Brisbane: England pace bowler Stuart Broad feels this is a great opportunity for cricket to come out of the shadow cast by racial discrimination and make the game more diverse by including people from every background.
Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq recently recounted the ‘institutionally racist’ English cricket culture before the parliamentary committee room during his nearly decade-long stay at the county, saying that “you have people (here) who are openly racist”.
The off-spinner, who moved from Pakistan to the UK in 2001 and played a total of 39 First-Class games, has added that his career suffered a lot because of racism.
Broad, who is currently in Australia for the five-Test Ashes series beginning on December 8 at The Gabba, said in his column for dailymail.co.uk on Sunday that, “Cricket has been through an uncomfortable time as it has dealt with the issue of racism but when things are like this, you have to be able to find a way to come through and be better, so this is a great chance for the sport to grow, to feel more diverse and include people of every background. All should be welcome to play.”
The bowler said that while the England team cannot control how that is facilitated in club cricket, it can be controlled in “our own changing room”, adding that the environment created by the England team’s leadership group over the years had been “pretty special”.
Clearly, other players haven’t felt that at other levels of cricket and the awareness of that fact is really important. Every player who plays county cricket, every cricket fan who has been following this story will no doubt have huge amounts of empathy for anyone who has faced any form of discrimination,” said Broad.
The bowler said that “something good” now has to happen to take cricket forward from hereon.
“We have to learn how to make things different for the next generation but also for the generation that are playing at the moment. Can we make the game a better place for all? One hundred per cent, we can.”