Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ben Stokes stresses England players have ‘a responsibility on and off field’

Ben Stokes has spoken about his players having a “responsibility on and off the field” (Mike Egerton/PA)
Ben Stokes has spoken about his players having a “responsibility on and off the field” (Mike Egerton/PA)

England captain Ben Stokes has reiterated his side’s “responsibility” to the game extends beyond the field of play, as they prepare for a Headingley Test that was at one stage threatened by the damaging allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq’s claims of institutional racism and discrimination during his time as a White Rose player earned cricket some unwanted front-page coverage after his appearance in front of a parliamentary select committee last year.

Further accusations, about Yorkshire, as well as other counties, followed in what will go down as a bleak moment of reckoning for the sport, with the England and Wales Cricket Board at one point suspending Headingley’s right to host international cricket.

The financial setbacks of that sanction could have killed the club off as a going concern but it was eventually lifted after initiatives set in place by a newly appointed chair, Lord Kamlesh Patel, persuaded the ECB that the issues were being dealt with appropriately.

The tale is far from told, with ECB disciplinary charges laid against the club and “a number of individuals”, but the return of the Test side over the next five days represents some form of business as usual.

Patel has surprisingly been noticeable only by his absence during the practice days at Headingley and, with no other appearances from Yorkshire management, it was left to Stokes to field questions on the matter.

Lord Patel file photo
Initiatives set in place by Lord Patel persuaded the ECB that Yorkshire were dealing with issues appropriately (Danny Lawson/PA)

Just a few weeks into the role and with a Test series ongoing, it was perhaps unfair to expect him to carry the load.

“I’ve got my responsibilities for the team that I’m in charge of at the moment,” he said. “And we’ve got a responsibility on the field, as well as off the field, to do what we do.

“We know if we keep doing good things on the field we’re going to attract a new pool of fans towards the game. That’s all we can do, that’s what we’re good at – going out and playing cricket and winning games. But we know as international cricketers we do have a responsibility on and off the field.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of things going forward – as the England cricket team and for me as captain – that we will have the responsibility of doing.”

New Zealand Nets Session and Press Conference – Emerald Headingley Stadium – Wednesday June 22nd
Kane Williamson had stints at Yorkshire between 2014 and 2018 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stokes’ opposite number Kane Williamson also had his say, having played for Yorkshire as an overseas signing over the course of four seasons between 2014 and 2018. He offered a hopeful assessment of the future but had little to say about his own experiences in the dressing room.

“It’s been incredibly sad to see what’s unfolded,” he said. “I can only hope that something positive comes out of it and the awareness that it’s created to move forward in a positive manner.

“There is no space for racism or discrimination in sport or society. I was here for a few brief stints and enjoyed my time at Yorkshire. There were some issues that were made aware more recently and you can only hope that there is healing.

“There’s been a huge amount of awareness throughout the whole world… efforts to continue that awareness and make it a more inclusive place, whether in sport or other work places.”