Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack editor Lawrence Booth wrote in his notes for the 2021 edition of the book that the sport has “lost its nerve” over time.
“It was a moment to pause and reflect. Players past and present had already started telling stories of prejudice. The trickle became a stream,” wrote Booth in the 158th edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. “The rule of thumb was simple and brutal: If you weren’t white, you would have suffered …
“For a while cricket has said and done the right things. The ECB admitted they were letting things slide and promised action … But cricket doesn’t like radicalism (unless there is money to be made). Predictably did lost it When Pakistan arrived a knee had been dropped quietly amid alleged concerns over the politicization of the BLM.
“Cricket has been here before: a compassionate 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, Cricket lifts a finger.
“When cricket reacts to racism rather than rejection, everyone loses,” added Booth.
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is a cricket reference work published annually and previously referred to as the “Cricket Bible”.
In it, it names five cricketers of the year in addition to its world-leading cricketer.
Englishman Ben Stokes was named World’s Leading Cricketer 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 UK but is now very popular around the world, with huge fan bases in India, Pakistan, South Africa and the Caribbean, as well as other Commonwealth countries.
To become active
Booth cited several cases of suspected racism in England, including Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who revealed in 2018 that his Yorkshire teammates called 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 took the allegations “very seriously”.
“Racism has no place in our society or in our sport,” it said. “We took the claims of our former player Azeem Rafiq very seriously and a full investigation by an independent law firm began in September last year.
“This is a very important investigation for the club and our sport. We have committed to a comprehensive and thorough process to come up with a number of detailed recommendations that we will publish in the coming weeks.”
In addition to scholarships to increase diversity among coaches and a “reassessment of the way the ECB attracts, develops and manages its gaming officers”, it will work with the Professional Cricketers’ Association to introduce an anti-racism program that ” raises awareness of cultural differences and unconscious biases specifically related to racism in professional cricket and addresses issues such as workplace jokes and inappropriate non-verbal behavior “.
“The new Anti-Discrimination Code of Conduct sends a clear message that discriminatory behavior will be addressed through disciplinary procedures and sanctions. In the coming months we will build on the measures already taken to launch a number of new initiatives that will help us in our next step to make cricket a truly inclusive and diverse sport. “