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Racism In English Cricket

Azeem Rafiq: I really hope David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s departure from Sky had nothing to do with me

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

In a column in the Daily Mail, Azeem Rafiq has said that he believed that Lloyd’s departure from Sky did not represent ‘change’ and that he hoped it did not come as a result of Lloyd being named in the DCMS hearing in November.

Rafiq, whose allegations of racism were first told to Wisden in August of 2020, wrote in the Daily Mail that he feared that it was those who were apologising for their behaviour that were being punished.

“I have never wanted this to be a case of punishing individuals for their mistakes while avoiding the bigger picture. I have never wanted to make scapegoats of people while the real guilty parties remain unpunished.

“The minute I stepped out of that DCMS inquiry — where Bumble’s name had come up in questioning — I found messages from him on my phone asking if he could get in touch. We spoke that day, I told Bumble how I felt, he accepted he had made a mistake and apologised and we moved on.

“So I really hope his departure from Sky had nothing to do with me because it was not my intention for him to lose his job.

“That is not change. It just looks like a case of someone throwing the book at them to make themselves look good. It’s not fair and it doesn’t sit well with me at all.”

Rafiq cited Yorkshire’s hiring of Lord Patel as chairman and Darren Gough as director of cricket as two positive moves taken by the club and he encouraged the cricketing community to support Yorkshire in their attempts to put things right.

“If we are asking an institution to look at itself then we should recognise when it begins to show it is genuinely sorry and attempts to start putting things right. Yorkshire need to be supported and helped to move in that right direction. They do seem willing to do the right thing now.”

That support includes rescinding the ban on Yorkshire hosting international cricket.

“The last thing I want now are kids in Leeds, Bradford and throughout the county being denied the high-level cricket that could inspire them. Rather than help solve the problems in the game, Yorkshire’s international suspension could end up adding to them.

“Change is coming and I’m hopeful and encouraged. We need to show a bit of love and compassion now. We need to all work together. That is the only way we will create an environment that is genuinely welcoming for everyone. I don’t want Yorkshire to disappear from that environment. At first in all this I believed international cricket should be taken away from them. But they have done enough to warrant getting it back, for now at least. I want to see England playing at Headingley this summer. I may even pop down to watch myself.”

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