Joe Root has said that they have to make sure racism does not happen again further in England cricket. England skipper Joe Root has said everyone has to find ways of creating more opportunities to make the sport “more diverse” following Azeem Rafiq‘s allegations of racism at Yorkshire.
Joe Root: Everyone Has To Ensure Racism Doesn’t Happen Again In England Cricket
Azeem Rafiq, Joe Root’s former teammate at the club, had accused the County side of racism following which Yorkshire released a statement regarding the investigation into the matter. In September 2020, the Yorkshire County Cricket Club launched a full investigation into allegations of racism and now in a release has stated that Azeem Rafiq was the victim of inappropriate behaviour.
“As a former team-mate and friend, it’s hard to see Azeem hurting as he is. More than anything, it just shows that there is a lot of work we have to do in the game,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Root as saying.
“It’s a societal issue in my opinion. We have seen it in other sports; we have seen it in other areas. As a sport, we have got to keep trying to find ways of making sure this isn’t a conversation that keeps happening. We have got to find ways of creating more opportunities, making our game more diverse and educating better,” he added.
The England skipper said one needs to make sure that racism doesn’t happen again “further down the line”.
“I don’t think that just comes from players and administrators: it’s from everyone in the game. There has got to be a want and a will to do that. It is something we have to prioritise as a sport and make sure this isn’t something that happens again further down the line,” said Root.
Azeem Rafiq, the former England U19 and Yorkshire captain revealed the experience of racism while playing in English domestic cricket left him on the brink of suicide.
Azeem Rafiq played in 38 First class, 35 List A, and 95 T20 matches representing Yorkshire from 2008-2014 and also in 2016 and 2018 where he picked up 71, 43 and 102 wickets respectively and even scored 1 ton in First Class. He played in Derbyshire on short term loan in 2011.
Racism is not new to cricket with even the likes of Brian Lara targeted for racism. The famous incidents came when Australian Andrew Symmonds accused Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing him, Darren Sammy was insulted in IPL, spectators abusing England’s Jofra Archer, commentator Dean Jones calling South African batsman Hashim Amla terrorist in 2006 are a few to speak of.
Ollie Robinson, England pacer apologized after a series of tweets of a racist and sexist nature came to light during his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s. He apologized for a series of racial and sexist tweets he had put out as a teenager back in 2012-14. Ollie Robinson was aged 18 and 19 at that time. An initial one-game suspension was imposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board before Ollie Robinson withdrew himself from selection for his county side Sussex for the T20 games.
Joe Root: England Will Observe The Moment Of Unity Before 3rd Test Begins
Joe Root also informed that England will observe a “moment of unity” and sport anti-discrimination t-shirts ahead of the third Test against India, which gets underway on Wednesday.
“I think it is really important we have the moment of unity. We have to keep showing the sport is for everyone and that we are desperate to make everyone feel welcome to it. It’s such a brilliant sport and should be open to everyone,” said Joe Root.
“We have to do more, I get that. But, as a team, it is a big focus for us to make the game for everyone and to make it as welcoming as we can. I know we keep talking about it but I am desperate to do something about it. Hopefully, in time, you can see that come into action,” he added.
The first Test ended in a draw but India staged an incredible comeback to take the second game by 151 runs at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. Both sides will now lock horns in the third Test, beginning Wednesday at Headingley, Leeds.