England Men’s players will honour key workers from the cricket community during the first #raisethebat Test match against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton this week.
Players and staff will sport the names of people who have made a huge difference to the national and local fight during the COVID-19 pandemic, including healthcare professionals, police officers, teachers and care home workers.
Those being recognised were nominated by friends and family for the important contributions they have made to their cricket clubs and communities in recent months.
Stand-in captain Ben Stokes will feature the name of Dr Vikas Kumar, a specialist in anaesthetics and critical care at a hospital in County Durham, who has been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic while also taking care of a young family at home. In his spare time, Dr Kumar is a keen cricketer playing at Cowgate Cricket Club in Newcastle and the Gilli Boys Amateur Club in Darlington.
Paramedic Joe Wheatley is another of those honoured, with Jofra Archer wearing the Barcombe Cricket Club member’s name on his training shirt.
Wheatley is often the first contact a patient has as a first responder and offers great support to those he treats and their families. When he’s not driving an ambulance, he’s manning the heavy roller as Barcombe’s groundsman and has kept the pitches maintained throughout the enforced shutdown of recreational cricket.
Pace bowler Mark Wood will recognise local hero Susan Bainbridge on his training shirt. Bainbridge is a volunteer at the North East Ambulance Service but in her spare time she runs Zumba classes for older people throughout Teesdale. During the pandemic, the Middleton in Teesdale cricketer has taken her exercise classes online through Zoom to ensure the community can keep active.
And Town Malling Cricket Club women’s captain, Anna Tunnicliff, will be honoured on Joe Denly's shirt in recognition of her incredible work over the course of the pandemic.
Tunnicliff works as an A&E sister at a Kent hospital but still finds time to run women's and girls' cricket at her club. Her teammates are all amazed at the amount of work she has put into developing the women’s and girls section at the club, even during the pandemic.
Ben Stokes said: “We’re only able to play this Test match because of the amazing job that key workers up and down the country have done to help us through this pandemic.
“Wearing their names is a real honour for us, and is a small sign of our appreciation for the incredible work they have done. They have truly gone in to bat for us all, and it makes me proud of how the whole cricket family has responded to help us get through these unprecedented times.”
Dr Vikas Kumar, whose name featured on Ben Stokes’ shirt, said: “The past four months have been very difficult, but it was a wonderful surprise to find out that Ben Stokes of all people is wearing my name on his training shirt.
“So many of my colleagues at work and at the cricket club have been working so hard and made big sacrifices, so this is for them as well.”
Dr Vikas Kumar
Full list of key workers honoured
Dr Chris Boyson
Profession: Doctor & GP
Cricket Club: Canon Frome CC
Paired with: Graham Thorpe (coach)
Story: Dr Chris Boyson, a GP from Birmingham, will be honoured on the training shirt of England coach Graham Thorpe. Dr Boyson has been battling the virus on the front line in Birmingham and has been nominated by his teammates at Canon Frome Cricket Club. During a regular season, Dr Boyson regularly makes the 100-mile round journey from Birmingham to play for his club and is described by teammates as one of the finest bowlers in the Marches League.
Cricket Club: Astwood Bank CC
Paired with: Ben Foakes
Story: Emily Blakemore, a nurse, will feature on the training shirt of Ben Foakes. She has been working in a hospital looking after COVID-19 patients. As well as providing vital support to those most in need, she is a dedicated player for Astwood Bank Cricket Club where she also volunteers in the junior section, inspiring the next generation of cricketers. Those who know her say she’s a huge role model to all, always staying positive despite working in very tough circumstances.
Dr Nasir Ali
Profession: Emergency Medicine Consultant
Cricket Club: Edgbaston Stadium
Paired with: Ollie Robinson
Story: Dr Nasir Ali has been working on the frontline against the virus in Birmingham in recent months, but is also a familiar face at Edgbaston Stadium on major matchdays as safety officer and event doctor. Earlier in the pandemic, Dr Ali contracted the virus himself but recovered and returned to work soon after to continue the fight. At the Ashes Test last summer, Dr Ali was hailed for saving the life of a seriously ill spectator and his presence on matchdays is described as being comforting for spectators and event staff alike.
Dr Samara Afzal
Cricket Club: Walmley CC
Paired with: Chris Woakes
Story: Dr Samara Afzal will be honoured on the shirt of Chris Woakes for her work as a GP at a medical centre in Birmingham. Dr Afzal is chief medical adviser to the National Asian Cricket Council and last year supported a successful pilot which used cricket as a way to get her female patients from the South Asian community more active. She is instrumental in helping get health and mental wellbeing messages out to the local South Asian cricketing community, as well as training members how to use defibrillators.
