Jofra Archer defends England’s anti-racist stance after criticism from Michael Holding

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Jofra Archer said England has not forgotten the “Black Lives Matter” campaign after they were strongly criticized by the West Indian great Michael Holding for no longer taking a knee. The cricketers of England and the West Indies took up the gesture at the start of each of their three tests in July to show their support for the campaign to combat racial injustice. The exercise was repeated in England’s one-day matches against Ireland, but not in subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia. An excellent fast bowler on the successful West India teams of the 1970s and 80s, Holding recalled in July the ugly incidents he had witnessed as a young cricketer on his visits to Australia and England.

He accused English bosses and Australian captain Aaron Finch of making “lame” statements about ending the habit of taking a knee.

But Barbadian-born speedy Archer told a conference call on Monday that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) took the matter seriously.

“I’m pretty sure Michael Holding doesn’t know what’s going on behind the scenes,” he said.

“I don’t think he spoke to (chief executive) Tom Harrison. I find that a little harsh for him to say that. I’ve talked to Tom and things are running in the background.

“We have not forgotten that no one here has forgotten Black Lives Matter. I think it’s a bit hard for Mikey not to do any research before criticizing. ”

Archer has been subject to racial abuse on social media, and 25-year-old Sussex Quick said tough measures were needed to curb such comments.

The England paceman took 3-34 as the world champions fight back to beat Australia by 24 runs in the second one-day international at Old Trafford on Monday to play a series of three games ahead of Wednesday’s final.

England have won all of their previous series in all formats during a home season overshadowed by the coronavirus, with players hiding in bio-safe bubbles and games played behind closed doors.

“I remember when we first got into the bubble, we said we wanted to clean the summer,” Archer said. “We have to go in two days and do it.”

But the bowler, barred from the second Test against the West Indies in Manchester in July after breaching Covid-19 regulations, admitted that life had been hard.

“I’ll tell you it’s been mentally challenging,” said multi-format star Archer, who spent 87 days in the bubble – more than any other English player.

And he said this meant he was unlikely to rejoin the Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s T20 Big Bash League.

“I’m not sure how many bubbles I’ll have in me for the rest of the year,” he said. “I haven’t seen my family since February and it is now September.

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“The IPL (Indian Premier League) will take place most of October. In November we (England) will hopefully go to South Africa.

“Then I’ll only have a few weeks in December for the rest of the year. I love my Hobart family, but I think I should also spend some time with my real family.”

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