RACISM CRISIS: Rafiq names some of cricket’s biggest stars
PA - Danny Lawson
A number of high-profile cricketing figures were named in allegations made by former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq on Tuesday as he emotionally discussed his two spells with the county.
Rafiq told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of his allegations of racial harassment and bullying against Yorkshire, breaking down on a number of occasions as he recalled his experiences.
Here are the names referenced and what Rafiq said about them under parliamentary privilege.
Gary Ballance (England and Yorkshire batter and former Yorkshire captain)
Ballance has admitted using a racial slur to Rafiq but said in his statement two weeks ago the pair were best friends.
Rafiq said he had initially seen Ballance, from Zimbabwe who joined the club from Derbyshire, much like himself an an “outsider”. He said their relationship “started to deteriorate in around 2013″ after he raised concern with a shared agent about Ballance’s conduct in his personal relationships.
Rafiq said Ballance would use the name ‘Kevin’ to “describe anyone of colour in a very derogatory manner” and that it was an “open secret” on England duty.
Ballance is currently suspended from England duty by the ECB.
Alex Hales (England and Nottinghamshire batter)
Following on from the ‘Kevin’ allegations, Rafiq said Ballance and Hales became “really close” and Hales went on to “name his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.”
Jack Brooks (Former Yorkshire bowler now with Somerset)
Rafiq claims Brooks started a trend of calling India batter Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ rather than use his actual name, even though the overseas player had said he would rather it did not happen.
Michael Vaughan (Former England captain and Yorkshire batter)
Vaughan has issued a strong denial against the claim he told Rafiq and three other team-mates of an Asian background: “(There’s) too many of your lot, we need to do something about it.”
Asked about Vaughan, Rafiq said: “Michael might not remember it…three of us, Adil (Rashid), myself and Rana (Naved-ul-Hasan) remember it. He probably doesn’t remember it because it doesn’t mean anything to him.”
Tim Bresnan (Former Yorkshire and England all-rounder now with Warwickshire)
Rafiq said during his second spell with the club, Ballance found the captaincy a “real struggle” and current captain Steve Patterson “got the dressing room fighting” after being left out of the team. Rafiq said it was “toxic” and that he was one of “six or seven players” to make a complaint about Bresnan.
He added he was the “only one who got repercussions” but he raised it as bullying in 2017. Rafiq added he has seen board meeting minutes which say he was called a “leader, potential captain and driver on the field” but he “raised a complaint about Tim Bresnan, a former England cricketer also related to the coach (Gale). I knew there was going to be big trouble.”
Matthew Hoggard (Former England and Yorkshire bowler)
Rafiq said after he went public with his story, Hoggard contacted him regarding comments he had made and said: “I didn’t realise, I’m really sorry. If some of the comments I made made you feel the way you’ve described it I just want to apologise.”
Joe Root (England Test captain and Yorkshire batter)
Root said last week he had never witnessed anything of a racist nature at Yorkshire, while pledging to help in any way he could to change the county.
Rafiq said Root was a “good man who never engaged in racist language” but that he found Root’s recollections hurtful because he had “been involved in a lot of the socialising where I was racially abused. It shows how normal it was that even a good man like him doesn’t see it for what it was.”
Andrew Gale (Former Yorkshire captain and current head coach) and Martyn Moxon (Former Yorkshire player, coach and current director of cricket)
Speaking about his second spell with Yorkshire, Rafiq said that the “temperature had been turned up” after Jason Gillespie left as head coach, saying “for the first time I started to see for what it was – I felt isolated, humiliated at times.
He said he was asked if men with beards were his dad, or if corner shops were owned by his uncle in front of Gale and Moxon and “it never got stamped out”.
Rafiq alleges that on his first day back after the loss of his son: “Martyn Moxon got me in a room and ripped the shreds off me.”
Gale is currently suspended by Yorkshire as they investigate an historical tweet not related to the Rafiq situation, while Moxon has been signed off work with a stress-related illness.
The ECB and PCA
Rafiq said he initially felt ECB chief executive Tom Harrison was listening, before letting Yorkshire take control of the report. He said he was “begging the ECB, the PCA” to take control of the process, and that he had some “real dark moments” relating to a lack of support. He added he felt the PCA – where his liaison officer was ex-Yorkshire player Matthew Wood – got in touch with him “to tick a box” in case he committed suicide.
David Lloyd (Former England player, coach and broadcaster)
Speaking about Lloyd allegedly discussing his drinking, Rafiq said there had been “denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing, high-profile media people messaging other members of the media who have supported me” and then added: “Personally, this guy doesn’t even know me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socalising. That was David Lloyd.
“He’d been an England coach and commentator and I found it disturbing, because Sky is supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and, within a week of me speaking out, that’s what I got sent to me and I thought ‘there are some closet racists and I need to do something about it’.”
All of those accused by Rafiq have been asked for comment.
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