Hit For Six returns after a week in which historic social media posts overshadowed England's first Test with New Zealand, which ended in a draw
Cricket unimpressed by govt's intervention
Britain’s top politicians have been slammed for sticking their noses in the Ollie Robinson racist tweet storm.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ‘supportive’ of Oliver Dowden’s criticism of the ECB after they suspended Robinson, 27, pending an investigation.
The England seamer’s debut was overshadowed after a number of racist and sexist posts from nine years ago, when he was 18, surfaced online.
Though he shone on the pitch, Robinson was sent back to Sussex immediately after the game and will not play in the second Test beginning on Thursday.
Dowden tweeted: “Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong. They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.”
Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong.— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) June 7, 2021
They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.
But former England international and batting coach Mark Ramprakash was not impressed with the government’s involvement.
"I think it is very unwelcome. He is trying to bear undue influence in this case,” he told the BBC.
"If I was Ollie Robinson, I'm not sure I'd want Boris Johnson involved and trying to support me.
"I've heard people express sort of sympathy with Ollie Robinson, and say 'hasn't he shown a lot of character?', but I haven't heard enough about the victims or the people that these tweets are aimed at.
"How do they feel? Where is the sympathy for those people? They are UK citizens, a lot of them.
"We live in a diverse society and we really don't want this behaviour."
Michael Carberry went one step further and said he has ‘no respect’ for Dowden’s comments, imploring the MP to spend a day in his shoes.
Carberry, 40, played six Tests for England and has been vocal about the prejudice faced by black cricketers in the sport.
He told Sky Sports News: "I think Oliver Dowden needs to come and spend a day with me and live a day in my shoes, and a day in the shoes of most BAME community people, and actually speak from a place of facts and reason.
"Marcus Rashford only two or three weeks ago was trying to do some good in the world, using his platforms and various means. He's trying to do some good in the world for kids of all colours, all races, all backgrounds.
"He's trying to do some good, [and he] gets racially abused — I don't hear Oliver Dowden piping up. So as far as I am concerned I have no respect for what his comments are about.
"He has never been racially abused, he's never been racially discriminated against, so as far as I see it, it's coming from a place of no facts or no reason."
ECB investigating fresh claims
Racist tweets posted by another England international when he was under the age of 16 have now also emerged.
Wisden opted against naming the player due to his age when the remarks were made but confirmed that he had played a Test for England in 2021.
The ECB confirmed they were aware of the posts, which were offensive to Chinese and Asian people.
Their spokesperson said: "It has been brought to our attention that an England player has posted historic offensive material on their social media account. We are looking into it and will make a further comment in due course."
Most importantly, we can work hard to ensure that this great game is inclusive for everybody England head coach Chris Silverwood
The latest revelations came less than 24 hours after head coach Chris Silverwood had reiterated the need for education in the game at the end of the draw with New Zealand.
He said: “The big thing for us all is education. We are all striving to be better, none of us are perfect, and we all need to make sure we are learning all the time.
“We can make sure the world is a better place. Most importantly, we can work hard to ensure that this great game is inclusive for everybody and there’s no form of discrimination whatsoever.”
England boost for blast
The availability of England’s white ball stars has given the Vitality Blast a welcome boost ahead of its opening game on Wednesday.
Relegated to second fiddle behind The Hundred’s first season later this summer, the popular county tournament will see a whole host of players return to action.
At Headingley, Yorkshire are the main benefactors. Adil Rashid will be available for the first time since 2016, while Jonny Bairstow’s last Blast game came three seasons ago.
They will also have Dawid Malan in their side fresh from his 199 against Sussex in the County Championship, while Joe Root will be available once the second New Zealand Test finishes.
For Surrey, Jason Roy, Sam Curran and Tom Curran are all available from the off — the Curran brothers last Blast games came in 2019.
Jos Buttler will feature in the tournament’s opening game when Lancashire take on Derbyshire alongside Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson, while Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes are back for Worcestershire and Warwickshire respectively.
Jofra Archer is not yet fit for Sussex but they do have Chris Jordan in their line-up, while Ben Stokes’ return from injury should see him play for Durham near the end of the month.
While all eyes will be on England’s best over the coming weeks, those county pros who missed out on a deal for The Hundred know a strong season could see them cash in.
Each of the eight sides have a ‘Vitality Wildcard Pick’, which will see them select the final member of their squad at the start of July based on displays in the Blast.
Those spots are worth £24,000 to each player and with a number of overseas players expected to pull out due to uncertainty over Covid, it could be that there are more than eight players on the verge of a lucrative call up.