Yorkshire cricketer says ‘institutional racism’ left him close to suicide

Azeem Rafiq bowling for Yorkshire Vikings during the Vitality Blast match against Derbyshire Falcons at Headingley in Leeds on 30 July 2018.

Azeem Rafiq bowling for Yorkshire Vikings in the course of the Vitality Blast match towards Derbyshire Falcons at Headingley in Leeds on 30 July 2018.

David Rogers/Getty Pictures

Yorkshire have vowed to put in a tradition of zero tolerance to prejudice after being accused of “institutional racism” by former player Azeem Rafiq, who stated his experiences on the English membership left him near suicide.

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

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Pakistan-born spinner Rafiq stated he felt, as a Muslim, he was made to really feel like an “outsider”.

“I understand how shut I used to be to committing suicide throughout my time at Yorkshire,” stated Rafiq who made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2009.

“I used to be dwelling my household’s dream as an expert cricketer, however inside I used to be dying. I used to be dreading going to work. I used to be in ache each day.

“There have been occasions I did issues to attempt to slot in that, as a Muslim, I now look again on and remorse. I am not happy with it in any respect.

“However as quickly as I finished attempting to slot in, I used to be an outsider.”

He added: “It is apparent to anybody who cares that there is a drawback. Do I believe there’s institutional racism? It is at its peak in my view. It is worse than it is ever been.”

In response to Rafiq’s allegations, Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton pledged to evaluate the county’s insurance policies and tradition.

“We’re within the means of finalising the construction of this investigation and we might be approaching neutral exterior events to be a part of the evaluate to make sure full transparency,” Hutton stated.

“We totally acknowledge that simply as in lots of walks of life, sport, together with cricket and Yorkshire as a membership, should do higher to completely promote a tradition of zero tolerance to racism or any type of prejudice.

“We accepted a very long time in the past that change was wanted at Headingley to enhance variety, particularly when it comes to racial inclusivity.

“We’ve got tried to make contact with Azeem this week to debate his experiences, and can make additional contact within the weeks forward because it’s necessary that we hear his grievances in as a lot element as attainable.”

Rafiq admitted his claims might injury his possibilities of returning to cricket.

“Yorkshire do not need to hear and so they do not need to change,” he stated.

“And a part of the rationale for that’s the individuals who had been concerned within the incidents I am speaking about are nonetheless on the membership. They only need to sweep it below the carpet.

“However not this time. Not once more. I do know what I am doing right here. I do know that by talking out I am damaging my possibilities of working within the sport once more.”

Requested about Rafiq’s complaints, Eoin Morgan, England’s restricted worldwide captain, admitted there’s room for extra dialog concerning the difficulty.

“An space the place we may be higher is telling individuals our story extra, getting snug speaking about rising up in a special nation or rising up in a special surroundings inside this nation and our journey to the place we’re at the moment,” he stated.

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