#ENGvsWI: Key workers to be honored during Test series
The players from England and West Indies will honor Britain's key workers during the upcoming three-Test series. Reportedly, the series has been named #raisethebat Test series to highlight the sacrifices made by doctors, teachers, carers and other vital professionals amid coronavirus pandemic. The movement is a build-up to the first Test, which begins from July 8 at the Ageas Bowl. Here is more.
Notably, the #raisethebat initiative has already featured on 300 billboards across the country. The initiative was also featured in a short film narrated by Stephen Fry, which will be rolled out, later on. The decision to start the initiative comes after ECB's Test sponsorship deal (a two-year agreement with Specsavers) came to an end last year, with no replacement lined up.
England's players will sport the names of selected key workers with cricketing backgrounds on their training shirts. The people named on the shirts include Dr Vikas Kumar, a specialist in Anaesthetics and Critical Care at Darlington Memorial Hospital, and Emily Blakemore, a full-time nurse and volunteer at Astwood Bank Cricket Club. Their stories will be showcased across ECB's digital platforms, shortly.
The ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said the initiative is a tribute to the workers who have shown courage amid pandemic. "As we stage the first international sporting competition in UK since COVID-19 began, we want to pay tribute to people who have bravely played their part during this crisis. Through the #raisethebat Test Series, we will show our gratitude to workers," he said.
"It has been a long and challenging journey to cricket's return and while this pales in comparison to what the country has faced, we hope the #raisethebat Test Series will bring some enjoyment and light relief to people's lives," he added.
The 30-member England squad will gather at the Ageas Bowl on June 23, where they stay at the venue's on-site hotel. Notably, the training sessions will be held under the guidance of coaches Chris Silverwood and Graham Thorpe. Meanwhile, the following two Tests will be played at the Emirates Old Trafford on July 16 and 24 respectively.