Jofra Archer hits back at Michael Holding over England cricket team's lack of support for Black Lives Matter

Scyld Berry
·2-min read
Both sides took a knee before each match between England and West Indies - GETTY IMAGES
Both sides took a knee before each match between England and West Indies - GETTY IMAGES

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has criticised the former West Indian great Michael Holding for saying that England and Australia should have taken a knee in their two white-ball series. England had done so this summer until they played Pakistan in August.

 “I think it is a bit harsh for Mikey to not do some research before criticising,” said Archer the day after he had been player of the match in England’s 24-run defeat of Australia which set up a series-decider on Wednesday.

“I’m pretty sure Michael Holding doesn’t know anything that is going on behind the scenes,” Archer said. “I don’t think he has spoken to Tom Harrison (CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board).

“I think that is a bit harsh for him (Holding) to say that. I’ve spoken to Tom and we have stuff running in the background. We’ve not forgotten, no one here has forgotten about Black Lives Matter.”

Telegraph Sport understands that England’s two captains, Eoin Morgan and Joe Root, have been driving a project to spread cricket in the BAME community. The project would be part of the ECB’s new Inclusion and Diversity programme but largely driven by the England players and their social conscience, in spite of the ECB’s cost-cutting as a consequence of Covid-19.

The lockdown restrictions placed on the players and coaching staff have inevitably slowed down the project which Archer referred to, but the players will be briefed on the eve of Wednesday’s decider. Further research into which project to back will follow immediately after this ODI series ends on Wednesday night and everyone can finally leave the bubble.

Holding, responding to Archer's comments, told ESPNcricinfo that “taking a knee does not prevent other action from taking place," Holding said. "Those who take a knee are not substituting the gesture for other positive action.”

Of all the England players, Archer will have spent the most time in England’s bubble this summer - 87 days, including five days in self-isolation after breaching the team protocol by going home between the first and second Tests against Pakistan.

“I’ll tell you, it has been mentally challenging,” Archer said. “We’ve been in here for 16 weeks or something like that, I can’t remember, I think it is going to be more rare going home or being normal again. Here has become the new norm. We’ll just have to adjust again when we get some time off.”