Jason Holder and the West Indies men’s team have been presented with the Cricket Writers’ Club Peter Smith Award, which recognises outstanding contribution to the presentation of cricket to the public. On accepting the award, Holder has urged cricket to continue to come together to “see each other as equal human beings.”

This discretionary award, named after the late Daily Mail cricket correspondent, was determined by a panel of media members chaired by journalist Tanya Aldred.

The panel’s citation reads: "Holder led a trailblazing tour party that flew into the unknown at the height of the Covid-crisis in the UK, from the relative safety of the Caribbean. As the first sports team to enter a bio-bubble, they showed great forbearance, holed up in two hotels for seven weeks, and were instrumental in rescuing the international summer for cricket lovers and the ECB. Holder also conducted himself with grace on and off the field, speaking eloquently on race and racism and the need for education and unity, during a period of turbulence precipitated by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.”

On accepting the award, West Indies captain Holder told CWC: "First of all it's an honour to receive this award. I can't take credit for this award, the entirety of West Indies cricket should take a pat on the back. It was a maximum team effort. It was great the ECB could put on this tour and a lot of credit goes to them for their hard work. They did an excellent job in creating a safe bio-secure bubble."

During England's series against the West Indies and Ireland, players from both sides were seen taking a knee in a gesture of racial solidarity, a move that was abandoned during England's subsequent campaigns with Pakistan and Australia. West Indies great Michael Holding criticised the decision to stop taking the knee, with Holder saying: "I was following a bit of what Mikey Holding was saying. It's difficult to get people to see the importance of it and that's where the education has to continue to filter through. There are inequalities out there, some are very much in our faces and some are done discreetly but they are out there. I personally was a bit disappointed to see how the Pakistan and Australia tours that went on after ours, that they were not showing their solidarity afterwards. It's a hard challenge and a long hard road. It's not an overnight fix but the most important thing is we need to come together and see each other as equal human beings."

Holder is currently taking part in the Indian Premier League, yet for all the many nationalities represented said he had still to have a conversation around racial issues during this year's edition of the lucrative T20 franchise tournament. "To be honest I haven't had one conversation up here around it. Sometimes it seems it has gone unnoticed, which is a sad thing. I guess it's for us to re-highlight the importance of it. Covid has obviously attracted a lot of attention around it… Cricket West Indies has done an excellent job in continuing awareness of it. The women had a series in England where they wore the Black Lives Matter logo and continued to push the movement as well.

"Credit must be given to Cricket West Indies and hopefully more nations and territories can continue to push awareness of it."

Meanwhile Holder said playing cricket in a bubble was mentally challenging but was "probably the only option" for cricket amid the coronavirus. "It is hard because it takes a toll on your mental health. I've never been indoors so much in my life. Back-to-back bubbles have not been easy."
​ Oct 20 2020