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‘Does Yorkshire concede that ‘cricketing reasons’ makes little or no sense?’ – Azeem Rafiq responds to Yorkshire racism investigation

yorkshire rafiq
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Azeem Rafiq has issued a statement in response to Yorkshire’s own statement into their investigation into alleged racism at the club.

Rafiq’s statement highlighted that Yorkshire’s report – that has yet to be given in full to Rafiq – admitted that Rafiq was the “victim of racial harassment” during his first spell at the club, one that ended in 2014.

As well as questioning the transparency of the investigation, the statement called for the former England under-19s captain to receive a full copy of the report. It read: “That [receiving a full copy] should be his right. Yorkshire’s refusal to provide him with the report means he has little sense of what has been upheld and what has not – or why. This is clearly unsatisfactory.”

The statement – which can be read in full here – went on to argue that without receiving a full copy, Rafiq is unable to call out potential factual inaccuracies in the investigation.

It went on to put 12 questions to Yorkshire. Among other concerns, it asked how Yorkshire dealt with the former players and former coach who were found to have used racist language prior to 2012.

The statement also took umbrage with Yorkshire’s conclusion that Rafiq’s releases from the club were purely down to cricketing reasons, referencing Rafiq’s impressive white-ball record in the years preceding his pair of releases from the club.

It said: “Does Yorkshire not believe that bullying or racism within the dressing room could lead to a loss of confidence and/or otherwise affect a player’s performance? Even then, Azeem’s statistics call into question claims that decisions about his future at the club related sorely to cricketing reasons. Azeem was Yorkshire’s leading T20 bowler in 2014. He took 14 wickets in only nine matches and at an average of just 13.14.

“When Azeem returned to the club in 2016, Yorkshire sat near the bottom of the T20 table. When Azeem was brought into the team, Yorkshire won seven of the nine games and qualified for the T20 finals for only the second time in the club’s history. He was Yorkshire’s joint second leading wicket taker (15) – despite missing the start off the tournament – with an outstanding average (18.46) and economy rate (7.07).

“In 2017, the year before Azeem’s wife went through a difficult – ultimately, tragic – pregnancy, he took the most T20 wickets of any Yorkshire bowler. He also easily topped the one-day statistics with 18 wickets, nearly double the next best Yorkshire player. Why was Azeem not treated compassionately in 2018 given his outstanding performances in the previous two seasons? Does Yorkshire concede that “cricketing reasons” for ending his contract make little or no sense when looking at the statistics?”

Yorkshire CCC have been contacted for comment on Rafiq’s claims.

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