England Men’s players will honour key workers from the cricket community during the first #raisethebat Test match against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton this week.

Players and staff will sport the names of people who have made a huge difference to the national and local fight during the COVID-19 pandemic, including healthcare professionals, police officers, teachers and care home workers.

Those being recognised were nominated by friends and family for the important contributions they have made to their cricket clubs and communities in recent months. 

Stand-in captain Ben Stokes will feature the name of Dr Vikas Kumar, a specialist in anaesthetics and critical care at a hospital in County Durham, who has been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic while also taking care of a young family at home. In his spare time, Dr Kumar is a keen cricketer playing at Cowgate Cricket Club in Newcastle and the Gilli Boys Amateur Club in Darlington.

Players from the England women’s, men’s and disability teams join in thanking the heroes from our cricket family who have supported others during this difficult time.

Ben Stokes said: “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.”

We’re delighted that 5 key workers from Leicestershire and Rutland will be recognised during the #raisethebat test.

Full list of Leicestershire and Rutland key workers honoured

Dale Hardy 

Profession: Head teacher at Sir Robert Pattinson Academy 
Cricket Club: Buckminster & Barrowby CC 
Paired with: Craig Overton  
Story: As head teacher at Sir Robert Pattinson Academy, Dale Hardy has spearheaded a project to make 4,000 face shields, which they donated to several local hospitals, care homes, pharmacies and GP surgeries. Hardy was recently elected chairman of Buckminster & Barrowby CC, which has been looking to set up a youth cricket provision at the club. 

Harikrishna Shah 

Profession: Clinic coordinator
Cricket Club: Shree Sanatan CC 
Paired with: James Bracey  
Story: Harish Shah has been praised and nominated for recognition by his teammates at Shree Sanatan Cricket Club, where he has made a huge contribution on and off the pitch for close to 30 years. Shah works as a clinic coordinator at a hospital in Leicester and has gone above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure his patients are cared for. 

Chantel Jacklin 

Profession: Healthcare assistant
Cricket Club: Narborough & Littlethorpe CC 
Paired with: Phil Scott (coach) 
Story: Healthcare assistant Chantel Jacklin was nominated by her friends and teammates at Narborough & Littlethorpe Cricket Club near Leicester for her phenomenal efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jacklin has been working on the frontline at a Birmingham medical centre caring for patients at the surgery. In more normal times, she is the social coordinator at the cricket club, sits on the committee and is often seen helping out with whatever needs doing. 

Kishan Aghada 

Profession: Physiotherapist
Cricket Club: Shree Sanatan CC 
Paired with: Saqib Mahmood  
Story: Physiotherapist Kishan Aghada will also be recognised on a training shirt; nominated for his hard work at a Leicester hospital supporting the trauma, orthopaedic and medical wards and helping to rehabilitate patients with suspected or positive COVID-19 results. Aghada has been a key member of Shree Sanatan Cricket Club for close to 15 years and his teammates are all appreciative of the work he has done through the pandemic. 

Yahya Hafejee 

Profession: Department for Work & Pensions 
Cricket Club: Leicester Caribbean CC 
Paired with: Ollie Pope 
Story: Leicester-based Yahya Hafejee’s name will be on the training shirt of batsman Ollie Pope, with the Department for Work and Pensions worker praised for taking a key role in keeping his colleagues safe at work during the crisis. Hafejee has also remained busy as treasurer of Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club, where he has been negotiating reduced costs with service providers and seeing funding opportunities to help mitigate the reduced incomes this summer.