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The England and Wales Cricket Board is investigating a second player over “historical offensive material” on social media after a post was “brought to our attention”, one day after bowler Ollie Robinson was suspended for past racist and sexist tweets.
Wisden reported that another England player had posted a tweet that included a racially offensive remark, but it obscured the identity of the player as they were under the age of 16 at the time.
The ECB confirmed that it is looking into the matter and that they would make a further comment “in due course”.
England are also ready for criticism if they pick Craig Overton this week, six years after he was found guilty of using racist language in a county match. Overton is the reserve seamer in the squad and likely to play if England want to pick a bowler similar to Ollie Robinson, who did not travel with the team to Birmingham on Monday.
Watch: Ollie Robinson given no assurances about England future after investigation
Overton has taken 36 County Championship wickets this summer at an average of 12.86 and has added pace to become a candidate for the Ashes tour this winter. He is the natural replacement as a bowler for Robinson and could also bat at eight. But, in 2015, Overton was reported for telling Sussex’s Pakistan-born batsman, Ashar Zaidi, to “go back to your own f— country” during a county match.
Asked about potential criticism should Overton be picked on Thursday, Chris Silverwood, the head coach, said: “If Craig does play, we will deal with that when we get there.”
Overton was given a level-one punishment and banned for two games, not for the comments, but because he had reached the threshold on the ECB’s disciplinary totting-up procedure. The ECB was not cracking down on racism in the way it is now. Zaidi later said: “I’m not in a position to say whether he was treated leniently, but I was very surprised at his penalty and I’m sure he could have had a harsher punishment than one or two games.”
Overton’s comment had been overheard by umpire Alex Wharf and Sussex’s Mike Yardy, the non-striker. Although Overton denied saying the words, the ECB disciplinary panel believed Wharf and Yardy.
Overton has since played four Tests and repeated his denial last week in an interview with Wisden magazine. “I don’t believe I said it. I don’t believe I’m that sort of character. We’ve had [Pakistan batsman] Azhar Ali in our changing room, and I’m the first one to go up and have a chat with him,” he said.
Watch: Ollie Robinson apologises for offensive tweets