Kane Williamson hopeful of ‘healing’ in Yorkshire racism row

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson It is expected that there will be a “healing” in his former team Yorkshire on the eve of the third Test against England, which was almost relocated from the county’s Headingley headquarters due to racism. Pakistan-born former off-spinner azeem rafiq First made allegations of racism and bullying related to his two spells in Yorkshire in September 2020. Rafiq gave evidence to a parliamentary committee last year, increasing pressure on Yorkshire over their previous failure to take any disciplinary action.

This eventually led to the mass evacuation of senior boardroom figures and coaching staff.

The England and Wales Cricket Board also threatened to withdraw lucrative international players from Headingley unless changes were made.

The reforms promoted by new chairman Kamlesh Patel could have been a financial disaster for Yorkshire.

But the issue is far from over, with ECB disciplinary charges leveled against the club and “several individuals” who are yet to be named by the authorities.

Last month, the former Yorkshire coach Andrew Gayle Won the claim of unfair dismissal, leaving the club facing the prospect of paying compensation.

Williamson, who played for Yorkshire as an overseas signing from 2014 to 2018, was noncommittal when asked whether he had witnessed specific incidents of racist abuse during his time at the club.

But the batsman said that he is hopeful that something good will come out of Rafiq’s testimony.

“It is very sad to see what has unfolded,” Williamson said. “I can only hope that something positive comes out of it and the awareness that it has created to move forward in a positive way.

“There is no place for racism or discrimination in sport or society. I was here for a brief period of time and enjoyed my time in Yorkshire.

“There were some issues that were brought up recently and you can only hope that there is healing.

“There has been a great deal of awareness all over the world, efforts to continue that awareness and make it a more inclusive place, whether in sports or other workplaces.”

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England captain when asked on the issue of racism Ben Stokes Said that his side understands they have “a responsibility on the field as well as off the field”.

Stokes’ men will be aiming to sweep the three-Test series, winning the last two matches by five wickets, when the clash begins in Leeds on Thursday.

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