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Truthful Tuesday | ECB's fault for taking a punt on their ‘responsible’ players

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Truthful Tuesday | ECB's fault for taking a punt on their ‘responsible’ players

We are back again with Truthful Tuesday look at ‘Jofra Archer’ and his episode but this time, the stance is completely different which also will make you look at it from a different point of view. Imagine, would all of this have happened if ECB did not carelessly take a punt on their players.

Whilst all this while the blame was on Jofra Archer for his wrongdoings, would it all have happened in the first place when the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) learnt its lessons from the English Premier League? Throughout the break time, at least during the long isolation period, the responsibility was on both the clubs and the players, with one directly affecting the other. 

Several players from around the EPL clubs had violated and some partied while the others broke the code that was set by the clubs and rightly so fined for it. However, post the lockdown period, specifically post the restart of the league, the cases of players vanishing from the training ground or the players heading back home to their respective counties have been zero, with COVID-19 cases filtered through the thorough weekly testing. After the safe tried and tested bio-secure bubble, cricket was set to resume in England with a visiting West Indies side. 

The rules, the norms and all the safety concerns were well documented but were they provided to the players beforehand or were the players educated enough? The concerns are growing with the number of cases around the world, so rightly when cricket resumed, the management was going to be at their highest level to tie all the loose ends, right? Exactly or at least that was what was expected from them when they penned down the lengthy guidelines that were issued to all the officials involved, including the ground staff and co. 

But imagine despite doing all of that, if a player had gotten out of his way, took a different turn and headed home in the middle of a Test series, would it be certain that they did it all possible? No, because the Jofra Archer case rightly points out that it was in the hands of ECB to prevent it all happening and unfurling ugly in front of the media. It did not happen when Archer was taking a turn to Brighton, it did not happen before he came to the training ground before the second Test, it all unfurled right after the training session. 

In a passing mention, the Barbados-born cricketer informed a member of the support staff on the morning that preceded the second Test at Manchester on Wednesday. In turn, the member of the staff went all the way to inform the team’s medical staff about the incident. And at around 10 PM reportedly, the team management was all ears to the news, a day after it all happened. Whatever happened to all the players were tracked of their movement, the reason why they were allowed their choice of movement in the first place? 

The system did not work and it allowed a tiny-tiny way for athletes to sneak their way. Imagine this was just the one case from the group of players but more importantly, this was the only known case! What if Anderson had walked off to his flat or Broad went and ate midway through the drive, well you would never know. Instead of pointing fingers at Archer, look at how the management and their approach of building a safe ‘bio-secure’ bubble turned out to be? It led to a huge huge confusion in terms of the future series and all that is at stake for the English Cricket Board. With Cricket Australia and their tour around the corner, would it be too much of an ask from the board to take some decision? 

The other day, Michael Holding, who is on commentary duty too criticised the English board over the handling of Jofra Archer’s case. As rightly pointed out, his suggestion of the Three Lions management’s decision to not travel on a bus. "Why aren't the England team travelling on a bus? If they have already passed their COVID tests, everyone is together, they have six Test matches, they are moving from one venue to the other," he opined.

If you think of it, it makes more sense than ever, especially following this Archer debacle. On the other hand, ECB’s stance on the matter is that this was based on medical advice as it avoids the necessity for players to spend hours on coach journeys breathing the same air. But them breathing the same air should not be a concern because all of them have undergone COVID-19 tests. 

If the ECB indeed, as they had claimed over and over in the past three months had thought this entirely through, then this would not have happened. It has to be one of the two, either the players were not informed at all about all the situation that surrounds the pandemic and the biosecure bubble or the players were poorly informed about that it has led to us all talking about it. In spite of all the bio-secure environment, had Archer tested positive midway through the third Test, what would happen? Would the entire day of a Test match be cancelled and several thousands of pounds be spent additionally on medical tests? 

Following that, Ashley Giles came out and said that it could have possibly cost them tens of thousands of billion pounds yet they only sanctioned him with his match-fine and a warning that leads to nothing. Imagine, if it could have cost an organisation so much damage, would they have not taken all possible measures, not even leading the smallest of loose ends? 

Another point of concern, which has made its way out conveniently is that the pacer was let off with two tests of COVID-19 and a five-day isolation period. But even before that, he could have easily exposed them to the virus. That could have brought down the entire English dream of millions of pounds from cricketing action but guess who was responsible for it? ECB!

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