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News

Ben Stokes: 'The game I love should be enjoyed without discrimination'

The full text of Stokes' statement at Lord's, in the wake of the publication of the ICEC report

The long-awaited report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket was published on Tuesday, and offered a damning critique of both English cricket, and Marylebone Cricket Club - the hosts for this week's second Test against Australia at Lord's.
The issues raised in the report have overshadowed England's preparations for the contest, and at the start of his pre-match press conference, captain Ben Stokes read the following statement.
"Just before I start, I want to make it clear I have not read the report as it only came out last night.
"To the people involved in the game who have been made to feel unwelcome or unaccepted in the past, I am deeply sorry to hear of your experiences. Cricket is a game that needs to celebrate diversity on all fronts because without diversity, this game would not be where it is at today.
"As a sport, we need to learn from past mistakes and do all we can to make people feel safe and be themselves at every level. I have been an England player since 2011 and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of some incredibly diverse teams and love how everyone has a different story to tell.
"We must go further and be more inclusive and diverse because the game I love - and millions worldwide love - should be enjoyed without fear of discrimination or judgement whether that be due to your upbringing, race or gender.
"As I said earlier, everyone has a different story to tell. I am Ben Stokes, born in New Zealand, a state-educated pupil who dropped out of school at 16 with one GCSE in PE. I needed help with the spelling and grammar in this speech and I am currently sitting here as the England men's Test captain.
"It is clear there is so much more the game has to do and, as players, we really want to be a part of that to ensure this is truly a sport for everyone."