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Phil Simmons: I encountered racism in English league cricket

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Phil Simmons, the West Indies head coach, has revealed that he encountered racism while playing league cricket in England during the 80s and 90s.

Though Simmons stressed that the case wasn’t similar in county cricket, league cricket, especially one in the north-east of the country, was a different story altogether. The all-rounder played for Durham and Leicestershire in county cricket, and in club cricket has played in leagues in North Yorkshire, South Durham, Lancashire, and Birmingham.

“I encountered quite a bit [of racism] up in the leagues,” Simmons said. “In county cricket I haven’t really encountered that much. But I have encountered it in the leagues.

“It’s not a nice thing to face. Especially in the leagues where you’re by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there. It’s not a nice thing. I played in three or four different leagues. It was one particular league up in the north-east.”

West Indies and England are also planning on how to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the upcoming three-Test series.

“We definitely are thinking about things that we can do to show our solidarity with the movement,” he said. “We definitely have plans to show our unity and our backing to it. The chats with the English are on-going and by the end of this week we’ll see what we can do together.”

Simmons’ revelation comes only a fortnight after Darren Sammy, who led the West Indies to the 2016 T20 World Cup under Simmons, had revealed he was subjected to a racial slur during his time with the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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