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Giles backs Root to halt play if England players face racial abuse during Ashes

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Brisbane, Nov 28 (IANS) Ashley Giles, the director of England men’s cricket on Sunday said that he would back captain Joe Root in halting play if any racist behaviour was detected among crowds during the upcoming Ashes series in Australia.

The oldest rivalry in cricket will resume with Australia hosting England in the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8. England’s Barmy Army and the Aussie fans are expected to be at their loudest. There are concerns that crowds can be involved in some racial abuse following the recent racism row involving Azeem Rafiq.

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“I’d certainly trust Joe Root to do what’s right. If he chose to bring the team into the middle of the field and stop the game while any incident is investigated then absolutely,” Giles told reporters in a virtual interaction from Australia.

“I don’t think any of our players should be subject to any abuse actually, but discrimination and racism particularly,” he added.

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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) published a 12-point, game-wide action plan on Friday to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination in the game, following Rafiq’s testimony to MPs earlier this month.

One of the key parts of the plan was a “full review of dressing room culture in all men’s and women’s professional teams, both domestic and international.”

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Talking about the current group of England players Giles said that his experiences of this dressing room are very positive.

“It feels like we have a real diversity in our playing group, a group that works incredibly well together, supports each other, and in most instances — not all instances — appreciate each other’s differences.

“But, saying that, we clearly need to make sure that everyone has the same opportunities to enjoy the game and play the game. And if listening to the lived experiences of Azeem and clearly they’re the lived experiences of others, we’ve got to do much better. And I’m sure we will do much better. Discrimination of any form just isn’t acceptable,” he added.

–IANS

avn/bsk

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