Rory Burns backs campaign to counter racism in English cricket

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Rory Burns. (Getty Images)
Rory Burns. (Getty Images)

England opener Rory Burns said on Thursday that it was "important" to educate players - including the national team - about racism in cricket after a survey revealed many black and Asian professionals felt they were being targeted.

The Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) said more than a third of black, Asian and minority players in the professional game had experienced racism from other players, fans and social media.

The PCA and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will begin an education programme in March for all domestic teams as well as national squads.

"All we can do to keep it relevant and keep people aware of the issues that are going on in the game is important," Burns, who is in quarantine in India ahead of the four-Test series, told reporters.

"And it is great to see that the PCA and the ECB are having initiatives to actually educate players, so we can really get on board with it.

"Anything that increases the diversity and inclusivity is only a positive thing to me."

Burns, who has been taking a course in psychology, is in quarantine with the other England players in the southern Indian city of Chennai where the first two games of the four-Test series will be played.

The 30-year-old Surrey opener missed England's 2-0 sweep of the Tests in Sri Lanka this month due to the birth of his daughter but is expected to start practice on Sunday with Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes who have also joined up with the squad.

Cricket is the latest sport to highlight racism after 23 of 173 PCA members who took part in the survey said they had been a target.

Twenty-four of the 173 were black, Asian and minority ethnic and of those, 12 said they had experienced racism.

Ten of the 12 are current professionals. The PCA said this means 38 per cent of black, Asian and minority professionals had been affected.

The ECB said in November it would take measures aimed at increasing diversity in the game.

"Racism in the game is unacceptable and the game needs to take action," PCA chief executive Rob Lynch said.

"There is plenty of work to be done in the fight for equality."

England players did take a knee along with the touring West Indies to support the Black Lives Matter campaign when cricket resumed after the coronavirus lockdown in July.

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