Anderson calls for cricket to be more active in combating racism

By Sports Desk June 11, 2020

James Anderson expects England players to discuss showing solidarity with West Indies and the Black Lives Matter movement during their forthcoming Test series and called on cricket to do more to encourage inclusivity.

The Windies arrived in Manchester this week ahead of three Tests next month, which will take place behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

Discussing his team doing their part to support protests that have swept the globe in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in police custody, West Indies captain Jason Holder stated that the tourists could take a knee.

"Protesting and standing up for what you believe in is noble and courageous, and something I would never disapprove of." Holder said.

Anderson is certainly of similar mind and conceded English cricket must do more to serve the BAME community after his former international team-mate Michael Carberry told ESPNCricinfo: "Cricket is rife with racism. Black people are not important to the structure of English cricket."

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson said: "I think it's been a thought-provoking few weeks for everyone. It's made me do a lot of thinking.

"We definitely will have conversations as players about what we can do to make a stand. It's something that as players and a game we need to be more active with.

"It's made me think about whether I've experienced racism on the cricket field. I couldn't think of any instances. I wasn't there when Jofra Archer was abused in New Zealand [in 2019].

"It also made me think, have I just turned a blind eye to things? I'll try and support my team-mates if they do suffer any abuse but have I been active in supporting them?

"The game in general as well - I saw the stat that there's one black player that's come through the state school system in county cricket. That's not okay. We need to actively make this game for everyone.

"It can't keep going the way it is. That's what I've been thinking about and is there more that I can do to help as a player."

England captain Joe Root could miss some of the upcoming series, with his wife Carrie due to give birth to their second child at the start of July.

Ben Stokes is in line to step up as vice-captain and Anderson does not believe the superstar all-rounder would be compromised by the extra responsibility.

"Ben's been the vice-captain for a while now," the veteran seamer said.

"He's grown and grown with that responsibility. In the dressing room he's really got a presence He's got the respect of the team.

"The natural thing to do is for the vice-captain to step up if the captain's unavailable. I'd fully expect him to do a great job."

The main challenge heading into the West Indies series for Anderson, as a master of seam and swing, could be new regulations that prohibit bowlers from applying saliva to the ball in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 37-year-old is stepping up his preparations by bowling at England and Lancashire colleague Keaton Jennings and acknowledges breaking the habit of a lifetime is tricky, although he still expects most of the usual assistance pace bowlers enjoy in English conditions.

"It's going to be unusual," he added. "For me it's a natural habit to put saliva on the ball so it's been interesting trying to stop yourself doing that.

"Fortunately in Manchester we get quite a lot of rain, so I've been able to shine the ball on the grass.

"As far as I'm aware we can use sweat, so that's something and it'll be enough to polish the ball for it to do something through the air.

"I don't think it's going to be a huge deal for players. We'll manage to prepare the ball well enough for it to swing."

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