London:The England men’s cricket team’s Test summer got off to a difficult start after the team bus was briefly held up on its way to Lord’s by Just Stop Oil protesters.
Jonny Bairstow, one of the 11 players selected to face Ireland in a one-off Test that begins on Thursday, posted a photo on his Instagram story which showed Just Stop Oil protesters and police in the road in front of their team coach. Bairstow’s caption read: “If we’re a bit late it’s not our fault.”
Day one of the match in London is set to start as scheduled at 11am, with the protest close to Hyde Park cleared quickly and not causing any significant delays to the team’s journey.
It is not immediately clear whether the coach was intentionally targeted by the group of protesters. Just Stop Oil tweeted a short clip of the protest, with the caption: “Apparently that’s the @englandcricket team bus. They might know a bit about a batting collapse, but the climate crisis is no one-day international – it’s our biggest test.”
In a further press release, the campaign group said: “At 8am, around 50 Just Stop Oil supporters, in five groups, began marching on roads around Hyde Park and Battersea Park. At around 8.37 a mini-march of four people walking on Kensington Gore was seen delaying the England cricket team, who were travelling by coach.
“Police arrived on scene within minutes and placed a Public Order Act (Section 12) notice on the march, ending it by 8.43. All teams were off the road by 10am. Further marches are expected later this morning.”
A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil added: “No one is safe from climate collapse, it will destroy everything we care about. All we will have left is ashes. Oil and gas has had a good innings, but it’s time to declare.”
Climate crisis protesters were also seen at the Premiership rugby union final at Twickenham between Saracens and Sale last weekend. Two men wearing Just Stop Oil T-shirts invaded the pitch midway through the first half and threw orange paint power on to the turf before being removed by security staff.
The most high-profile recent incident in sport occurred at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, during the World Snooker Championship in April. Robert Milkins’ match against Joe Perry was interrupted when a protester jumped on to the table and tipped orange powder over the cloth.
England are beginning their summer red-ball campaign with a four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s, before the Ashes series against Australia gets under way on 16 June.