England's World Cup hero Archer alleges racial abuse in New Zealand
Sports Scene

The England and New Zealand cricket boards launched an investigation after England's World Cup hero and fast bowler Jofra Archer said that he was racially abused by a spectator during the final day of the opening test between the two countries in Mount Maunganui.

Archer, who scored 30 and combined in a 59-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Sam Curran to delay the Kiwis' emphatic victory by an innings and 65-runs on Monday, tweeted, "A bit disturbing hearing racial insults today whilst battling to help save my team, the crowd has been amazing this week except for that one guy."

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) mentioned that the incident took place after Archer was dismissed and was walking off the field to the pavilion at Bay Oval. The ECB said in a statement, "Through the scrutiny of CCTV footage at the Bay Oval, authorities are trying to identify the individual or individuals responsible for the remarks. The investigation is ongoing.

Their counterparts, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC), said that the security providers at the venue were unable to locate the perpetrator and the board will apologize to Archer and further added, "NZC has zero tolerance towards abusive or offensive language at any of its venues and will refer any developments in the case to police. 

"It will contact Mr Archer tomorrow to apologize for the unacceptable experience, and to promise increased vigilance in the matter when the teams next meet in Hamilton."

The 24-year-old was born in Barbados and represented West Indies at Under-19 level before being fast-tracked into the England side ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup where he bowled the super over to clinch a memorable maiden title triumph for the English side. Later, he made an impressive test debut during the Ashes series against Australia.

England's Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's Aiden Markram during the ICC Cricket World Cup match at Kia Oval, May 30, 2019. /VCG Photo

England's Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's Aiden Markram during the ICC Cricket World Cup match at Kia Oval, May 30, 2019. /VCG Photo

As per the International Cricket Council (ICC) protocol, match referee Javagal Srinath of India is likely to include the incident in his match report to the world cricket's governing body.

However, England team director Ashley Giles said on Tuesday that his entire squad will rally round the Archer. Giles told reporters, "It's really unfortunate. It's a shame that sort of thing is still in our society. 

"Jofra reported this to the steward immediately as he came off. He also reported it to our security as he got back into the changing-rooms. The sense was that it was a racist abuse."

In the wake of the controversy the NZC has ordered increased security at the second Test against England, starting in Hamilton on Friday. NZC chief executive David White told a local radio channel, "We'll be increasing security around the areas where the players are, in particular when they're coming on and off the field, but it's quite difficult when players are on the boundary."

"I'd like to think there's a bit of self-policing going on as well, we shouldn't be accepting this kind of behavior in our society." Meanwhile, Black Caps captain Kane Williamson described the racist slurs as "horrific."

(With input from agency)