Profession: Operations Manager
Cricket Club: Warwickshire CCC
Paired with: Dom Sibley
Story: Mohammed Banaris spearheaded the COVID-19 testing centre at Edgbaston Stadium, which was one of the first to be established during the pandemic. As an operations manager for G4S, Mo was responsible for putting together the team that ran the testing centre and developed processes that have come to be a benchmark for other centres around the country. His tireless enthusiasm, commitment and leadership has led to his colleagues nominating him to feature on the shirt of Warwickshire star Dom Sibley.
Dr Jamasp Kaikhusroo Dastur
Cricket Club: New Ifield CC
Paired with: Jos Buttler
Story: Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler will honour another safe pair of hands in surgeon Dr Jamasp Kaikhusroo Dastur, who has been working on the frontline at a hospital near Norwich. Outside of work he is a greatly valued member of New Ifield Cricket Club.
Profession: Care home worker
Cricket Club: Newark Ransome & Marles CC
Paired with: Stuart Broad
Story: Chris Tall is a pillar of his local cricket club, Newark Ransome & Marles CC, where he volunteers as groundsman, coach and on the committee. He had to step away from his club as the pandemic developed, however, to focus his attentions on caring for the residents in the care home at which he works. His efforts and sacrifices at such a crucial time led to his teammates nominating him to feature on the shirt of Stuart Broad ahead of the first #raisethebat Test.
Profession: Head teacher at Sir Robert Pattinson Academy
Cricket Club: Buckminster & Barrowby CC
Paired with: Craig Overton
Story: As head teacher at Sir Robert Pattinson Academy, Dale Hardy has spearheaded a project to make 4,000 face shields, which they donated to several local hospitals, care homes, pharmacies and GP surgeries. Hardy was recently elected chairman of Buckminster & Barrowby CC, which has been looking to set up a youth cricket provision at the club.
Profession: Clinic coordinator
Cricket Club: Shree Sanatan CC
Paired with: James Bracey
Story: Harish Shah has been praised and nominated for recognition by his teammates at Shree Sanatan Cricket Club, where he has made a huge contribution on and off the pitch for close to 30 years. Shah works as a clinic coordinator at a hospital in Leicester and has gone above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure his patients are cared for.
Profession: Healthcare assistant
Cricket Club: Narborough & Littlethorpe CC
Paired with: Phil Scott (coach)
Story: Healthcare assistant Chantel Jacklin was nominated by her friends and teammates at Narborough & Littlethorpe Cricket Club near Leicester for her phenomenal efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jacklin has been working on the frontline at Limes Medical Centre in Narborough, Leicestershire, caring for patients at the surgery. In more normal times, she is the social coordinator at the cricket club, sits on the committee and is often seen helping out with whatever needs doing.
Cricket Club: Shree Sanatan CC
Paired with: Saqib Mahmood
Story: Physiotherapist Kishan Aghada will also be recognised on a training shirt; nominated for his hard work at a Leicester hospital supporting the trauma, orthopaedic and medical wards and helping to rehabilitate patients with suspected or positive COVID-19 results. Aghada has been a key member of Shree Sanatan Cricket Club for close to 15 years and his teammates are all appreciative of the work he has done through the pandemic.
Profession: Department for Work & Pensions
Cricket Club: Leicester Caribbean CC
Paired with: Ollie Pope
Story: Leicester-based Yahya Hafejee’s name will be on the training shirt of batsman Ollie Pope, with the Department for Work and Pensions worker praised for taking a key role in keeping his colleagues safe at work during the crisis. Hafejee has also remained busy as treasurer of Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club, where he has been negotiating reduced costs with service providers and seeing funding opportunities to help mitigate the reduced incomes this summer.
Profession: Respiratory physiotherapist
Cricket Club: Denby Dale CC
Paired with: Chris Silverwood
Story: England Head Coach Chris Silverwood will wear the name of another local hero in Matthew Rammell, a respiratory physiotherapist at a hospital in West Yorkshire. Rammell is captain of Denby Dale Cricket Club, but his work during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen him undertaking long hours on the frontline. This hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for the cricket club, however, as he has ensured the committee has kept functioning during the lockdown and stayed at the forefront of the club’s return-to-cricket plan.
Profession: Organiser of the COVID-19 community workforce for the elderly
Cricket Club: Calder Grove CC
Paired with: Olly Stone
Story: Calder Grove Cricket Club secretary Holly Buxton is nominated for her incredible work in galvanising her community into a COVID-19 workforce to help local elderly and vulnerable people. She has led the group in purchasing groceries, prescriptions and newspapers as well as undertaking jobs such as gardening and dog walking for those in need. Buxton has also coordinated the delivery of hot meals to local residents three times per week and is looking to establish a permanent food bank to help people beyond the pandemic.
