Report Condemning Cricket is Over-Woke and could Create Problems
Dr Vernon Coleman
Something called the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (commissioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board in a mood of self-flagellation) has caused a storm (and a good many headlines) by complaining that racism, sexism, classism and elitism are widespread in the game of cricket.
Iíve been following cricket all my life. I have spent a huge chunk of my life on cricket grounds. Iíve spoken to many cricketers. And Iíve been inside professional dressing rooms as a doctor. Iíve written four books on cricket (including `The Village Cricket Tourí and `Thomas Winsdenís Cricketing Almanackí) and Iíve written articles for specialist cricket magazines. So, here is the Vernon Coleman Report on the ICEC Report; a report which I suspect I could have written two years ago when they started.
And I believe the ICEC report will do far more harm than good.
But I wasnít in the slightest surprised by its conclusions. The death of cricket has been on the cards for some time. After all, some of those involved with the dangerously fascist Great Reset, the climate change myth and the absurd re-wilding nonsense want to stop all sport because it takes up too much space and involves travel.
To me the ECBís report stinks of woke gibberish.
Equity in cricket, for heavenís sake. Thatís a real ESG word.
The woman who was chairman of the committee is described as having experience in `governance, inclusion and equityí.
What a surprise.
A woman described as a senior independent director of the ECB said: `Promoting equity, diversity and inclusion across the game is critical to the success of our game-wide strategy Inspiring Generations and our purpose of connecting communities through cricket.í
Rishi Sunak, a well-known war criminal, took time off from sending depleted uranium shells to Ukraine to get in touch with the ECB. He wants cricket to be inclusive and open to everybody. I actually rather thought it was. Even blind people play cricket.
I think theyíve all missed the point. (If Iím allowed to have a view on this Ė which I rather fear may not be the case these days.)
Cricket isnít a social programme or an experiment in human resources.
Cricket is a game. Or I thought it was.
If people want to play they play. If they want to watch they watch. If people from some areas of society arenít interested then thatís fine. There are plenty of other games they can play. Cricket doesnít exist to change society and lead us into the Great Reset.
The report makes it look as if cricket had huge problems.
I donít believe it does.
At least, I donít think it did.
I think this report could create some very big problems and it is my belief it could do more harm than good.
They wonít agree with me, of course, but I fear this report will exacerbate suspicions, paranoia, resentment and entitlement and actually create racism.
If you look at tennis, rugby, football, gymnastics, chess, dominoes or synchronised swimming through the same distorting spectacles you could claim they all have problems. There are far more black players in top level professional football than makes statistical sense. How many black tennis players are there in local tennis clubs? How many Muslim women are there involved in synchronised swimming? Enough? Not enough? Too many? Who decides?
The report says that there must be a `fundamental overhaul of the womenís pay structure in order to achieve parity with the menís gameí.
Iím terribly sorry, (and this really isnít a sexist comment, itís a realistic comment) but that is like saying that the members of the chorus in an opera should be paid the same as the lead tenor and soprano.
Look at the stands when women are playing. There are huge empty spaces.
If women are to be paid the same as men then the men will have to take a huge pay cut. There certainly isnít enough money in the sport to pay women the same as the men currently receive.
The report says that Black cricket has not been adequately supported.
I thought teams had black and white players together. Gordon Greenidge and Barry Richards were probably the greatest opening partnership in history. One was black and one was white.
Are we now going to have black teams and white teams?
The report says that `cricket need to have a clear set of valuesí.
No it doesnít need a set of artificially created values.
Cricket needs some laws. Which it has. And it needs players to play the game fairly and honourably. Which they mostly do. Thatís where the phrase `itís not cricketí came from.
What on earth do they mean anyway?
The 317-page report says that costs are prohibitive.
Have they looked at the costs of getting started in motor racing or horse jumping? Or skiing? Or yachting?
Do they want taxpayers to provide every child with a free bat and ball?
Kids who want to play cricket need an old tennis ball, a piece of wood and a lamp-post on which to chalk the wickets. And someone to play with.
And look at this quote from Ben Stokes, the England cricket captain, made after the absurd and damaging report was made public: `I am Ben Stokes, born in New Zealand, a state-educated pupil who dropped out of school at 16 with one GCSE in PE. I needed help with the spelling and grammar in this speech and I am sitting here as the England menís Test captain.í
Where is the elitism?
The truth about cricket is that most of the people who play it and watch it are rather decent. They donít play or watch to change society. They play or watch because itís fun. They enjoy it. And the last thing most people think about is skin colour.
It isnít the fault of cricket that the money grubbers sold the TV rights to a satellite TV company Ė thereby ensuring that kids donít watch it and arenít interested in playing.
It isnít the fault of cricket that local authority schools donít play much cricket. Thatís because local councils sold off the playing fields to developers.
Thereís sexism, racism and old-fashioned snobbery in all corners of life.
But cricket isnít any worse than anywhere else though I admit there isnít a Test series for transgender cricketers and there obviously should be.
And let us remember that half a century ago, South Africa was exiled from international cricket because the South Africans wouldn't accept Basil d'Olivera as a Test team tourist. Cricket led the way in this fight, at considerable cost. And it was white, middle aged men who were largely responsible for fighting apartheid.
This accusatory and adversarial report commissioned by the ECB seems to me to be full of modern `Great Resetí language: intersectionalityí and cisgender make an appearance, of course.
The report apparently criticises the fact that some who watch cricket donít like drums being played all day long. Well if I watch cricket I rather like it to be a peaceful activity. Is that now a race crime? Drums and impromptu bands and noisy behaviour should be banned. May I say that, please?
And the report criticises the huge number of cricket followers who dislike the Hundred Ė which is a daft form of biff bat cricket rather too similar to French cricket for my tastes. I want the Hundred (which is, I believe, destroying county cricket) to be forgotten about. Am I allowed to say that?
Are we now to be told what sort of cricket we can enjoy?
Oh, and the report talks about `Type Kí individuals.
`Type Kí people are, apparently `white men, educated in private schools, who are straight and cisgender and do not have a disabilityí.
They obviously all need shooting for daring to be white, educated privately, straight, cisgender (whatever the hell that is) and untroubled by any visible disability.
I would like to think that this utterly awful report will go straight into the bin. And the ECB which commissioned the report should also go in the bin.
But they wonít.
I fear that `actioní will be taken and the death of cricket will get ever closer.
Cricket has been painfully woke for some years now. The annual Wisden seems to have become woke. And I think the MCC is pretty woke too.
And things are now going to get much worse.
Meanwhile, no one is much interested in the real racism in Britain.
In my view the group most affected by racial discrimination in Britain are not black or Asian. They are white men.
Just take a look at the RAF.
The RAF head recently admitted that the RAF has discriminated against white men.
In other words the white men had suffered because they had white skin.
Isnít that racism?
Or is it only racism if non-white people are the victims?
Copyright Vernon Coleman July 2023