Players from England and the West Indies took the symbolic position on the field of play before the start of every match in their three-test series in Manchester and Southampton in July. That has not been repeated ahead of England’s matches against Pakistan and Australia in various formats, leading Holding — a vocal advocate of Black Lives Matter movement — to say the England and Wales Cricket Board’s position has been “lame.”
“We have not forgotten, no one here has forgotten about Black Lives Matter,” the Barbados-born Archer said in a video call amid England’s ODI series against Australia. “I think it is a bit harsh for Mikey to not do some research before criticizing. I’m pretty sure Michael Holding doesn’t know anything that is going on behind the scenes.”
The “stuff running in the background” — as Archer went on to say — includes, among other things, a commitment to increase diversity in leadership roles across the ECB and the wider game and a game-wide anti-discrimination charter and code. The ECB has said its focus is on “long-term and sustainable change” within the game, as part of its Inclusion and Diversity Strategy.
Archer has taken more direct and immediate action when confronted by discrimination, like asking for help reporting a Twitter user who privately messaged him a foul-mouthed tirade that included disparaging remarks about his jewellery and watch.
“I think a lot of stuff is being put into place now,” Archer said. “People can be prosecuted a bit easier but I think it might have to go a bit further because some people still aren’t worried about what can happen to them.
“I had one the other day, the guy blamed it on being drunk. My mum would always say, ‘You can’t think for people.’ All we can do is try to act accordingly, report it and do what’s best. At the end of the day, I think I’m strong enough to deal with it, but what happens when they start targeting someone who isn’t as mentally strong and it starts affecting them? We’ve got to try and stamp it out as much as possible now.”
Archer played a key role in England’s fightback to beat Australia in the second ODI on Sunday, which left the series tied ahead of the decider on Wednesday. Victory would leave England undefeated in all formats against the West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia since the sport resumed after lockdown.
“I remember when we first came into the bubble, we said we wanted a clean sweep of the summer,” said Archer, who has spent more days in the bio-secure bubble around the England squad than any other player this year — 87 days from start to finish.
“That’s what we set out to do. I think we have it in sight," Archer said. "We have done great up until now and we just need to go two days from now and do it.”
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