Essex captain Tom Westley apologises for team's Lord's celebrations

  • Alcohol poured over Muslim player on pavilion balcony
  • Westley says ‘we are disappointed we let this happen’

The Essex captain, Tom Westley, has apologised on behalf of his team following the celebrations at Lord’s during which alcohol was poured over a young Muslim player.

Westley’s side won the Bob Willis Trophy after a draw with Somerset on Sunday but amid jubilant post-match scenes on the pavilion balcony, the 12th man, Feroze Khushi, was pictured recoiling as his teammate Will Buttleman doused him with beer.

While Buttleman, 20, is not thought to have acted with malice, the club issued a statement saying the incident fell short of their “inclusive values” and added that “further work needs to be done” in the area of cultural education.

Westley, who has finished a successful first season as club captain, felt moved to speak on behalf of the dressing room itself following a team meeting about the issue on Tuesday. “On behalf of myself and the team, we would like to apologise for any offence that was caused during our celebrations at Lord’s on Sunday,” he said.

“At Essex, we believe we have built a strong dressing-room culture that supports one another both on and off the field. As a group, we have come together today and discussed the event and on reflection we are disappointed that we let this happen.

“Moving forward, the squad will be more responsible and aware of our actions and will continue to learn and develop with the help of the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association.”

Khushi is a promising young batsman who was born in Leytonstone and has risen through the club’s academy, making his first-class debut this season and featuring in four Bob Willis Trophy group matches.

The 21-year-old has not spoken publicly about the incident but Arfan Akram, one of the coaches at Essex and a senior teammate at Wanstead and Snaresbrook CC in east London, has publicly welcomed the response by their employer.

Akram tweeted: “The way my club have sensitively dealt with the incident is not only class, it reiterates how strongly it values everyone and always on a journey of learning, inclusivity and embracing our proud diverse routes. I am so proud to work for @EssexCricket.”


Ali Martin

The GuardianTramp

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