Profession: Primary school teacher
Cricket Club: Skipton CC
Paired with: Rory Burns
Story: Ashes rivalries are put to one side as Rory Burns wears the name of Australian-born Yorkshire hero Sharmyn Kennedy – a teacher at a primary school near Keighley. Kennedy has gone above and beyond to maintain normality for the children under her care at the school, delivering homework to those learning from home and looking after keyworker children at the school. She’s also a key member of Skipton Cricket Club and has found the time to rewrite the club’s safeguarding documentation during lockdown.
Dr Vikas Kumar
Profession: Specialist in anaesthetics and critical care
Cricket Club: Cowgate CC & Gilli Boys Amateur Club
Paired with: Ben Stokes
Story: Stand-in captain Ben Stokes will feature the name of Dr Vikas Kumar, a specialist in anaesthetics and critical care at a hospital in County Durham, who has been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic while also taking care of a young family at home. In his spare time, Dr Kumar is a keen cricketer playing at Cowgate Cricket Club in Newcastle and the Gilli Boys Amateur Club in Darlington.
Profession: North East Ambulance Service volunteer
Cricket Club: Middleton in Teesdale CC
Paired with: Mark Wood
Story: Pace bowler Mark Wood will recognise local hero Susan Bainbridge on his training shirt. Bainbridge is a volunteer at the North East Ambulance Service but in her spare time she runs Zumba classes for older people throughout Teesdale. During the pandemic, the Middleton in Teesdale cricketer has taken her exercise classes online through Zoom to ensure the community can keep active.
Cricket is back 🏏— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 8, 2020
Jimmy Anderson (@jimmy9) speaks to #BBCBreakfast's @sallynugent about the cricket bubble and the @ECB_cricket's #raisethebat initiative to celebrate #keyworkers 👏https://t.co/MRc1Cm2oKM pic.twitter.com/G4NBUIbAgc
Profession: Nurse practitioner
Cricket Club: Twickenham CC
Paired with: James Anderson
Story: James Anderson will honour keyworker Tom Field on his training shirt. The nurse practitioner has been working 12-hour shifts at a major London hospital throughout the pandemic, regularly treating COVID-19 patients. The 27-year-old has always been strongly involved in cricket as well, coaching youngsters for the past 11 years both in London and his native Devon. Having played age-group cricket for Devon in his youth, Field is now a valued member of Twickenham CC.
Profession: Police officer
Cricket Club: Reculver CC
Paired with: Dan Lawrence
Story: Police officer Richard Freeman is honoured on the shirt of Dan Lawrence. Freeman has been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, as well as helping his two cricket-mad sons with their schoolwork and cricket training between shifts.
Profession: A&E sister
Cricket Club: Town Malling CC
Paired with: Joe Denly
Story: Town Malling Cricket Club women’s captain, Anna Tunnicliff, will be honoured on a shirt in recognition of her incredible work over the course of the pandemic. Tunnicliff works as an A&E sister at a Kent hospital but still finds time to run women's and girls' cricket at her club. Her teammates are all amazed at the amount of work she has put into developing the women’s and girls section at the club, even during the pandemic.
Profession: Distribution Officer at a hospital in East London
Cricket Club: Barking CC
Paired with: Sam Curran
Story: The shirt of Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran will bear the name of Victor Hinds, a distribution officer at a hospital. Hinds has been working 12-hour shifts most days since the pandemic started and was nominated by his friends at Barking Cricket Club where he’s a valued member.
Cricket Club: Ropley CC
Paired with: Dominic Bess
Story: NHS nurse Wendy Morris is one of those honoured, with Dominic Bess sporting her name on his training shirt. Morris has worked with determination and courage throughout the pandemic, which her family and her friends at Ropley Cricket Club are all very proud of.
Cricket Club: Barcombe CC
Paired with: Jofra Archer
Story: Paramedic Joe Wheatley is one of those honoured, with Jofra Archer wearing the Barcombe Cricket Club member’s name on his training shirt. Wheatley is often the first contact a patient has as a first responder and offers great support to those he treats and their families. When he’s not driving an ambulance he’s manning the heavy roller as Barcombe’s groundsman and has kept the pitches maintained throughout the enforced shutdown of recreational cricket.
Profession: NHS volunteer
Cricket Club: Wadebridge CC
Paired with: Jack Leach
Story: Spinner Jack Leach will sport the name of NHS volunteer Ollie Clarke on his training top. Clarke usually works as a Chance to Shine coach for Cornwall Cricket Board, but has volunteered for the NHS during the pandemic. He has worked six-day-weeks during the crisis, supporting the work at NHS sites in Cornwall.