Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 November 2021

Cricket's history of racism and elitism

Headingley cricket ground, Leeds Photo: JohnSeb/CC

Headingley cricket ground, Leeds Photo: JohnSeb/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Gerry Wright, member of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Socialist Party

The revelations of racism at one of the country's premier county cricket clubs were shocking and damning, and resonated beyond the confines of cricket. However, to those who have followed the sport over a lifetime like me, they were not surprising. Cricket's governance has it's roots in the days of the British Raj.

The influx of Asian workers into the mills and factories of the West Riding in the 1950s and 1960s led to a plethora of Asian heritage recreational cricketers. Some were accepted into the local cricket leagues, but a cordial welcome was generally lacking, and separate leagues were formed by the Asian community because of overt prejudice and discrimination.

The county club, far from seeing rich resources within their borders at a time when the all-conquering team of the 1960s was breaking up, chose to look the other way. County bosses dismissed the issue on the basis of a so-called Asian reluctance to integrate into the wider community and the fact that quality was lacking. Their bigotry was further boosted by an observation that few West Riding Asians were finding employment at other county clubs who probably had their own issues with race. Deprived of coaching at the top level and facilities, British Asian cricketers have been unable to fulfil their potential for years.

There were players of colour in the England team from the 1970s onwards, but players were often subject to taunts in the press when results went against England. They were accused of not exerting themselves fully because it was not their heritage country they were playing for. I don't remember white South Africans being subject to such questioning! Players like Devon Malcolm were patronised and verbally abused when they did make the breakthrough in to the test team.

Racism is endemic in capitalist society, and sport to varying degrees reflects this. Cricket, because of its imperialistic and colonial context, is particularly toxic. Yorkshire County Cricket Club is damned, not only by recent revelations, but by the wilful neglect of Asian cricketers for over sixty years.

Working-class youth wanting to play cricket have real difficulties getting opportunities to participate. Deindustrialisation decimated many working-class clubs. Schools that cater for non-fee payers provide limited curriculum opportunities given the dominance of national curricula, with emphasis on academic subjects to placate OFSTED and achieve an acceptable placing in the School League tables.

Many schools that became academies sold off playing fields that were previously the property of local authorities, while local authorities themselves have sold off recreational grounds to offset cuts in central government grants and funding.

It is not surprising that the England Test team is dominated by players from private schools, as indeed many county teams are. More than just words are needed to give all working-class kids, of all backgrounds, a chance to fulfil their potential on the cricket field.

Democratic control of cricket clubs is urgently needed so that they fully represent the communities they serve. Cricket administration requires root-and-branch reform to represent all those who wish to participate in playing and watching the game. Like many issues that have emerged of late, only a socialist society can provide a lasting solution.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 24 November 2021:


Workers' action can defeat weak and divided Tories

Working class strangled by price rises and pay cuts

Poorer pensioners fleeced by social care cap

Tories hammer nail in pensions triple lock coffin

HS2 eastern route cancelled: Fight for a workers' plan for public transport

Cricket's history of racism and elitism


Midwives march against unsafe staffing and for adequate funding

Tories responsible for NHS staff shortages

Violence against women

End sexism and violence against women

Socialism 2021

Socialism 2021: A steely determination to change society

What did you think of Socialism 2021?

Workplace news

Support uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

RMT to strike in London night-tube dispute

Panasonic workers strike against pay freeze

Tesco warehouse workers ballot for strike action

Sage care home workers' pay victory

International news

Historic victory of India's farmers

Sudan: "Hamdok has sold the revolution!"

USA: Right-wing vigilante Rittenhouse acquitted - capitalist courts will not defend the working class!

Working class history

Chartism: The world's first working-class movement


The struggle for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society


Obituary: Ted Austin (1940-2021) - working-class socialist stalwart


Victory! Hackney children's centres saved!

West Sussex: Payouts for council bosses, cuts for us

Newham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

Slough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless

Northampton: Phoney consultation to mask cuts

Selling the Socialist


Home   |   The Socialist 24 November 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleBullying weighing room culture at the races

triangleReaders' opinion

triangleCapitalism v cricket

triangleSocialism, black liberation and cricket - the life of CLR James


triangleMet police boss ousted

triangleTV: 'A Killing in Tiger Bay'

triangleTV: 'Death of Two Black Men: Police in the Spotlight'

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Racism in the police - the fight for justice for the Cardiff 3


triangleBlack history month and its relevance today

triangleSocialist Party black and Asian members discuss history

triangleLatest podcast - How can we fight racism and capitalism today?


trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party



Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington



Unite and fight for a decent pay rise



Privatisation and crisis in the NHS



Johnson scraps Covid safety measures



Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history



Bus services under threat



PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership



Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery



Covid: Fight for full sick pay



'Labour by name - Tory by policy'



Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'



Left Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington



Neither Washington, London nor Moscow



Met police boss ousted

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022