England pacer Jofra Archer has said that he was racially abused on social media after being axed for breaking Covid-19 protocols imposed by the England and Wales Cricket board for the ongoing Test series against West Indies.
The series marked the return of international cricket for the first time since March with all matches played behind closed doors. West Indies won the first Test in Southampton before a Ben Stokes-inspired England replied with an emphatic victory in Manchester.
Ahead of the second Test, Archer was asked to isolate himself and dropped from the squad; he has rejoined the camp and is in line to play the final Test.
“Over the last few days, I have unfollowed and muted a lot of social media profiles to get away from it. I won’t be going back on it,” Archer wrote in his column on Daily Mail.
“I find it unnecessary noise. Take two wickets and everyone is back on the bandwagon again. It’s a fickle, fickle world we live in.”
The 25-year-old said that he has complained to his board about the issue.
“Some of the abuse I have taken over the past few days on Instagram has been racist and I have decided that enough is enough,” Archer wrote.
“Since Wilfried Zaha, the Crystal Palace footballer, was abused by a 12-year-old online I drew a line and I will not allow anything to pass, so I have forwarded on my complaints to the ECB and that will go through the correct process,” he added.
Archer had faced racist abuse on England’s tour of New Zealand late in 2019. He had tweeted then that it was “a bit disturbing hearing racial insults today whilst battling to help save my team”. He later told ESPNcricinfo that the abuser was a solitary New Zealand spectator making comments “about the colour of my skin” after he was dismissed and walking toward the pavilion.
Archer coped with a fair amount of criticism for going wicketless in the first innings of the first Test. The Barbados-born speedster, though, bounced back to form in the second innings but couldn’t stop his side from going 0-1 down.
“This whole week has been extremely tough and to spend five days in isolation has given me a lot of thinking time on where I am at,” he said.
“To be stuck in a hotel room in Manchester was hard. You know you cannot focus on the game being played on the other side of the bedroom curtains and it was frustrating not being able make an impact on the field. I found I was struggling for motivation in the circumstances when it came to returning to bowling in the nets.
“When I walked outside of my room for the first time since being placed into self-isolation for breaking the Covid-19 protocols, I heard the cameras clicking with every single step I took.
“The whole spectacle made me feel uneasy. I know what I did was an error of judgement and I have suffered the consequences of that. I haven’t committed a crime and I want to start feeling myself again.”
Archer said he received assurance from star all-rounder Stokes after being dropped for the second Test and plans to return to training.
“I spoke briefly to the doctor about how I’m feeling and also to Ben Stokes on Monday night,” Archer said.
“Ben tried to advise me on how to deal with being in the spotlight of international sport. He vowed to back me and support me. Now, I need to be 100 per cent mentally right so that I can throw myself into my cricket this week.”
ECB’s Ashley Giles recently stated that Archer’s error in judgement could have resulted in huge financial losses in a season already in tatters due to the pandemic. The board had fined Archer an undisclosed amount and handed him an official warning after the pacer apologised for his actions.
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