Ben Stokes Leads Tribute With Key Worker Names Featuring On His Team’s Shirts 

England players pay tribute to key workers ahead of first #raisethebat Test against West Indies with teachers, doctors, nurses and carers among those whose names appear on players’ training shirts

Key worker heroes from across the cricket family were today honoured by having their names displayed on the training shirts of the England Men’s Test team ahead of the start of the first #raisethebat Test against the West Indies.

The three-Test series, taking place behind closed doors, is honouring and celebrating the heroes who have been going above and beyond to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the England Men’s players and coaches took to the pitch at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, wearing the names of key workers on their training shirts before the start of the match. The people named on the shirts were all nominated by their local cricket clubs and include teachers, doctors, nurses, carers and other vital professions.

Each key worker will now receive the shirt bearing their name, signed by the player who wore it, to thank them for the work they’ve been doing. Their names and photos will also be highlighted in broadcast partners’ Sky and BBC’s coverage and displayed across the ground on the big screens and LED banners.

Ben Stokes, who is captaining England in the first Test while Joe Root is away for the birth of his second child, took to the pitch wearing the name of Durham-local Vikas Kumar, a specialist in anaesthetics and critical care at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

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.

Ben Stokes

Through the pandemic Dr Kumar, a keen cricketer who plays at Cowgate Cricket Club in Newcastle and the Gilli Boys Amateur Club in Darlington, has been working on the frontline while also being there for his family at home.

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

The other key workers being celebrated today include:

Along with fans up and down the country, we are very excited that our England Men’s players are back on the cricket field today. However, we will never forget those we’ve lost and the sacrifices made by so many people during this pandemic. Key workers and volunteers across the country have often put their own lives on the line to keep us safe, and it’s right that today we say a small thank you to some of those from the cricket family who have done us so proud.

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer

A full list of key workers, their professions and player/coach matchings can be found here:

Ben Foakes – Emily Blakemore, Nurse

Olly Robinson – Dr Nasir Ali, Emergency Medicine Consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Jofra Archer – Joe Wheatley, Paramedic

Jack Leach – Ollie Clarke, NHS volunteer

Olly Stone – Holly Buxton, Organiser of the COVID-19 Community Workforce for the elderly Dominic Bess – Wendy Morris, Nurse

Mark Wood – Susan Bainbridge, NEAS Ambulance Volunteer Stuart Broad – Chris Tall, Care Home Worker

James Anderson – Tom Field, Nurse Practitioner Dan Lawrence – Richard Freeman, Police Officer Joe Denly – Anna Tunnicliff, A&E Sister

Zak Crawley – Debi Armstrong, Specialist Nurse

Craig Overton – Dale Hardy, Head Teacher at Sir Robert Pattinson Academy James Bracey – Harikrishna Shah, Clinic Coordinator

Chris Woakes – Dr Samara Afzal – Doctor

Ben Stokes – Dr Vikas Kumar, Specialist in Anaesthetics and Critical Care Saqib Mahmood – Kishan Aghada, Physiotherapist

Sam Curran – Victor Hinds, Hospital Distribution Officer

Ollie Pope – Yahya Hafejee, Support Leader at Department for Work and Pensions Rory Burns – Sharmyn Kennedy, Teacher

Jos Buttler – Dr Jamasp Kaikhusroo Dastur, Surgeon

Dom Sibley – Mohammed Banaris, Safety Officer at Edgbaston who ran the COVID-19 testing centre

Chris Silverwood – Matthew Rammell, Respiratory Physiotherapist Graham Thorpe – Dr Chris Boyson, Doctor

Phil Scott – Chantel Jacklin, Healthcare Assistant

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