It all happened after Joe Root’s men capitulated to an embarrassing ten-wicket-defeat at the hands of India in what turned out to be the shortest Test match since World War II. Following the mauling in Ahmedabad, opener Rory Burns, who was axed from the side after the second Test got offended by Alexandra Hartley’s dig at their counterparts while promoting the fixture between England Women and the White Ferns which was scheduled to take place in Dunedin the following day.
“Nice of the England boys to get this test match finished just before England Women play tonight. Catch them on @btsportcricket,” Hartley had tweeted.
The Tweet did not go down with Rory Burns, who said-
“Very disappointing attitude considering all the ‘boys’ do to support the women’s game,” Rory Burns wrote before shortly deleting the tweet following a furor.
Former England batsman Ben Duckett too joined Rory Burns in lambasting Hartley for her ‘average tweet’. The Twitter spat caused a huge furor on social media, post which the women cricketer revealed that she has been trolled, abused and has even received death threats
“I’ve described my tweet on my podcast [No Balls, with Hartley’s best friend, the England bowler Kate Cross] as ‘clumsy’, and I can see that an England player seeing it would be really annoyed as it seems like I was celebrating their loss. I wasn’t, and before Rory’s tweet it had gone down really well with lots of people saying ‘we’ll watch the women now’. The onslaught I got after Rory retweeted it I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” Alexandra Hartley was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Hartley also came down hard on members of the England Men’s team, support-staff team, and a few county players who happened to like Rory Burns’ tweet. Notably, all-rounder Ben Stokes and seamer James Anderson were among those England cricketers who liked the tweet. The left-arm orthodox said that Burns’ response and the fact that plenty of male cricketers liked the tweet highlights the issues that women’s cricket face at the moment.
“I was really disappointed in the fact that England players, county players, England management, staff liked the tweet from Rory. I just think it highlights a lot of other issues in and around women’s sport that I really didn’t want to bring up and talk about, but have to now. I don’t think we’re supported enough by the men and it was a real shame that they believe they do support us. I think I even had Samit Patel writing, ‘Why would you tweet about women’s cricket?’, which is such a shame. I just hope some good can come of it and it will start conversations behind closed doors,” she added.
”I think Rory’s just not understood what could come of him belittling me” Alexandra Hartley
Hartley described the social media trolls who have been giving her death threats as ‘sad individuals’ and unfazed by it, she is keen to take up the issues surrounding women’s cricket as she feels ‘it’s the need of the hour’.
“If you want to give me death threats you’re the one with issues. I just think they’re sad individuals. I really don’t think I deserve to have people telling me to die [in a hole] and that I’m a really bad role model and women’s sport is rubbish and not worth watching,” said Hartley.
“And I genuinely believe people only jumped on the back of my tweet because I’m a female, which is another issue,” she added.
Harley signed off by saying that Rory Burns misunderstood the intentions behind her Tweet and said he could have expressed his displeasure privately.
“I think Rory’s just not understood what could come of him belittling me. All it would have taken was a private message saying I think this is bang out of order, to which I’d have messaged back saying: ‘I’m so sorry, it was just a joke,” said Hartley.