Archer defends English cricket over Holding's anti-racism blast

By: AFP      Published: 08:14 PM, 14 Sep, 2020
Archer defends English cricket over Holding's anti-racism blast

Jofra Archer said England have not "forgotten about the Black Lives Matter" campaign after they were strongly criticised by West Indies great Michael Holding for no longer taking a knee.

England and West Indies cricketers adopted the gesture at the start of each of their three Tests in July to show their support for the campaign to fight racial injustice.

The practice was repeated during England's one-day matches against Ireland but not in subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia.

Holding, an outstanding fast bowler in the successful West Indies teams of the 1970s and 1980s, recalled in July the ugly incidents he experienced as a young cricketer on his visits to Australia and England.

He accused England bosses and Australia captain Aaron Finch of making "lame" statements over ending the practice of taking a knee.

But Barbados-born quick Archer told a conference call on Monday that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was taking the issue seriously.

'Harsh for Mikey' 

"I'm pretty sure Michael Holding doesn't know anything that is going on behind the scenes," he said.

"I don't think he has spoken to (chief executive) Tom Harrison. I think that is a bit harsh for him to say that. I've spoken to Tom and we have stuff running in the background. 

"We've not forgotten, no one here has forgotten about Black Lives Matter. I think it is a bit harsh for Mikey to not do some research before criticising."

Archer has been subjected to racist abuse on social media and the 25-year-old Sussex quick said tough action was needed to clamp down on such remarks. 

The England paceman took 3-34 as the world champions fought back to beat Australia by 24 runs in the second one-day international at Old Trafford on Monday to level a three-match series ahead of Wednesday's finale.

England have won all of their previous series across all formats during a home season overshadowed by the coronavirus, with players holed up in bio-secure bubbles and matches played behind closed doors.

"I remember when we first came into the bubble, we said we wanted a clean sweep of the summer," said Archer. "We just need to go two days from now and do it."

But the bowler, ruled out of the second Test against the West Indies in Manchester in July after breaching Covid-19 regulations, admitted life had been tough.

"I'll tell you, it has been mentally challenging," said multi-format star Archer, who has spent 87 days in the bubble -- more than any other England player.

And he said that meant it was unlikely he would join up again with the Hobart Hurricanes in Australia's T20 Big Bash League.

"I'm not sure how many more bubbles I've got left in me for the rest of the year," he said. "I haven't seen my family really since February and it's September now. 

"The IPL (Indian Premier League) is going to be most of October, November we (England) go to South Africa, hopefully.

"That only leaves me with a few weeks in December for the rest of the year. I love my Hobart family, but I think I need to spend some time with my real family as well."