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Saturday, August 1, 2020

England West Indies Series without spectators - interesting commentary

Amidst Corona fears and lockdown, Cricket is happening albeit sans spectators – can you identify this woman seen with Isha Guha ?

In the 2nd Test at Old Trafford, a  delayed start, a full day lost  due to rain could not save West Indies.  The match was far more engrossing that what the scorecard suggests -  England 469 for 9 declared (Stokes 176, Sibley 120, Chase 5-172) and 129 for 3 declared (Stokes 78*) beat West Indies 287 (Brathwaite 75*, Brooks 68, Chase 51, Broad 3-66) and 198 (Brooks 62, Blackwood 55, Broad 3-42) by 113 runs

Ben Stokes, match winner, series saviour. That was the bottom line as England kept alive their quest for the Wisden Trophy with victory in the second Test to level their series against West Indies 1-1. The hosts' 113-run triumph was built on a towering performance with bat and ball from Stokes and means both teams start the third and final Test, also at Emirates Old Trafford, on Friday with it all to play for.

The commentary was interesting !  -  when the West Indies players were  peppered with shortballs,  Michael Holding wielding the mike said, in his playing days -  we were instructed to stay till the cows returned home (sound familiar) and went on to explain, in Caribbean, the farmers would go out with their cattle &  return late in the evening when Sun would be setting !  .. .. then went on to question the bouncers being bowled by Ben Stokes .. .. he has forgotten his own deeds – more specifically the bloodbath at Sabina park.  At Port of Spain in 1976, India created record chasing 403 with ease under Bishan Bedi and bloodbath followed at Sabina Park in Apr 1976.  No Andy Roberts – it was Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel, Bernard Julian and Vanburn Holder.  West Indies won the Jamaica Test by picking up just 11 legitimate wickets. Anshuman Gaekwad, Gundappa Viswanath and Brijesh Patel suffered serious injuries in trying to counter the terrifying West Indian bowling, in fact Mohinder, Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and every other batsman were hit and were bleeding.

After the happenings in USA and the rallies in UK – there is more on BLM and the way some had suffered .. .. ..   former cricketers Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent called for an end to institutionalised racism through fundamental change in society and better education.  Brent, who – if you wonder ? – the same woman holding the mike and commenting during these 2 tests. 

The delay on the opening day of the first Test at Southampton between England and West Indies presented an opportunity for West Indies pacer Michael  Holding, Rainford-Brent (the first black female cricketer to play cricket for England) along with former England captain Nasser Hussain to speak about their experiences of racism in cricket and why the Black Lives Matter movement was important.  Holding delivered a powerful and emotive speech  explaining  why the black lives matter movement has to lead to a change in education, having drawn on not only their own experiences but those witnessed in recent months to detail how society is “brainwashed” into unconscious racism.

Ahead of the Test series between England and the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, Holding and Rainford-Brent took part in a feature that detailed their own experiences of racism. World Cup-winner Rainford-Brent, the first female black player to play for England before her retirement at the start of the decade, revealed the everyday racial slurs that she received, which impacted how she developed her personality to brush and laugh off anything that was said to her in relation to being black.

“Education is important unless we just want to continue living the life we are living and continue us having demonstrations every now and again and having people say a few things,” Holding said.  He referred even to the portrayals of Christ and Judas and how black  was portrayed to be the colour of bad !! Ward turned to Hussain to ask whether he had experienced racism during his lifetime. Born to an Indian father and an English mother, Hussein revealed how he would be abused for his background during games while fielding close to fans, and though he did not want to compare it to what Holding and Rainford-Brent had suffered, the message still echoed a society where racial abuse is deemed acceptable.

Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent has carved out a name more than her long name.     After making her England debut at the age of 17 in 2001, Rainford-Brent suffered the second serious back injury of her career and was out of cricket for two years. She had to take a year away from university and was even advised by the NHS to give up sport full stop, in case she suffered further injuries. She represented England in 22 ODI and 7 T20Is.

In Dec 2014 -   England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has welcomed Surrey’s appointment of the Ashes and World Cup winner Ebony Rainford-Brent as their first director of women’s cricket.  Rainford-Brent’s oldest brother was murdered in Brixton when she was five years old. She came from a sporting family but her potential was spotted randomly during a weekend session at Stockwell Park school in Lambeth, run by the Cricket for Change charity.  

In March 2020, Surrey County Cricket Club launched the African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) Programme offering new opportunities for young African-Caribbean cricketers to enter the Club’s performance pathway. Targeting 11-18 year old boys and girls with sporting potential, the initiative intends to break down barriers for the local African Caribbean community by providing Level 3 ECB qualified cricket coaching, sports science and personal development education, equipment & travel grants as well as chances to meet inspirational role models from their community.   Former Surrey and England bowler Alex Tudor unveiled  the programme alongside founder Ebony Rainford-Brent.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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