Jason Holder has urged cricket not to abandon the Black Lives Matter message after the West Indies captain and his team were recognised among the annual Cricket Writers’ Club awards.
Holder’s side were the first international sports team to travel overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic and then led a public display of racial equality when they and England took a knee before the first Test in Southampton on 8 July.
Both this message – amid a global response to the death of George Floyd in the United States – and the show of solidarity with their hosts – at a time when West Indies players took a 50% pay cut – has seen Holder receive the Peter Smith Award, which recognises “outstanding contribution to the presentation of cricket to the public”.
Speaking from the UAE, where he is part of the Indian Premier League, the 28-year-old shared the credit with his teammates and thanked English cricket for ensuring the tour passed successfully. There was, however, an echo of Michael Holding’s lament that taking a knee has largely stopped.
“I was following a bit of what Mikey Holding was saying. It’s difficult to get people to see the importance of it and that’s where the education has to continue to filter through.
“I personally was a bit disappointed to see how the Pakistan and Australia tours that went on after ours, that they were not showing their solidarity afterwards. It’s a hard challenge and a long hard road. It’s not an overnight fix but the most important thing is we need to come together and see each other as equal human beings.
“I haven’t had one conversation [in the IPL] around it. Sometimes it seems it has gone unnoticed, which is a sad thing. I guess it’s for us to re-highlight the importance of it.”
As well as the award for West Indies, which was chosen by committee and is discretionary, the Cricket Writers’ Club membership chose Zak Crawley as its NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year following the 22-year-old’s 267 against Pakistan in Southampton.
The prize dates back to 1950 and includes Alastair Cook among its past winners, with the former England opener coming full circle by being named the Bob Willis Trophy Player of the Year – a one-off in lieu of the County Championship being cancelled in 2020 – following 563 runs for the winners, Essex.
England’s Sophie Ecclestone won the CWC Women’s Cricket Award after rising to No 1 bowler in the world T20 rankings, with Isabelle Westbury, who convened the panel for this, hailing another “outstanding 12 months” for the left-arm spinner.
Dan Bowser of the England Learning Disability squad was named the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year after starring in a series whitewash of Australia last October in which the left-hander averaged 99.8.
The club’s Derek Hodgson Book Award went to Duncan Hamilton for The Great Romantic, his critically acclaimed biography of Neville Cardus.