'Racism in cricket too' - Windies star Gayle calls for unity in face of injustice

By Sports Desk June 02, 2020

Big-hitting West Indies star Chris Gayle joined the strong chorus of athlete voices that have come out in condemnation of racial injustice and was quick to point out the fact that he also faces it in the sport of cricket.

 A growing number of athletes have spoken out in support of ongoing protests that have roiled the United States, where the killing of 46-year-old African American George Floyd by a white police officer has struck a raw nerve.

The Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, was videoed pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck, ignoring the desperate pleas that he was unable to breathe.  Floyd went unconscious at the scene and was later pronounced dead at hospital.   Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder, but protests have boiled over to encompasses a global demand for an end to racial injustice and discrimination.  

In his Instagram post, which conveyed visible frustration, Gayle pointed to the issue of racism in cricket.

“I have travelled the globe and experienced racial remarks towards me because I am black, believe me, the list goes on,” Gayle said on Monday.

“Racism is not only in football, it’s in cricket too. Even within teams as a black man, I get the end of the stick. Black and powerful. Black and proud,” he said.

“Black lives matter just like any other life. Black people matter, p***k all racist people, stop taking black people for fools, even our own black people wise the p***k up and stop bringing down your own!,” Gayle wrote.

 

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    The decision of stand-in England captain Ben Stokes to bat first under forecast overcast skies was looking misguided as the top order struggled to deal with the pace and seam movement of Shannon Gabriel (4-62) and Jason Holder (6-42).

    It could have been much worse for England, too, with Stokes dropped by a diving Kemar Roach at long leg minutes before lunch when the score was 89-5.

    After England resumed on 35-1, Gabriel bowled Joe Denly for 18 and then sent another full delivery down that trapped Rory Burns (30) in front of the stumps. A not-out decision was given by the on-field umpire but that was reversed on review, with Hawk-Eye having the ball hitting leg stump.

    By that stage, Gabriel had removed England’s top three for figures of 3-34.

    Holder replaced his strike bowler after a five-over stint and was just as effective, despite bowling slightly shorter and slower. The captain generated enough movement to deceive Zak Crawley (10) as the batsman fell away and missed the ball, clipping his pad with his bat instead.

    Again, the umpire said not out but a review again showed the ball hitting leg.

    Ollie Pope hit a beautiful drive through the covers for four but was out soon after, edging Holder behind after more seam movement off a shorter ball that Pope could have left because of its height.

    An almost perfect morning for West Indies, played in eerie silence because of the absence of spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, was spoiled by the spilled catch by Roach as he raced in off the boundary to reach a miscued pull by Stokes.

    Stokes was unbeaten on 21 off 62 balls, and Jos Buttler was 9 not out.

    After lunch things just got worse for the England batsmen as Holder picked up where he left off.

    He removed Stokes for a high score of 43, before completely eradicating the partnership by knocking off Buttler two overs later.

    England did manage to score 40-odd more runs courtesy of Dominic Bess' unbeaten 31.

  • Langer: Australia must tour England 'for the health of world cricket' Langer: Australia must tour England 'for the health of world cricket'

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  • Still supporting Gayle-less Tallawahs Still supporting Gayle-less Tallawahs

    I’m a Chelsea fan.

    Now that is not a popular thing to be in my native Jamaica but I’ve been one since 1995, some 25 years ago.

    I was not a fan of what used to be English football and at the time, the only team in the Premier League with any international flavour was Chelsea.

    Chelsea boasted a squad with one English starter in Dennis Wise and were the only team in England that played with the type of flair I had grown up seeing from my father’s team of choice, Brazil.

    Arsenal had not yet become the free-flowing team it became popular for and Manchester United, though winners, were not a target of my fancy.

    But Chelsea, for all their beautiful football, were a mid-table team at best.

    When they started to win, courtesy of an injection of cash from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, they lost some of that flair.

    Players like Gianfranco Zola, Ruud Gullit and Gustavo Poyet were no longer there and Jose Mourinho had turned the team into something resembling a machine that built cars to exacting specifications. Still I delighted in their success. Now they’re losing again and cannot seem to compete with the might of the Manchester Cities and Liverpools of this era. They have returned to playing with some flair but I cannot be completely happy with all the changes they have made to date.

    But I will likely remain a Chelsea fan for the remainder of my time on this planet.

    The same is true of the Jamaica Tallawahs. I fell in love with the Tallawahs much, in the same way, I fell in love with Chelsea.

    I understood franchise cricket in much the same way I did club football and would have chosen any of the six teams in the CPL to be ‘mine’.

    But just as I became a fan of the way the dread-locked Gullit would marshall his midfield and later Zola would turn a game on its head with a moment of brilliance, I could not get enough of big-hitting innings from Chris Gayle.

    It was for this reason and this reason solely that I became a fan of the Tallawahs but I cannot now abandon them because, just as in club football, franchise cricket will witness changes.

    And there have been a myriad of changes to the Tallawahs since the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, some seven years ago.

    Now, there is no Chris Gayle, and the latest squad seems a far cry from the exciting days of the big left-hander smacking balls onto the roof of the North Stand at Kingston’s Sabina Park.

    Still, I will remain with the Tallawahs as any true fan of a team should.

    And maybe, despite the many changes, this Tallawahs line-up has a chance.

    They do have more balance than they have had in recent years.

    For a while, the Tallawahs batting was their strength but they had to bat teams out of games. Whenever they failed to get more than just a competitive score, they were certain to lose. In fact, I think they have the ignominy of sporting some of the highest losing totals in the competition's history.

    This year may be different.

    Fidel Edwards is an experienced fast bowler, who, along with the pace of Oshane Thomas, could pose some problems for their opposition in the league.

    The Tallawahs also have something they have been missing for a few years now as well. An incisive spinner. Tabraiz Shamsi is the type of slow bowler the Tallawahs may just need. A left-arm wrist spinner, Shamsi is aggressive, with his 19.8 strike rate suggesting he will take wickets in the middle overs where the Tallawahs have been found wanting over the years.

    Allrounder Carlos Brathwaite can provide both batting and bowling for the Tallawahs on the odd occasion, while Veerasammy Permaul can also do a job.

    Now, I wouldn’t venture to pick the Tallawahs line-up but they have last season’s leading runscorer for them, Glenn Phillips, who should partner Chadwick Walton. The two can be explosive and put any team on the back foot. In the middle order, there is exciting Pakistani batsman, Asif Ali, as well as the power of Rovman Powell and Andre Russell. On a given day, any of those names can hurt an opposition, but there is the question of consistency.

    That question has plagued the Tallawahs for years even though they have won the CPL twice.

    But on those two occasions, they had Chris Gayle and even though he may not have been the man to provide the finals-winning performances, he did come up with innings of real class that helped them in getting through the season.

    Last season the Tallawahs finished last and it is no surprise that Gayle had a poor run throughout.

    Without him, the Tallawahs seem less dangerous, but I am still rooting for them. They’re my team and seem more balanced than ever before, even without the mighty Chris.

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