England captain Eoin Morgan has asked for racism allegations made by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq to be dealt 'head on'. He firmly insisted that there is no place for any sort of discrimination. England's newspapers have been filled with happenings around the racism allegations made by Rafiq, which have taken the cricketing world by storm.
With the allegations attracting governmental attention, the matter has quickly escalated on how Yorkshire have handled the whole scenario. Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman Roger Hutton resigned while the Headingley, Yorkshire's home ground, has been banned by the ECB from hosting any international or major matches in the near future. Yorkshire's sponsors, Nike, Yorkshire Tea, and Emerald have also terminated their sponsorships over the past 24 hours.
"I think if they're matters of an extreme or serious nature like these are, they need to be met head-on, and for us as a team, that's exactly what we want to see. Obviously, the investigation is ongoing and live at the moment, so only time will tell what happens, but I think the actions by the board have demonstrated how seriously the ECB are taking how this has been handled. Yes, we want to see this brought in a great light, but equally, if there is an issue as serious as this, we want it dealt with," Morgan said in the pre-match press conference ahead of their match against South Africa on Saturday.
"We firmly believe that there is no place in our sport for any type of discrimination. I think the actions of the ECB board to Yorkshire have indicated how serious they are about dealing with issues like this and obviously resulting in their actions because obviously, those actions speak louder than words. They have been taking it in a serious manner," added Morgan.
Morgan expressed sadness over left-arm pacer Tymal Mills being ruled out of the tournament due to a right thigh strain. Mills, on his international comeback through the tournament, picked seven wickets in four matches at an average of 15.42 and an economy rate of 8.
"I'm gutted for Tymal. He's been on such a roller coaster of a journey, and I think this is probably the highest point he's been at on that roller coaster through terrible injury and I suppose incredible attitude and resilience that he's shown to come back from each and every one of them to take his career to contribute to us hopefully getting through to the last stages of a World Cup is an incredible achievement. For it to come at this time in his career, I'm devastated for him."
Talking about the replacements for Mills in the playing eleven, Morgan remarked that the appropriate substitution would be decided on match day. "I think we'll take another 24 hours to have a look at guys coming through. Obviously, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, David Willey, and Reece become options. David has been in consideration now for every game that we've played, and we've chosen to go with an all-rounder instead of four seniors. We'll turn up to Sharjah tomorrow and hopefully make a good call for the team."
England are on top of the Group 1 standings with four wins in as many matches and are assured of a place in the semi-finals. South Africa, on the other hand, are in third place with six points from four matches.