With athletes increasingly making their voices heard on issues that transcend their sport, Isabelle Westbury asks why cricketers continue to stay within the boundary rope.
About halfway through 2020’s bizarre summer of sport, athlete activism was contagious. A flurry of fixtures were postponed in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as it swept through the US and beyond. Professional footballers in the UK routinely ‘took the knee’. And then there was cricket.
At first, there was no question that England’s men, alongside the West Indies, would take the knee before each match of their Test series. But as the summer progressed, with visits from Pakistan and Australia, neither England, nor their opponents, did so. The ECB instead issued a vague commitment to the overall “inclusion and diversity space”. An attempt to please all, to avoid conflict, to detach politics from sport.
The full version of this article can be found in the magazine, Wisden Cricket Monthly, January 2021 (Issue 39)
While coverage is shaped by mostly male, white and privately educated journalists, it will not engage large sections of society
By Isabelle Westbury for Wisden Cricket Monthly
When lockdown started and sport stopped, cricket journalists were provided with a unique opportunity to look in on themselves. Nostalgia replaced live action and sport’s writers, and talkers, turned to what they knew and where they came from. It confirmed, in stark terms, an industry that does not reflect the UK population, whether it be in terms of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, education, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness or geography.
The full version of this article can be found in The Guardian, published 11 November 2020, and the Wisden Cricket Monthly, November 2020 (Issue 36)
As India continues to struggle under the weight of the pandemic, the United Arab Emirates came to the rescue by agreeing to host this year’s IPL. But while fans lap up the cricket, and financial stakeholders continue to enjoy the tournament’s riches, there is a darker side to the arrangement.
The IPL has begun, and it’s brilliant. We only need turn to England’s own unexpected summer of cricket to understand the power and respite of sport in moments like this.
But just as the glitzy razzmatazz of the IPL provides us with the entertainment and escape we so desperately crave, the tournament’s staging in the United Arab Emirates also offers a stark contrast. A contrast between some of India’s most highly paid, well-looked-after superstars and some of its most poorly paid, exploited citizens, without whom the tournament could not have taken place: Indian migrants to the UAE.
The full version of this article can be found in the magazine, Wisden Cricket Monthly, October 2020 (Issue 36)
Australian coach – who has worked for last nine years in England – has endeared himself to county fans because he is emotionally invested.
“The short answer is probably not,” says Jason Gillespie, Sussex’s departing head coach, shying away from the question of whether he might, one day, want to venture beyond the world of cricket.
It seems an obvious question to ask, and not just because Gillespie’s impending departure from English cricket – where he has worked for the last nine years, first at Yorkshire and then, since 2018, at Hove – for a role with the South Australian Cricket Association is a clear moment to appraise his career.
The full version of this article was printed in The Telegraph on 30 September 2020 and can be accessed here.
It’s time to replace the record player because this one’s broken. England have played the West Indies three times this year and after Wednesday night’s effort have beaten the tourists in similar fashion on each occasion, notching up a 46, 47 and now another 47-run win.
Float it up and pace off was the order of the evening as England’s three spinners, Mady Villiers, Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone, picked up six wickets between them. Unless you’ve got the pinpoint accuracy of the fiery opener Katherine Brunt, once again going at under three per over, it was hardly even a choice but to opt for slow and steady.
The full version of this article was printed in The Telegraph on 23 September 2020 and can be accessed here.
There is a real lack of female representation in our sports coverage right now. And it’s a big problem.
Even when there is no sport. Indeed, especially because there is no sport. Because women are disproportionately affected.
Across the sports pages of last Sunday’s nationals, eight Johns wrote articles, as did four Neils(!), and a grand total of seven women.
Of 166 sports articles (I know…) just three were on women’s sport (<2%).
The full version of this thread first featured on Twitter, on 25 April 2020, and can be accessed on Meidum here.
Made by men for men. This, at its heart, appears the issue behind the recent announcement that Emily Smith, a professional cricketer for the Hobart Hurricanes, has been banned from cricket for a year (nine months suspended). Cricket Australia’s anti-corruption code is clear and Smith’s lighthearted post on social media revealing the Hurricanes’ line-up for a match an hour before it was officially announced contravened it.
The full version of this article was printed in ESPNcricinfo on 21 November 2019 and can be accessed here.
David Gower believes there was “an element of implied ageism” in the decision by Sky not to renew his contract once the Ashes finishes next week. The comments come as the former England captain, who has spent more than 20 years with the television broadcaster, prepares for his final Test match behind the mic at the Oval on Thursday.
The full version of this article was printed in The Telegraph on 9 September 2019 and can be accessed here.
The silent treatment. It’s one of those theories, reverse psychology if you will, that is applied to those opponents who are believed to crave the limelight, the attention. Those who need something or someone to rise up against in order to perform at their best. No surprises, then, that it was tried by many against one Pietersen, Kevin.
The full version of this article was printed in The Telegraph on 7 September 2019 and can be accessed here.
They were, both, a once-in-a-generation match. A once-in-a-generation innings. Only there were two. Within 42 days of each other, in fact. Perhaps it was fate, written in the stars. The answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything is, of course, 42. “42 days, in this instance,” said Douglas Adam’s supernatural computer, Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
The full version of this article was printed in The Telegraph on 26 August 2019 and can be accessed here.