back icon
04 Sep 2020 | 06:16 AM
Yorkshire cricketer says 'racism' left him close to suicide
"I know how close I was to committing suicide during my time at Yorkshire," said Rafiq who made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2009

Yorkshire have vowed to install a culture of zero tolerance to prejudice after being accused of "institutional racism" by former player Azeem Rafiq, who said his experiences at the English club left him close to suicide.

The 29-year-old former England youth captain quit cricket after leaving Yorkshire in 2018.

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Pakistan-born spinner Rafiq said he felt, as a Muslim, he was made to feel like an "outsider".

"I know how close I was to committing suicide during my time at Yorkshire," said Rafiq who made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2009.

"I was living my family's dream as a professional cricketer, but inside I was dying. I was dreading going to work. I was in pain every day.

"There were times I did things to try and fit in that, as a Muslim, I now look back on and regret. I'm not proud of it at all.

"But as soon as I stopped trying to fit in, I was an outsider."

He added: "It's obvious to anyone who cares that there's a problem. Do I think there is institutional racism? It's at its peak in my opinion. It's worse than it's ever been."

In response to Rafiq's allegations, Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton pledged to review the county's policies and culture.

"We are in the process of finalising the structure of this investigation and we will be approaching impartial external parties to be part of the review to ensure complete transparency," Hutton said.

"We fully acknowledge that just as in many walks of life, sport, including cricket and Yorkshire as a club, must do better to fully promote a culture of zero tolerance to racism or any form of prejudice.

"We accepted a long time ago that change was needed at Headingley to improve diversity, especially in terms of racial inclusivity.

"We have tried to make contact with Azeem this week to discuss his experiences, and will make further contact in the weeks ahead as it's important that we hear his grievances in as much detail as possible."

Rafiq admitted his claims could damage his chances of returning to cricket.

"Yorkshire don't want to listen and they don't want to change," he said.

"And part of the reason for that is the people who were involved in the incidents I'm talking about are still at the club. They just want to sweep it under the carpet.

"But not this time. Not again. I know what I'm doing here. I know that by speaking out I'm damaging my chances of working in the game again."

Asked about Rafiq's complaints, Eoin Morgan, England's limited international captain, admitted there is room for more conversation about the issue.

"An area where we can be better is telling people our story more, getting comfortable talking about growing up in a different country or growing up in a different environment within this country and our journey to where we are today," he said.

YorkshireAzeem Rafiq
Related Articles
Moeen insists he has not experienced racism in English cricket
Moeen, who has made 200 international appearances, vowed to again become an England regular
19 Nov 2020
Former Test umpire accuses ECB of 'years of racisim'
John Holder, who officiated in 11 Tests and 19 ODIs in a career spanning almost three decades, has said that non-white umpires have not been appointed to first-class list since 1992
17 Nov 2020
Rafiq stands by allegations that he faced racism in Yorkshire
The off-spinner made claims that he was "ridiculed" for not drinking and was excluded from social events as a result
14 Nov 2020
Rana Naved claims he endured racist abuse from Yorkshire fans
Rana alleges he was subjected to racist slurs and hooting from the home crowd when he played for Yorkshire in 2008 and 2009
16 Sep 2020
Dom Bess to join Yorkshire from Somerset
The 23-year-old, who had a loan spell at Headingley last year, has signed a four-year deal with his new county
03 Sep 2020
Tim Bresnan leaves Yorkshire after 19 years
Bresnan helped Yorkshire win back-to-back County Championships in 2014 and 2015, with the bulk of his 557 first-class wickets taken on behalf of the 'White Rose' club
18 Jun 2020
Ashwin's Yorkshire move off as county cancel overseas deals
Yorkshire are also one of a number of counties trying to keep costs down by putting players on furlough as part of the British government's coronavirus job retention scheme
27 Apr 2020
Yorkshire put cricketers on furlough in response to virus
Under the scheme, the British government pays 80 percent of wages up to £2,500 ($3,070) per month
07 Apr 2020
India spinner Ashwin signs up with Yorkshire for county stint
Ashwin is scheduled to feature in a minimum of eight County Championship fixtures
16 Jan 2020
Peter Handscomb joins Middlesex as captain
The Aussie signed a two-year contract with the division two Championship side and replaces Dawid Malan as skipper
08 Nov 2019
Cricket like never before
Term of use
Privacy Policy
Cookies Policy
Follow us on
@ 2020 | All rights reserved