Three more England stars have been dragged into cricket’s social media firestorm after a new selection of reheated tweets went viral.
James Anderson, who is set to win a record 162nd England Test cap against New Zealand at Edgbaston tomorrow, joked on Twitter in a now-deleted post from 2010 that team-mate Stuart Broad’s new haircut “looked like a 15 yr old lesbian!”
And tweets from World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and big-hitting batsman Jos Buttler’s accounts, which surfaced in India, appeared to mock subcontinental elocution of English.
An Indian website reproduced screen grabs of Buttler congratulating Alex Hales on a double hundred in August 2017 saying, “much beauty batting you are on fire, sir.”
Nine months later, Morgan commended his white-ball vice-captain Buttler, posting: “Sir you’re my favourite batsman.” Both posts have been removed.
It follows fast bowler Ollie Robinson’s suspension from international cricket, pending a disciplinary investigation, after historic posts of a sexist and racist nature he tweeted in 2012-13 came to light on the day he made his England debut last week.
Anderson’s record-breaking appearance is not under threat after he addressed his 11-year-old barb at new-ball partner Broad, saying: “For me it’s 10 or 11 years ago, I’ve certainly changed as a person.
“And I think that’s the difficulty – things do change, you do make mistakes.
“If there are any tweets from years ago, we do have to look at that, learn from it and be better in the future, try and make sure we know it’s unacceptable to use these sorts of phrases and language.”
Last night, ECB kicked the can down the street. A spokesperson said: “Since we were alerted to offensive tweets last week, a number of historical social media posts by other individuals have been questioned publicly as well.
“Given the concerns which have been raised are now clearly broader than a single case, the ECB Board will now discuss how we deal with issues over historical social media material in a timely and appropriate manner.
“Each case will be considered on an individual basis, looking at all the facts, before making further statements.”
ECB are already investigating an unsavoury tweet from another current England player – who has not been named because he was under 16 at the time it was published.
Meanwhile, former England batsman Mark Ramprakash believes shamed Robinson’s racist tweets risked turning the dressing room into a “pretty toxic place.”
Fast bowler Robinson, 27, apologised to his team-mates in an all-white England XI after the tasteless tweets which led to his suspension.
And Ramprakash, part of the England coaching set-up until 2019, says the atmosphere would have been awkward if Jofra Archer or Moeen Ali had been in the same team as Robinson at Lord’s.
The former Strictly Come Dancing champion also slammed Boris Johnson’s “unwelcome” intervention in the case.
The Prime Minister was “supportive” of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s claim that the ECB’s suspension of Robinson was “over the top.”
But Ramprakash, who won 52 Test caps between 1991-2002, said: “If I was Ollie Robinson, I’m not sure I’d want Boris Johnson involved and trying to support me. I think it is very unwelcome. He is trying to bear undue influence in this case.
“I’ve heard people express sort of sympathy with Ollie Robinson and say, ‘Hasn’t he shown a lot of character?’ But we live in a diverse society and we really don’t want this behaviour.”
Anderson confirmed Robinson’s apology had been taken at face value by his team-mates. He said: “I think it has been accepted.
“He stood up in front of the group and apologised. You could see how sincere and upset he was. As a group we appreciate he’s a different person now. He’s done a lot of maturing and growing since then and he’s got the full support of the team.”