Azeem Rafiq Gives Evidence About Racist Abuse To DCMS Committee, Says ‘Word Paki Was Used Constantly’

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New Delhi: Pakistan-born cricketer Azeem Rafiq talked candidly to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee in Westminster during a hearing as he gave evidence about racist abuse at one of England’s most successful cricket club Yorkshire, telling: “he felt isolated, humiliated at times”. The 30-year-old told DCMS committee that racism had been commonplace at Yorkshire, news agency AFP reported.

“Pretty early on, me and other people from an Asian background… there were comments such as ‘you’ll sit over there near the toilets’, ‘elephant-washers’.

“The word Paki was used constantly. And there just seemed to be an acceptance in the institution from the leaders and no one ever stamped it out.”

Rafiq added: “All I wanted to do is play cricket and play for England and live my dream and live my family’s dream. In my first spell, I don’t really think I quite realised what it was. I think I was in denial.”

He revealed left Yorkshire in 2014 and had to take medication due to his deteriorating mental health. Rafiq said Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie had supported him when he returned to the club but things got worse when Gillespie left the club.

“Jason left in 2016 and it just felt the temperature in the room had been turned up,” Rafiq said.

“You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain.

“For the first time I started to see for what it was — I felt isolated, humiliated at times. Constant use of the word ‘Paki’.”

Earlier this month, Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman Roger Hutton, who took charge in April 2020, quit and ‘apologised unreservedly’ over the club’s handling of allegations of racism by its former player Azim Rafiq. Pakistan-origin player and ex-England Under-19 skipper Azim Rafiq had said that he was made to feel like an outsider at the club last year.

(With Inputs from AFP)



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