ECB and Cricket Australia delve deeper into crisis with ash on the way | Cricket

Soh, how is Ashe’s fake war going? Back in early November, the main problem in English cricket was who would throw themselves into the death fights now that Tymal Mills was injured. Three weeks later, the government is threatening to appoint an independent regulator to oversee the ECB, whose chief executive, Tom Harrison, is struggling to hold on to his job because England’s most successful county club, which has lost its chief executive and chairman . suspended his head coach, has been called institutionally racist, while a number of current players and commentators have been accused of racist and discriminatory behavior.

Less than a week ago, Australia celebrated their first World T20 Trophy ever. Now they have lost their test captain, Tim Paine, due to a sexting scandal that happened the last time England were in Australia, in 2017. Paine sent an unsolicited “cock picture” to a female Cricket Tasmania employee with the headline ” finish me off right now. ”Four years later, she has it, and now Australia has fourteen days to find a replacement. Cricket Australia acquitted Paine of breaking their code of conduct in a study they conducted at the time, but now it is has finally become public, and has decided that, after all, they do not “approve of his language or behavior.”

There are some common themes here, about players who seem unaware of the impact their behavior has on their peers, who seem to feel free to abuse the power they have over people younger than them, and about bosses , who have failed to hold these players to account until they have been ashamed to do so.

This is the same Cricket Australia that made great strides out of their plan to commission two new statues of female cricketers as a demonstration of their “commitment to challenge ourselves to continue addressing gender inequality throughout our play”, even while sitting on a report on Paine’s behavior, the same ECB that had their players dress up in “anti-discrimination T-shirts” as an expression of their “collective stance against any form of discrimination in cricket”, even while and Yorkshire pulled the heels after. up on Rafiq’s allegations, which had been made the year before.

This is the behavior of leaders whose principles are dictated by public relations, who believe in doing the right thing as an exercise in harm reduction. The ECB was up and running again on Friday, issuing a statement following their “meeting throughout the game” offering a series of phrases about “making cricket more open and inclusive” and “ensuring effective governance”, promising “a series of tangible commitments to make cricket a sport where everyone feels safe and everyone feels included. “There was absolutely no information on what the specific commitments might be. Apparently, they still need to” consult with their stakeholders “before they finish the details.

Tim Paine resigns as Australia's Test cricket captain due to texting scandal - video
Tim Paine resigns as Australia’s Test cricket captain due to texting scandal – video

It’s a bureaucratic phrase, institutional gobbledegook soured with meaningless poster slogans like “we stand together against discrimination in all its forms” and “our game must win back your trust”, the language of people who have forgotten how to speak honestly and who is hopelessly out of touch with basic human emotions at play here.

One of the great lessons of all this is that language matters how a small sentence, even when apparently meant in jest, can cause lasting pain and trauma. This week, the leaders of the ECB have given us a variation of the same lesson, it has been a long demonstration of how it is possible to say so much and have no real impact at all.

“We are really sorry,” the statement read. How reassuring to know that this is not one of their sincere excuses. And a sincere apology, Rafiq said in parliament on Tuesday, was “everything I ever wanted”. Where do they wish they had given him that at the time, in plain and straightforward language some of the same Yorkshire men who have been accused of discriminating against him are reportedly famous for. The lawyers who (you imagine) examine their statements seem to be more prolix.

Amid the blizzard of allegations, accusations and apologies, Rafiq gave one himself as screenshots began circulating on social media showing a series of anti-Semitic messages he had sent 10 years earlier.

And typically, his was a model for everyone else to follow: fast, relentless, and humane, it sounded like he had written it himself, rather than getting it done on his behalf. Rafiq’s messages did not diminish his testimony of the club’s culture. If anything, they are more evidence of how common racist language was in Yorkshire while he was playing there.

It is too late for an apology to be sufficient now, even if the ECB was able to provide a good one. It is 14 months since Rafiq first described how he had considered suicide due to the institutional racism he had been subjected to at the club, and sorry is not enough. Not anymore. The rate at which it has all been unraveled is inversely proportional to the time it has built up and all the years of institutional failure in solving the problem.

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Rafiq was the crack that broke the dam. The ECB says more than 1,000 people have contacted its study on discrimination in cricket in the last week alone. It has already grown far beyond what they are capable of handling. The ECB can not even be trusted to run a cricket competition without alienating the vast majority of cricket supporters, and that is what it needs to be good at. The idea that they are in any way equipped to tackle a social, political and cultural problem of this magnitude is utterly ridiculous.

If there is one positive in all this, it is that everyone now has a clear idea of ​​the extent of the problem that the sport has been fighting against – and there are, even at the ECB, lots of good people fighting against it. Australia does not have that yet, and there is also a clear sense of a broader problem beneath the surface. But then you also do not have to look too much or ask too loudly to find evidence of endemic sexism in English cricket. The Ashes are three weeks away and the two countries are leaning towards Brisbane.

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