Azeem Rafiq ‘incredibly hurt’ by Root comments as Yorkshire chief resigns | Yorkshire


Azeem Rafiq has described himself as “incredibly hurt” after Joe Root mentioned he has not been witness to any situations of racism throughout his 14 years at Yorkshire.

On Thursday England’s Test captain broke his silence on the persevering with scandal hours earlier than Mark Arthur confirmed his resignation as chief govt. Issuing a press release from his crew’s pre-Ashes quarantine camp in Queensland, Root described racism as “intolerable” and known as for change within the sport. However, in a follow-up press convention – one by which questions on particular allegations had been barred – Root was requested 3 times whether or not he may keep in mind any of the abuse that Rafiq has alleged was widespread throughout his two spells within the Yorkshire dressing room between 2008 and 2018. “Not that I can recall, no I can’t,” he replied.

Root did add that “it is clear things happened” which want eradicating and he has pledged to assist Lord Patel, the brand new Yorkshire chair, who has hailed Rafiq as a whistleblower and is now tackling the gravest disaster within the membership’s 158-year historical past.


But Rafiq is known to nonetheless really feel badly let down by Root failing to acknowledge he was witness to any wrongdoing personally and, an hour after his former teammate had spoken, tweeted: “Disappointed is not even the feeling. Incredibly Hurt. But uncomfortable truths are hard to accept it seems.”

This was adopted by information that Arthur, the Yorkshire chief govt, has turn out to be the most recent individual to depart Headingley within the wake of the scandal. Patel mentioned the departure was “an important moment for the club” and added that new management “will be vital in driving the change we urgently need”.

Arthur, who was on the helm when Rafiq’s authentic allegations of racism weren’t correctly escalated when he left the membership in 2018, thanked supporters and listed the six-year south Asian engagement programme and the redevelopment of the Bradford Park Avenue floor as being among the many highlights of his eight-year spell in cost.

Joe Root with Azeem Rafiq and Gary Ballance, plus Adam Lyth, Scot McAllister and Steven Patterson after Yorkshire were promoted in 2012
Joe Root (third proper) with Azeem Rafiq (second proper) and Gary Ballance (proper) have a good time promotion with teammates in 2012. Photograph: Keiran Galvin/

The day was dominated by Root and Rafiq, nevertheless, two gamers who rose via the academy ranks collectively and made first-class debuts in 2009 earlier than their careers went in several instructions. They had been additionally shut buddies with Gary Ballance, the previous England batsman who final week admitted utilizing racist language in the direction of Rafiq prior to now as a part of what he described as their “two-way” pleasant verbals.

As a centrally contracted England participant, Root’s time at Headingley has been restricted since his debut in 2012. The 30-year-old has additionally pushed the Test crew’s public messaging on anti-discrimination and earned reward in 2019 after difficult an alleged homophobic slur by West Indies’ Shannon Gabiel on the sphere of play.

Rafiq has beforehand described Root as an “outstanding guy” in interviews – comparable reward has gone to Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire head coach from 2012 to 2016 – however has been left flummoxed by his outdated teammate replying “no” when requested whether or not he recognised the dressing room atmosphere that has been portrayed of late.

As such, Root now dangers being publicly challenged on this level by Rafiq when the previous off-spinner speaks below parliamentary privilege at what is predicted to be an explosive session of the digital, tradition, media and sport choose committee on Tuesday.

Asked if the occasions of the previous 18 months have made him query his future at Yorkshire, Root replied: “If you’re not at the club, how can you make any change? How can you help move things forward? As I said, I look forward to speaking to Lord Patel at some point in the future about how I can help move things forward.”

On the topic of whether or not gamers discovered to have used racist language needs to be banished from the game, Root replied: “I do think people deserve a second chance. And if they are willing to accept that they’ve made a mistake and they want to make change and want to move forward then I think that’s really important as well.”

In his earlier assertion, Root mentioned: “These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. We must now recover and come back together as fans, players, media and those who work within cricket. We have an opportunity to make the sport I love better for everyone.

Yorkshire's Headingley home
Clouds continue to gather over Headingley. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

“I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county. We need to educate, unify and reset.”

Much of the fallout is a direct results of Yorkshire’s dealing with of the disaster, first by failing to escalate Rafiq’s allegations when he raised them, in-house, in 2018 after which the 12-month investigation that Patel described as “flawed” upon saying that the membership had settled the employment tribunal case with their former off-spinner.

Indeed Rafiq himself tweeted on Thursday that he tried arduous to stop the present “car crash” at Yorkshire, one thing that has already led to Andrew Gale being suspended as head coach pending an investigation into an antisemitic tweet posted 11 years in the past and Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket, being signed off with stress.

Rafiq insists that is the results of the membership being unwilling to hearken to him and clearly there are these at Headingley who nonetheless vehemently reject his allegations. This was outlined in a letter from 14 employees members to the membership’s board in October that spoke of a “one-man mission to bring down the club”.

Sent three weeks after Yorkshire revealed a abstract of the report into Rafiq’s allegations – one which concluded he was the sufferer of racial harassment – the signatories accused the membership of failing to supply a powerful rebuttal of his claims.

The letter, first reported by the Daily Telegraph, mentioned: “Staff who knew Azeem well felt that an initial apology to him and an acceptance that he was a victim was not the correct approach and misrepresented entirely what kind of individual he was whilst at the club.

“There are endless episodes of Azeem’s behaviour, well-known to the club, which reflect on him as a person well before he decided to accuse the club, staff and players of any wrongdoing. We find it difficult to comprehend how this part of Azeem’s character has not been released or at least used by the club in its defence.”

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Responding to publication of this letter, Patel mentioned: “It is troubling for many reasons, and further evidence of the wider issues the club has faced.”

The Yorkshire board’s earlier response to this – and the disaster as an entire – will should be defined by Roger Hutton when he speaks to the choose committee subsequent week, with the previous chair having bemoaned “a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge” upon resigning from his place final Friday. Tom Harrison, the ECB chief govt, will seem earlier than the choose committee too.

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