RICKY ELLCOCK: O'Farrell stereotypes made me fear change will not come

RICKY ELLCOCK: Mike O’Farrell’s stereotypes made me fear change will never come… we do not have black role models to inspire next generation and more changes are needed if cricket is to nurture talent from black and south Asian communities

  • In my day, black players were considered good, but thought of as stupid 
  • I’m still waiting for black captains and coaches to emerge in significant numbers 
  • Ebony Rainford-Brent has helped get talented black children back into cricket
  • But it took a huge racism scandal for Ottis Gibson to become Yorkshire coach 

If you were a black fast bowler in English cricket in the 1980s and 1990s you were considered lazy if you did not bowl at 90 miles per hour. It was felt you were not trying. The word often used was ‘skiving.’

Funnily enough, the same terms were never used for white bowlers. Attitudes like that were prevalent back then, but it is incredible that almost 40 years later nothing has really changed.

To hear the chair of my old club Middlesex trotting out stereotypes on Tuesday made me fear change will never come.

Mike O’Farrell trotting out stereotypes on Tuesday made me fear change will never come

In my day black players were considered good, but thought of as stupid. There were a few of us at Middlesex and we used to say there was no way any of us would be made captain or work in coaching or administration when we retired. I’m still waiting for black captains and coaches to emerge in significant numbers.

I remember writing to an official at Worcestershire setting out my feelings about the selection policy at the time. He asked me who wrote the letter for me.

He couldn’t believe a black person could have written such a cohesive letter.

In my day black players were considered good, however were also thought of as stupid

Ebony Rainford-Brent has helped start the process of getting black children back into cricket

Fast forward to now and there are not enough black role models in our game to inspire future generations.

It is the same in so many walks of life. When I retired prematurely through injury I wanted to go into the aviation industry.

It was a struggle at first because there were so few black people involved and even when I became the first black captain at Virgin Atlantic a lot of people seemed to have issues with my progress.

Initiatives like Ebony Rainford-Brent’s ACE programme have started the process of getting talented black children back into cricket, but there is a long way to go.

I hear commentators saying Jofra Archer is not trying whenever his pace drops

I turn on the TV now and I hear commentators saying Jofra Archer is not trying whenever his pace drops. They used to say that about Norman Cowans when he consciously bowled slower in the quest for longevity. Again, nothing has changed.

And it took a huge racism scandal like the Azeem Rafiq affair before someone like Ottis Gibson, one of the best coaches in the world, was given an opportunity to be head coach at Yorkshire.

More opportunities are needed. Cricket has to nurture talent from the black and south Asian communities.

I was lucky. I got into the English game through a scholarship to Malvern College when I was growing up in Barbados.

Today’s generation need much more than that. What they certainly don’t need is a middle-aged white guy like Mike O’Farrell casually saying they prefer football.

It took a huge scandal before Ottis Gibson was given a chance to be Yorkshire head coach




Share this article

Source: Read Full Article