Azeem Rafiq
Azeem Rafiq

Former Yorkshire allrounder Azeem Rafiq has named at least nine high-profile cricketers and officials as he recalled several incidents of racism in front of the British parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Azeem Rafiq Opens on Racism 

Rafiq had last year alleged of ‘institutional racism’ in Yorkshire County Cricket Club which led to widespread reactions including ban on the county from hosting international matches and sponsors deserting.

Rafiq was asked to address suggestions he had been a “heavy drinker” while at Yorkshire.
“I’ve been clear from the outset, I wasn’t perfect,” he said. “There’s things I did I felt I had to do to fit in and try and achieve my dreams and I’m not proud of them, it’s something I deeply regret but it has no relation to racism.

“I should have never, ever been treated the way I was treated. When I spoke I should have been listened to. Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the game as a whole really has a problem listening to the victim. There is no two sides to a story when it comes to racism.”
Rafiq then detailed being forced to drink alcohol as a young, Muslim teenager while still playing club cricket.
“The first instance of drinking, I actually got pinned down at my local cricket club and red wine got poured down my throat,” he said. “The player played for Yorkshire, played for Hampshire.
“I didn’t touch alcohol until about 2012 and around that time I felt like I had to do that to fit in. I regret that massively, but it has no bearing on the things that I was called”.
The 30-year-old Pakistan-born English cricketer fought back tears during the testimony as he claimed racism put an end to his cricket career. He named nine high-profile cricketers as well.

Michael Vaughan

During a match, former England captain Vaughan is alleged to have told four Asian cricketers, “There are too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.” However, he denies the claims.

Rafiq responded, “He may not remember it because it doesn’t mean anything to him, but three of the four Asian players he mentioned do remember it. He then used his platform (newspaper column) to discredit me. He seems to have taken the same stance as the club – deny, deny, deny.”

Gary Ballance

The former England batter has admitted of calling Ballance ‘p***’. However, he claims it was a banter.

Rafiq said, “Gary would regularly make belittling or derogatory comments about my Pakistani heritage like ‘don’t talk to him, he’s a P***’. Or ‘Why are you talking to him, he’s a P***?’ It became unbearable.

At the PCA Awards in 2014, Gary made another racist, belittling comment to a woman about me in front of me. I was so fed up that I wanted to hit him and we had to be pulled apart by our agent, Will Quinn.”

Alex Hales

Rafiq said ‘Kevin’ was used a derogatory term for players of colour and was first introduced by Ballance. Hales, a close friend of Ballance, even named his dog Kevin which Rafiq feels was a direct result of the meaning attached to it.

Alex Hales
Alex Hales

David Lloyd

The legendary Lloyd is said to have made disparaging remarks about Asian cricketers. He’s alleged to have messaged members of media that, “a clubhouse is the lifeblood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there.”

Lloyd has apologised for his comments but Sky, where he’s employed as a cricket pundit, have opened investigation into the allegations.

Matthew Hoggard

Former England bowler Hoggard is claimed to have started calling Rafiq as ‘Raffa the Kaffir’.

Rafiq said, “The comments from Hoggy towards myself and the other Asian players – Adil (Rashid), Ajmal (Shahzad) and (Naved Ul) Rana – were constant, on a daily basis. He would also call us things like ‘elephant washers’ and P***.’ After my Sky interview, I took a phone call from Matthew Hoggard. And he basically said, ‘I didn’t realise… I’m really sorry if some of the comments made you feel the way you describe. I just want to apologise’. When someone does that, I was like, ‘Mate, thank you, really appreciate it’.”

Tim Bresnan

The former England allrounder is alleged to have made regular racist remarks with Rafiq filing a formal complaint against him in 2017.

Rafiq said, “Tim was very powerful at YCCC and it is worth noting that Tim and Andrew Gale are related – Tim is Andrew’s brother in-law. As with Andrew, Tim frequently made racist comments and was unduly harsh towards me compared to white British players. I made a formal complaint against him in 2017. Six or seven players made a complaint about Tim Bresnan that year but it was me who was portrayed as the troublemaker.”

Andrew Gale

Gale, former Yorkshire captain and coach, has been suspended for a historic tweet. Rafiq alleges of mistreatment from Gale who referred to him as ‘Raffa the Kaffir’, ‘P***’ and so on.’

Martyn Moxon

Moxon, Yorkshire director of cricket, is on leave as of now. Rafiq alleged he ignored and failed to stop racist behavior.

Rafiq claims the day he returned to the club after his son’s death, “Martyn Moxon literally got me in a room and ripped the shreds off me. I’ve never seen him speak to anyone like that through my time at the club. I couldn’t believe it.”

Joe Root

Rafiq has called Root ‘a good man’ whom he has never heard of making any racist comments. However, the allrounder says the fact Root doesn’t remember racist language being used reveals how normalised it is.

Joe root
Joe root

“Joe Root is a good man. He never engaged in any racist language. But Rooty was Ballance’s flatmate and was involved in those social nights out where I was called a ‘P***’. He might not remember but it shows how normal it was that even a good man like him doesn’t see it for what it is,” Rafiq said.

Rafiq’s statement during the Testimony

Rafiq told the hearing he had received messages from people connected with at least three other counties to talk about their experiences and he encouraged widespread use of hotlines similar to the one announced by Lord Patel to fully expose the problem within the sport.

When I returned to the Club after the bereavement period which was in or around June 2018, on the first day, Martyn Moxon pulled me into a room and started highlighting to me the problems that I had caused by not speaking to the coach (Andrew Gale) and the captain (Steve Patterson).

I actually thought that he was asking to speak to me alone to ask how I was and how the family were after the trauma that we had endured, but his only concern was that the coach and captain had complained about me.

I tried to explain the situation and how I had been assured I would play, which is why I had agreed to go and miss a critical medical appointment with my wife (which was critical in her pregnancy complications) but ended up with twelfth man duties instead.

I reiterated that had he not done that and had I known I wasn’t playing, I would have been with my wife at a crucial medical appointment. But Martyn showed me no sympathy and categorically stated that I was a problem (see further below). Martyn’s behaviour confirmed to me that I was never going to get any support from the club no matter what I went through.

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