England’s Root hopes to meet with Rafiq

England captain Joe Root says he hopes to meet with Azeem Rafiq once the Ashes tour is over.

Rafiq was “hurt” when Root said he had not witnessed instances of racism when the pair were team-mates at Yorkshire.

Rafiq also alleged that Root was present on nights out when a when a racist term about Rafiq’s Pakistani heritage was used towards him.

“Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to sit down and talk about this whole situation,” said Root.

“I stand by what I said. I don’t recall those instances. If they are oversights on my part, that’s an area which I have to learn from.”

Almost two weeks ago, Rafiq told MPs at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that English cricket is “institutionally racist”.

As part of his testimony, he claimed that Yorkshire batter Gary Ballance used the term ‘Kevin’ as a racial slur during his four-your spell playing for England from 2013 to 2017.

Root is one of eight players on the Ashes tour that played for England with Ballance.

He said he could not comment on the specific allegation because of a “live investigation”, but added: “Clearly it’s a phrase that should never be used in a dressing room or any part of society.”

England are due to play their second and final warm-up match before the Ashes begin on 8 December against England Lions in Brisbane from Tuesday.

The four-day match will be the first time the Ashes squad has been together, with players who have been in quarantine after their late arrival in Australia from the T20 World Cup only travelling to Brisbane from the Gold Coast on the morning of the game.

Rain meant only 29 overs were possible in England’s first warm-up game last week and more bad weather is forecast.

“Obviously we would benefit from having this game,” said Root. “If we don’t we’ll have to be smart and work around it, prepare as best we can.”

All-rounder Ben Stokes, who has returned to the England squad after a period away from the game to heal a broken finger and protect his mental well-being, revealed in his Mirror columnexternal-link that he was struck on the arm whilst batting in the nets.

“It was a little bit of a concern,” said Root. “To see him get hit like that was a scare. He seems to have come through it pretty well.

“We’ll keep assessing to make sure it doesn’t have a prolonged effect on him.”

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