There is no equivalent of Kick it Out, football’s anti-racism group, in cricket. But the ECB certainly seems intent on kicking Yorkshire’s captain in the nether regions.
Last week Andrew Gale was denied the chance to lift the county championship trophy because he was serving a ban for abusing Ashwell Prince. Now we hear the ECB have officially charged Gale with making a racist slur.
So what exactly did Gale say? By all accounts, after being confronted by Prince, and told to fornicate back to his fielding position, Gale told Prince to fornicate back to his own country, while using the word “Kolpak”.
I hope I haven’t offended all the ethnic Kolpakians by using this highly controversial term … one that has appeared in the mainstream media on a regular basis for several years.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so facetious. While the ECB’s decision to charge Gale for using the word “Kolpak’ is clearly ridiculous, and about as racist as calling someone from South Africa a South African (or maybe a Saffer), racism is a very serious subject.
Like David Hopps on cricinfo, however, I fail to see why the ECB are making a stand over this particular incident. It just seems weird.
Cynics would suggest, of course, that the ECB want to reclaim some kind of moral high ground after backing Jimmy Anderson so strongly after the Jadeja incident this summer.
They might want to show that they do actually take abusive behaviour seriously after all – just so long as it doesn’t inconvenience the test team or hurt Alastair Cook’s job prospects too much.
However, none of this seems particularly fair on Gale. Making an example of someone, just because a governing body is worried about looking weak, just isn’t cricket.
I’m not saying that Gale is an angel – it’s below the belt to tell any foreign born player to sod off back to his own country – but making Gale the first country cricketer to be charged with racism seems ill advised and a tad disproportionate, especially when the term ‘Kolpak’ seems innocuous.
What do you think?