent in the game.
Sledging and intense crowd participation are important parts of any sport, especially for touring teams. However, strict actions should be taken against any personal attack whatsoever.