I had a haircut on Sunday and just as I was about to enter there was a mother taking photos of her son who just had his hair cut too and as I waited for my turn I wished that the boy was wearing a cricket blue shirt instead of a Watford kit. We as a nation are slowly getting back to enjoying the things in life that we had taken for granted but as we recognise the importance of the small things in life we should not forget the bigger picture. The Test match that is going together will be historic irrespective of the result of the series because this series will be a beacon of hope for future generations.
I am glad that the first Test match in the post Covid19 period will be between England and the West Indies. This becomes even more significant considering the racial and political tension that is taking place all over the world. Darren Sammy and Michael Carberry are cricket’s equivalent of Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano of the #MeToo movement. The #MeToo movement has shown us how to protest in the correct manner and bring lasting change through that. Racism and other forms of discrimination exist in cricket as well as in England. Black Lives Matter has brought this issue to the forefront but the other minority communities must not be forgotten. I will never advocate for a quota system in cricket but more should be done at the grassroots level to encourage people from the BAME community to see cricket as a viable career. Both Monty Panesar and Michael Carberry have clearly stated that they were there to play cricket and that was the thing that mattered. They did not see themselves as the first Sikh person to play for England or the first black person since Alex Tudor to play for England.
We know that both England and West Indies will wear the Black Live Matter logo on their shirt and both will possibly kneel in solidarity although I sincerely hope that it is not for the full 8 minutes and 46 seconds because I do not want to see them get injured This is one of the right ways to protest against the needless murder of David Floyd. Similarly, there could not have been a more befitting reply than Michael Holding getting Tony Greig out cheaply in three out of the four games that both of them were involved in the infamous “Grovel” series. Ian Botham quit Somerset when they sacked Viv Richards and Joel Gardner. The wrong way to protest was when Brian Lara and other members of the West Indies squad decided not to play despite Nelson Mandela personally requesting them to do so for essentially what amounted to a pay dispute for Brian Lara. The series went on to become one of the most one-sided series in Test History. Karma can be a bitch but a blessing too so I am confident that the players taking part in this series will go on to do great things.
We have started to enter the stage where we have started to enjoy getting back to the hairdressers and hopefully people will be back playing recreational cricket this weekend. Today is 15 years since the London bombing and I still can see and feel what happened that day. In 15 years time will this be another series that took place in a shortened cricket season or will we remember it as a great series where two cricket boards got together in turbulent times to give hope to the world during one of the darkest times in recent history.