Jofra Archer hits back at Michael Holding insisting support remains for BLM
Jofra Archer insists the England cricket team’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement has not diminished, hitting back at Michael Holding’s criticism of the decision to stop taking the knee before matches.
The first three Tests of the summer all began with a show of unity between England and the West Indies, with both sets of players taking the symbolic position on the field of play.
The one-day series against Ireland followed that example but the practice has not been repeated during games against Pakistan or Australia, leading to a stinging rebuke from Windies great Holding.
He has spoken passionately on issues of race all summer but Archer feels his latest comments – which described the England and Wales Cricket Board’s position as “lame” – were misguided.
“We have not forgotten, no-one here has forgotten about Black Lives Matter,” said the pace bowler in forthright fashion.
“I think it is a bit harsh for Mikey to not do some research before criticising. I’m pretty sure Michael Holding doesn’t know anything that is going on behind the scenes. I don’t think he has spoken to (ECB chief executive) Tom Harrison. I have spoken to Tom and we have stuff running in the background.”
The governing body has said its focus is on “long term and sustainable change” within the game but Archer has taken more direct and immediate action when confronted by abuse.
While he has drawn plenty of praise for his excellent recent performances, dismissing Australia’s David Warner four times in a row, routinely topping 90mph and winning player-of-the-match honours for his role in a series-levelling comeback victory on Sunday, there has also been a distasteful element.
Just a few days ago he asked for help reporting a Twitter user who privately messaged him a foul-mouthed tirade, including disparaging remarks about his jewellery and watch, while he has previously taken commenters to account for personal and racial slurs.
“There’s still a small percentage you know? I may be doing well but I saw one lady comment on my chains. Chains have nothing to do with cricket,” he said.
“If she knew me she would know I’ve worn chains from the time I was 14 or 15 years old. I think a lot of stuff is being put into place now, people can be prosecuted a bit easier but I think it might have to go a bit further because some people still aren’t worried about what can happen to them.
“I had one the other day, the guy blamed it on being drunk. My mum would always say ‘you can’t think for people’. All we can do is try to act accordingly, report it and do what’s best. At the end of the day I think I’m strong enough to deal with it, but what happens when they start targeting someone who isn’t as mentally strong and it starts affecting them? We’ve got to try and stamp it out as much as possible now.”
Back on the field Archer will be hoping to follow up his role in England’s unlikely rescue job in the second ODI – a player-of-the-match performance that brought three wickets, a fourth successive dismissal of David Warner and countless 90mph deliveries – with one final push.
Victory would leave England undefeated across all formats against all-comers since the sport resumed after lockdown, as well as preserving their 50-over dominance over their old rivals.
“I remember when we first came into the bubble, we said we wanted a clean sweep of the summer,” he said.
“That’s what we set out to do. I think we have it in sight. We have done great up until now and we just need to go two days from now and do it.”
Archer has once again been consistently faster with the white ball than he was during the previous Test matches, but insists there is no conundrum to be answered. Instead, he believes it is a simple matter of shifting workloads between the formats.
“You can’t run in the whole day. It is actually impossible to run in the whole day bowling at 90mph,” he explained.
“If you can show me someone who does it then fair play. But I’ve not seen any bowler who bowls 90mph do it for a whole day. You do sometimes feel like you hit a wall. I honestly don’t know what it is but if you’re in a good frame of mind I feel you’ll probably bowl a bit faster.”
Dom Bess determined to prove England worth after India struggles
Bess says he knows what he has ‘got to do now to have a successful international career’.
Jake Libby earns draw as Somerset, Hampshire and Gloucestershire open with wins
Worcestershire opener Libby made the second-longest Championship innings ever and was on the field for every ball of the match.
Jofra Archer to find out whether he could feature in IPL next week
Archer has already been ruled out of the initial stages of the tournament after undergoing surgery to remove glass from his finger last month.
Stuart Broad would support social media boycott as racist abuse continues online
Some football teams and players have taken a break from social media.
Snow hits Glamorgan hopes as Rory Burns and Ben Foakes shine for Surrey
Burns made 74 and England team-mate Foakes an unbeaten 81 for Surrey against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
ICC Player of the Month nominations for March announced
Winners of the player of the month awards will be announced every second Monday of the month on the ICC’s digital channels.
Billy Root overshadows brother Joe as England captain suffers against Glamorgan
The visitors closed the second day with the upper hand at Headingley.
Sadiq Khan hoping to attract future IPL matches to London
London has staged NFL, MLB and NBA matches in London in the past and the London Mayor hopes IPL matches can also be staged in the capital.
Dan Lawrence shows early touch as Essex start strongly in Championship
There were big hundreds for Sam Robson, Tom Haines and James Vince.
Sachin Tendulkar thanks medical staff after returning home from hospital
Tendulkar was admitted to hospital last week after revealing he had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been in quarantine at home.