The racism issue in English cricket has apparently taken an Indian turn in the wake of the Ollie Robinson controversy. The English cricket hierarchy is reportedly investigating more historical social media posts, and also messages from Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan put out in 2017 and 2018, allegedly mimicking Indians.
Morgan is England’s limited-overs captain and he also leads Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. Buttler, apart from being England’s No. 1 wicketkeeper-batsman, is also a star player for Rajasthan Royals. Brendon McCullum, the current KKR head coach, was involved in the sequence as well, quoting one of Buttler’s tweets and filing a post.
Another England player from the current set-up is under the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) probe after Wisden unearthed a tweet, publishing its content but not disclosing the name of the cricketer, as he was under 16 years of age at the time.
Buttler and Morgan’s tweets
As reported by The Telegraph (London), the ECB is investigating the past tweets from Buttler and Morgan that appeared to have mimicked Indians by tweeting using “Sir”. As per the screenshots, on 09/08/2017, Buttler wrote on Twitter, replying to @AlexHales1, @TrentBridge and @BrettAH26: “Well done on double 100 much beauty batting you are on fire sir”. It was followed by: “I always reply sir no1 else like me like u”. On May 13, 2018 Morgan wrote: “Sir you’re my favourite batsman @josbuttler”. McCullum quoted that tweet with a post: “@josbuttler Sir, you play very good Opening batting.”
Future course of action
After suspending Robinson, “pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation”, for his offensive/abusive tweets posted eight and nine years ago, the ECB has initiated a crackdown on cricketers’ social media use. Accordingly, Buttler and Morgan’s Twitter posts will be investigated to decide if any action needs to be taken.
Even fast bowler James Anderson has been dragged into a Twitter controversy, as The Telegraph reported about a tweet from 2010, allegedly homophobic in nature, during a conversation with his team-mate and new-ball partner Stuart Broad.”I saw Broady’s new haircut for the first time today. Not sure about it. Thought he looked like a 15 yr old lesbian!” Anderson wrote.
On Tuesday, Anderson spoke about the anxiety in the England squad as regards to what would come next on the heels of the Robinson issue. At the same time, he said that the team has accepted the latter’s apology.
Holding calls for perspective
Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has called for perspective in judging Robinson’s case and punishing the player.
“[It was] eight, nine years ago. Can the ECB then find out please, if beyond that time, Robinson has kept on behaving like that, saying things like that, tweeting things like that?” Holding told Sky Sports News. He added: “If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and he has done nothing like that and he has changed his ways in recent years, then I don’t think you should come down too hard on him.”