Yorkshire face fresh claims of racial misconduct from former player
EXCLUSIVE: New Yorkshire race storm as second Asian player reports abuse in wake of Azeem Rafiq allegations, says his career was ruined as club ignored him – and reveals team-mate URINATED on his head from hotel room above in shocking incident
- Another former Yorkshire player has come forward with claims of racial misconduct against the county side
- The player, who is of Asian heritage, said he was the victim of numerous instances of racist abuse, ‘both blatant and sly’ in the early 2000s
- Yorkshire, still reeling from their disastrous handling of the Azeem Rafiq affair, pledged to investigate the claims
- The player said: ‘I experienced racism from players both direct and indirect’
Sportsmail can reveal that another former Yorkshire player has come forward with fresh claims of racial misconduct at the county.
The player, who is of Asian heritage, said he was the victim of numerous instances of racist abuse, ‘both blatant and sly’, during his time at the club in the early 2000s.
Yorkshire, still reeling from their disastrous handling of the Azeem Rafiq affair and the ECB’s decision on Thursday to suspend international matches at Headingley, promised to launch an investigation.
The player, who has asked not to be named because he does not want his family to know what he endured, left the club disillusioned after saying he didn’t receive the same opportunities as white cricketers. He also says he was told his allegations would be looked into, which they never were.
In a statement that has not been made public but has been seen by Sportsmail, the player says it took him ‘several years to get myself together’ after his experiences at Yorkshire.
He added: ‘Everyone in the Asian cricketing community has known Yorkshire County Cricket Club is racist, yet somehow they have been able to cunningly continue with their agenda.
Yorkshire Cricket Club has faced fresh claims of racial misconduct from a former player
The claims follow the club’s disastrous handling of the Azeem Rafiq affair
‘There are many Asian cricketers like myself who have had their careers ruined, but have moved on and taken the treatment on the chin. I salute them all, as it can’t have been easy.’
Yorkshire are already under pressure after revelations that batsman Gary Ballance called his former team-mate Rafiq a ‘P***’ — an epithet the club concluded was part of ‘friendly and good-natured banter’.
On Wednesday, Ballance apologised but not before sponsors began cutting ties with the county. On Thursday Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan revealed he was another of those accused by Rafiq, denying the claim that he said in 2009: ‘Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it’ in relation to the off spinner and other Asian team-mates.
The fresh claims by a second player against Yorkshire — which at this stage are only claims and have not yet been investigated — date back two decades and make for unpleasant reading.
Michael Vaughan revealed he was another of those accused by Rafiq, denying the claim
Gary Ballance apologised after calling his former team-mate Rafiq a ‘P***’ — an epithet Yorkshire concluded was part of ‘friendly and good-natured banter’.
The player said: ‘I experienced racism from fellow players both direct and indirect. Believe it or not, I had a player p*** on my head from the hotel bedroom above, as I was on the phone leaning out of my room window. Let alone the numerous racist comments both blatant and sly. The coach at the time said ignore it and that he would deal with it. They never did.’
In another story, the player said he overheard ‘senior players’ — both still involved at Yorkshire —talking about ‘how they “shagged a bird” in the hotel room who was on her period and made a mess, and all they could find is a Muslim player’s prayer mat to clean it up. Sick or what. These are supposed to be your team-mates and people I looked up to.’
The player is understood to have been emboldened to speak out by Rafiq’s whistleblowing, which will be the subject of a hearing by the digital, culture, media and sport select committee on November 16, though the pair never crossed paths in county cricket.
Yorkshire have apologised to Rafiq after an investigation into his claims of abuse upheld seven allegations. Yet another anecdote from the player makes claims of humiliating treatment at practice. ‘When catching balls during training, these “team-mates” would intentionally throw the ball so hard from close range that it used to bruise my hands through the gloves,’ he said. ‘I remember having to miss out on a final once due to this injury.
‘Everyone in the Asian cricketing community has known Yorkshire is racist,’ said the player
The coaches wouldn’t say a thing. I would have to toughen up, apparently.’ The statement went on: ‘I and others were used as a statistic. When people said Yorkshire were racist, their reply was: “How can we be — we have X amount of Asians on our books?”
‘I wasn’t given a single opportunity to play second XI cricket. How were they expecting my game to improve? Other white players were given chances in the second XI, and after failing initially, eventually they got used to the standard, which is what happens when playing with and against better players.’
After Sportsmail ran the allegations past Yorkshire, a spokesperson replied: ‘This behaviour would be completely unacceptable to the club. It goes without saying we will investigate thoroughly.’
Meanwhile, a peaceful ‘Justice for Azeem Rafiq’ gathering has been organised for Saturday at 3pm outside Headingley by Mohammed Patel, a human-rights lawyer and founder of Heaven Help Us Cricket Club, which supports charitable causes.
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