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Andrew Strauss asks players to avoid dressing room banters

Feb 3, 2023

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Andrew Strauss. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Former England captain, Andrew Strauss, has urged cricketers to avoid the dressing room banters to prevent the controversies like Azeem Rafiq’s fiasco. He had told UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in November 2021 that the racist comments by his fellow cricketers and their actions had left him close to taking his own life.

The Pakistan-born cricketer has requested the players to avoid making racist comments and bullying their fellow cricketers. In his Marylebone Cricket Club Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on Wednesday, Strauss stated that with players from different countries and races sharing a dressing room, cricketers will have to be more circumspect 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 was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

The South African-born also highlighted the importance of the spirit of the game, and also mentioned that the Azeem Rafiq controversy unfolded and shattered 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 or the feverish adulation of the fans penetrates; 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,” he added.

One of the most successful captains of England, Strauss also mentioned about the change in playing Test cricket under skipper, Ben Stokes, with Brendon McCullum as a coach, where England won nine of the 10 Tests under the duo. 

“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,” Strauss concluded.

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