Words By Ciaran Coyle
Former Cricketer, Azeem Rafiq says he felt “isolated and humiliated” by racist abuse he received during his time at Yorkshire Cricket Club and believes racism is an institutional problem within English Cricket.
Providing evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the former England under-19 captain gave an account of the abuse he received from Garry Ballance, the captain of Yorkshire during his second stint at the club, saying the word “paki” was used constantly throughout that time towards himself and other players of Asian descent.
Rafiq also stated that he disagreed with the report’s findings that Ballance’s use of the term was a form of ‘banter’ rather than racism.
He went on to tell the panel about the “inhumane” treatment he received from club officials after receiving the news regarding his stillborn son during a training session saying then Director of Cricket, Martyn Moxon, “ripped the shreds off me” in a meeting which took place a day after his son’s death.
The 30 year-old also stated that he felt he had “lost his career to racism” and that there is a problem within Yorkshire and English cricket in general of “not listening to the victim.”
Former Chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Roger Hutton, when questioned about his view on whether the club is institutionally racist said “I fear it falls into that definition.”
Chief Executive of the ECB, Tom Harrison, said that this inquiry is a “watershed moment for the sport” and insisted that “we still have a long way to go to make cricket a game for everyone.”