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Former England captain Strauss urges players to avoid dressing room banter bordering racial harassment

Strauss also highlighted the events of the last year-and-a-half, when the Azeem Rafiq scandal unfolded and tarnished the image of England cricket.

Aachal Maniyar Written By: Aachal Maniyar New Delhi Published on: February 02, 2023 16:58 IST
Andrew Strauss
Image Source : GETTY Andrew Strauss

Former England skipper Andrew Strauss has urged players to avoid dressing room banter based on racial harassment and bullying in order to stay away from controversies like the Azeem Rafiq case. Rafiq, a Pakistan-born cricketer, who played for Yorkshire had told UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in November 2021 that racist comments and actions by his fellow players had left him "close to taking his own life".

Strauss, the former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of cricket said that the players will have to be more guarded in what they say and do. "As we move forward together as a game with players of different genders, races, creeds, and beliefs coming together, so the traditional macho, hierarchical, perhaps at times verging on bullying dressing-room banter will need to be softened to a culture that is more tolerant, understanding, welcoming and embracing of difference," Strauss said.

Strauss also highlighted the events of the last year-and-a-half, when the Azeem Rafiq scandal unfolded and tarnished the image of England cricket.

"Perhaps more importantly the spirit of cricket needs to accompany modern players and I am speaking primarily about the men's game now into an area that neither the prying eyes of the media nor the feverish adulation of the fans penetrate; the dressing room," Strauss said.

"The events over the last 18 months, whether they come from Yorkshire or elsewhere have shown we have a lot of work to do in this area, but the spirit of cricket demands this."

With England winning nine of the 10 Tests under coach Brendon McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes, Strauss said the coming together of the duo had brought about a huge tactical shift in the way the longest format is being played now.

"The coming together of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes in May last year has shifted the game of Test cricket from its foundations and has asked some fundamental questions of the centuries-old accepted truths of the Test format," said Strauss.

"What those two extraordinary leaders of men, aided in no small part by Rob Key as director of cricket has done, is redefine once again what the game of cricket is actually about."

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