'Cricket in NZ is a white sport,' Ross Taylor reveals he experienced racism in New Zealand cricket

‘Cricket in NZ is a white sport,’ Ross Taylor reveals he experienced racism in New Zealand cricket
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‘Cricket in NZ is a white sport,’ Ross Taylor reveals he experienced racism in New Zealand cricket

Highlights

  • Ross Taylor retired from international cricket in April 2022
  • He represented the BlackCaps for 16 long years
  • He even captained the national side across formats

Former BlackCaps cricketer Ross Taylor has revealed in his autobiography that he experienced racism during his career in New Zealand cricket.

In his book, Ross Taylor: Black & White, Taylor, who has Samoan heritage, said that team-mates had to "put up" with comments about their ethnicity often passed off as "dressing-room banter."

Taylor's claims have come after a number of racism scandals in English and Scottish cricket. Last year former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told MPs that English cricket was "institutionally" racist, while last month an independent review into accusations of racism in Scottish cricket found the governance and leadership of the sport to be institutionally racist.

"Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport. For much of my career I've been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up," wrote Taylor in an extract from Ross Taylor: Black & White, published in the New Zealand Herald.

"That has its challenges, many of which aren't readily apparent to your team-mates or the cricketing public," the former New Zealand skipper added.

Taylor ended his 16-year career with 7,683 runs in the longest format and 8,607 in one-day internationals - both New Zealand records. He said the Polynesian community is "dramatically under-represented in the game" and he is sometimes mistaken for being "Maori or Indian".

"In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. A team-mate used to tell me, 'You're half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You don't know what I'm referring to.' I was pretty sure I did.

"Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity. In all probability, a Pakeha (white New Zealander) listening to those sorts of comments would think, 'Oh, that's OK, it's just a bit of banter.'

"But he's hearing it as a white person and it's not directed at people like him. So, there's no pushback; no one corrects them. Then the onus falls on the targets. You wonder if you should pull them up but worry that you'll create a bigger problem or be accused of playing the race card by inflating harmless banter into racism. It's easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do?" added Taylor further.

Reacting to Taylor's allegations, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said it was "deeply concerned he's been exposed to this type of behaviour". The national board has reached out to the former captain to discuss further about the issue.

"Ross currently sits on an NZC working group seeking to improve the game's engagement with Pasifika communities, and his input is greatly valued. We consider him an important part of our cricket family and are deeply concerned he's been exposed to this type of behaviour," added NZC, according to BBC Sport.

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