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Second Cricketer Backs Azeem Rafiq’s Racism Claims Against Yorkshire | Sport



A second cricketer has made allegations of racism in Yorkshire, with sailor Rana Naved-ul-Hasan alleging that there is systematic mockery in the province, after former spinner Azeem Rafiq outlined a culture of institutional racism. The 42-year-old former Pakistani international, who played for Yorkshire in 2008 and 2009, told Cricinfo: I fully support what Azeem said and this is the case with me.

He added: I never talked about it because as foreigners we were temporary and somehow I managed to accept it as it is. So I just focused on playing cricket. I never wanted to jeopardize my contracts. There was systematic harassment and it is difficult to do much about it. For us as foreign players from Asia, if you are unable to perform, the home crowd, which should support us, instead started honking and taunting us with racist slurs.

A statement from Yorkshire said Naveds’ comments were very concerning. Yorkshire has appointed a law firm to investigate Azeems’ claims and has established a sub-committee of key figures from the British-Asian cricket community.

When you perform, you get all the room, but in case I’m not taking wickets, the attitude suddenly started to change, Naved said. They started to give us a hard time which resulted in me getting a smaller hotel room and there was an obvious case of discrimination. They would do strange things to annoy us and make you feel less. It was not offensive, but their attitude was not friendly to Asians.

I used to feel bad, but I decided to ignore it because I knew I wasn’t going to live there permanently. But I know what Azeem went through. He shared his frustration during my playing days.

Jason Gillespie, Yorkshires ‘head coach from 2012 to 2016, attacked a letter from a prominent official condemning Azeem, saying it was almost an excuse for the behavior that was the subject of Azeems’ allegations. The Australian pointed to a letter from Yorkshire South Premier League chairman Roger Pugh calling Azeem rude and disrespectful.

I didn’t like that letter when I saw that letter, I think that was a personal attack, Gillespie told Cricinfo. It did not address the actual problem that Azeem raised. It was as if it almost excused the matter, because Azeem was a difficult character. For me, I felt that the chairman worded his letter very wrongly, and on reflection I am convinced that if he had time again, he would not have written that letter because that letter was wrong in my personal opinion.

Yorkshire will be without four players for their remaining Vitality Blast party games as one of them tested positive for Covid-19 after interacting outside of a secure environment. The club has confirmed that Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Josh Poysden and David Willey have been advised to isolate themselves for 14 days, although the player who tested positive has not been specified.

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