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Captain adamant move will mark start of a year “all about action” to improve diversity, inclusion

Joe Root has confirmed that both teams will “be taking a moment of unity” ahead of the first LV=Insurance Test between England and New Zealand as part of a wider commitment to combat issues around inclusion within the game.

Root, the England captain, acknowledged that “sport and society” had faced some “ugly truths” over the last year around the issues of inclusion and diversity and resolved to “make a difference and keep bettering our sport.”

That ‘moment of unity’ ahead of the Lord’s Test is likely to be similar to the one that preceded the first rounds of County Championship games in April and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy matches in May, when players, support staff and match officials stood in silence on the boundary edge for two minutes. Last year, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, the entire England and West Indies squads took a knee ahead of each match of their three-Test series. England and Ireland’s limited-overs squad also took a knee ahead of their ODI series in July.

The game was also rocked by a series of allegations from non-white players – notably Michael Carberry and Azeem Rafiq – which have precipitated a period of soul-searching and the introduction of various initiatives – including mandatory education programmes, a confidential helpline and a code of conduct – which have been designed to improve the game’s record at attracting more diversity in terms of players and spectators.

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