Former Essex players have welcomed the English county club and its captain’s apologies after alcohol was poured on a Muslim cricketer during their celebebratios post the Bob Willis Trophy victory at Lord’s on Sunday. The incident during their victory celebration led to criticism with Sajid Patel, co-founder of National Cricket League in Essex, calling it ‘offensive’.
Essex captain Tom Westley on Tuesday issued an apology, saying the squad is disappointed that it let such a thing happen. Westley also said that the squad will learn from its mistake and be ‘more responsible and aware’ of its action hereon.
Controversy erupted when beer was poured on batsman Feroze Khushi, who was the 12th man, at the Lord’s balcony after Essex’s final against Somerset. Khushi tried to sway away but in vain as the celebrations continued after Essex’s triumphant campaign.
While post-match celebrations are commonplace in the sport, England’s World Cup heroes Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali were given time to walk away from the podium before the rest of the World Cup-winning squad began celebrating with Champagne after their triumph last year.
“As a group, we have come together and discussed the event, and on reflection, we are disappointed we let this happen. On behalf of myself and the team, we would like to apologise for any offence that was caused during our celebrations at Lord’s on Sunday,” Westley said adding that the team has created a strong dressing room culture.
‘So proud to work for Essex’
Arfan Akram, Essex’s East London Cricket Coordinator, took to social media to laud the club for dealing with the issue in the right manner.
“The way my club have sensitively dealt with the incident is not only class, it reiterates how strongly it values everyone and always on a journey of learning, inclusivity and embracing our proud diverse routes. I am so proud to work for @EssexCricket,” Akram said in a social media post.
The way my club have sensitively dealt with the incident is not only class, it reiterates how strongly it values everyone and always on a journey of learning, inclusivity and embracing our proud diverse routes. I am so proud to work for @EssexCricket . https://t.co/r3UL8bqWyp
— Arfan Akram (@arfanakram) September 29, 2020
How did Essex react?
Former Essex cricketer Ashar Zaidi said he stands by the club’s statement and stressed that the Bob Willis Trophy champions respect the beliefs of each and every player.
“I stand by the club’s statement and be sure that they’ll take every precaution. One club I can say which accommodate each and every single player with full respect to their beliefs,” Zaidi said.
Essex had released a statement, in which it said the celebrations did not meet the club’s inclusive values and that further education is a must when it comes to helping people more aware about cultural differences.
“Essex prides themselves on their work within multi-diverse communities throughout the county and the surrounding areas.
“For a substantial period of time, Essex have had a multi-diverse team with players from different backgrounds, religions, and races, where cricket is at the heart of these communities.
“The club has worked extremely hard and will continue to bring cricket to anybody and everybody, and educate on diversity, but further work needs to be done across both sport and society in general, to widen people’s knowledge and make them more aware of cultural differences.”