Cricket: Sport can play positive role in wake of tragedy - Blackcaps Jeet Raval

The New Zealand cricket community is a glowing example of the country's acceptance of differing cultures, according to Jeet Raval.

On Friday, the Blackcaps test opener was crestfallen, when news filtered through about the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The 30-year-old Hindu, who grew up in India before his father moved the family to New Zealand more than a decade ago, told Newshub the cricket community of New Zealand stands together in support of the fallen.

"We are all-inclusive as a sport in New Zealand," he said. "We are a multicultural community, where players with different religions or beliefs play under one roof.

"That will continue moving forward and if anything, this tragedy will bring us all closer.

"This is not about religion or differing opinions on other communities - this is about hate. This is about a singular person having hate and anger against a certain belief."

The 18-test left-hander has been especially impressed by the actions of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of the tragedy.

Raval said the example she had set was a reflection of the mood of the nation and the empathy New Zealanders had for those affected by the loss of life.

"We can't change what has happened, but how we, as a country, have reacted over the last few days has been tremendous.

"Our Prime Minister has been unbelievable in the way she has handled herself, following this tragedy.

"She has been a great example of how New Zealand has come together to show sympathy to the Muslim community.

"Hopefully, that message is a great one to the rest of the world that we are united and we stand together as one, regardless of where people have come from."

Despite being subject to a few verbal insults during his playing career, Raval can't recall any examples of sledging crossing racial or religious lines.

Raval told Newshub there were certain lines of intimidation that weren't tolerated by players and race was certainly one of those.

"I haven't been on the bad side of that and people I talk to haven't encountered any sort of racism," he said. "For me, it's a minor issue among wider New Zealand, but it is something we need to address.

"It is brought about by hate and anger - we need to ensure we are all united in that people are able to have their own beliefs. We need to focus on being good human beings.

"On the field, that is kind of an unspoken agreement on where not to go. If something like that is said, then the leaders in the team would speak up and pull them back in line.

"There is no set rule, but everyone is aware of it, and we all try and stay within the lines."

Raval has championed the New Zealand team culture, describing it as 'all-inclusive'.

The crossover in religious and cultural beliefs among the playing group has never been an issue.

"In the Blackcaps, we have Ajaz Patel - he is a very devoted Muslim. He follows his beliefs strongly, but he respects the Christians in the group and the Hindus.

"There is no discrimination in this team - that's how we want to live our lives and that's how we see the future of New Zealand."

Raval told Newshub the cancellation of the proposed third test with Bangladesh was barely debated and the only logical outcome.

Newshub.

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