The announcement of this year's Spirit of Cricket awards has led to serious questions being asked of the adults responsible for the welfare of a young female cricketer.
As detailed in the ECB press release:
The winners of the Girls’ Award is Banbury Cricket Club Under-15s bowler Amy Freeman, who was recovering from a dislocated knee at the start of the season but continued to play for her club as they were struggling to field a team.
During one match she dislocated her other knee but continued to play on, fielding at slip, bowling from a one-step run up and apologising to her opposition as she did so.
Amy Freeman is clearly one brave and spirited young lady, but you have to ask what on earth the supervising adults were thinking; and whether they should have allowed a minor to continue to participate with such a serious injury?
As leading women's cricket journalist, Raf Nicholson said on Twitter:
playing on thru serious injury, risking permanent damage, is now the
"spirit of cricket", it's time to get rid of the concept altogether.
I've no doubt Amy wanted to play on; but these decisions simply aren't ones we should be allowing 14-year-old girls to take for themselves; and I simply do not understand how the powers-that-be (in this case, the MCC) can possibly condone such a reckless and irresponsible approach by the coaches and/or umpires to a young player's physical well-being, risking long-term damage and (in the worst case scenario) possible permanent physical disability.
Amy is obviously an amazing and courageous girl; but serious questions need to be asked of whoever was responsible for her welfare that day; and they are questions that need answering.