Yorkshire CCC: England captain Joe Root calls for positive action at Headingley in wake of Azeem Rafiq affair

ENGLAND captain Joe Root has called for “change and actions” from Yorkshire in response to the racism crisis engulfing his county, claiming the issue has “fractured our game and torn lives apart”.

England Test captain Joe Root. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Root, who is currently in Australia leading the Test side’s Ashes preparations, issued a statement on the matter following weeks of escalating pressure at the club he has represented since childhood.

A former team-mate, Azeem Rafiq, was found by an independent report to have been subject to racial harassment and bullying and subsequent allegations have emerged from others setting in motion additional investigations.

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Root wrote: “In my capacity as England captain and as a senior player at Yorkshire, I feel compelled to address the current situation that has consumed the sport and YCCC. It’s my club that I care passionately about it. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting. There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable.

England's Joe Root during a nets session at the Kia Oval in September Picture: Adam Davy/PA

“These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county. I will reach out to YCCC new Chair, Lord Patel, to offer support however I’m able.”

Root went on to state that racism and discrimination were problems that reached far and wide, beyond both Yorkshire and the world of cricket, and invited everybody to play their part in conquering it.

“In my opinion, this is a societal issue and needs addressing further afield than just cricket,” he wrote.

“That being said, we, as a sport, all have to do more. How can we all help shape things moving forward positively? What can everyone from myself, the ECB, counties, players, officials and others in the sport do to improve the state of the game? I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I think we need to educate more and earlier; we must call it out straight away and have our eyes and ears open more.

“Inclusivity, diversity and anti-discrimination is something over the past few years the England teams I have been involved in have spent a lot of time talking about and are very passionate about improving and making a big difference.”