Jason Holder disappointed at ‘lack of solidarity’

West Indies captain Jason Holder said he was disappointed that international teams had dropped the practice of taking a knee to protest against racial injustice during the English cricket season.

The Caribbean side arrived in England in June while the country was in coronavirus lockdown, playing three Tests behind closed doors.

During the home side’s series against the West Indies and Ireland, players from both teams took a knee but the move was abandoned during subsequent campaigns against Pakistan and Australia.

West Indies great Michael Holding criticised the decision and Holder said he felt let down.

“I personally was a bit disappointed to see how the Pakistan and Australia tours that went on after ours, that they were not showing their solidarity afterwards,” the skipper said.

“It’s a hard challenge and a long hard road. It’s not an overnight fix but the most important thing is we need to come together and see each other as equal human beings.”

Holder’s remarks came as he accepted the Cricket Writers’ Club (CWC) Peter Smith Award, announced on Tuesday, which recognises outstanding contribution to the presentation of cricket to the public.

The panel that made the award to Holder and the West Indies said: “Holder led a trailblazing tour party that flew into the unknown at the height of the Covid-crisis in the UK, from the relative safety of the Caribbean.”

Holder is currently playing in the Indian Premier League in the UAE but said he had yet to have a conversation around racial issues during this year’s edition of the Twenty20 tournament.

“Sometimes it seems it has gone unnoticed, which is a sad thing,” he said. “I guess it’s for us to re-highlight the importance of it. Covid has obviously attracted a lot of attention around it. Cricket West Indies has done an excellent job in continuing awareness of it.”

Premier League footballers have continued to take a knee and Lewis Hamilton has led F1 drivers in the gesture, though some have chosen not to join in.

Les Ferdinand, director of football at English second-tier side Queens Park Rangers, said last month that the gesture was no longer effective, urging concrete action.

Holder also said playing cricket in a bubble was mentally challenging but was “probably the only option” for cricket during the coronavirus.

“It is hard because it takes a toll on your mental health,” he said. “I’ve never been indoors so much in my life. Back-to-back bubbles have not been easy.”

England batsman Zak Crawley won the CWC’s young cricketer of the year award while left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone won the women’s cricket prize. Former England captain Alastair Cook was named Championship player of the year.

Oman Observer

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