Third Asian Muslim player speaks out against racism in Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Yorkshire Cricket Club, Headingley. Editorial credit: Duncan Cuthbertson

Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) has started an internal investigation into allegations made by another former Asian Muslim player who has accused his team-mates of racial abuse at the club.

The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that he experienced both “direct and indirect” racism from fellow players. After Azeem Rafiq and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan came spoke out, he became the third Yorkshire cricketer alleging YCCC of racism.

The allegations came at a time when YCCC is facing backlash over its handling of Azeem Rafiq’s racism scandal in which the club described racist slurs as “friendly and good-natured banter”.

Sky Sports reported that the player said: “I have come through the club myself, I know what went on and how I was treated and overlooked in favour of white players. I represented the county at all age groups and I was a contracted player at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“I also experienced racism from fellow players both direct and indirect. Believe it or not, I had a player p*** on my head from the hotel bedroom above as I was on the phone leaning out of my room window!

“Let alone the numerous racist comments both blatant and sly. The coach at the time said “ignore it” and that he would deal with it. They never did.

“I heard senior players talking about how they “shag**d” a bird in the hotel room who was on her period and made a mess, and all they could find is a Muslim players prayer mat to clean it up! Astagfirullah. Sick or what! These are supposed to be your teammates and people I looked up to.

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“When catching balls during training sessions these “teammates” would intentionally throw the ball so hard from close range that it used to bruise my hands through the gloves. I remember having to miss out on a final once due to this injury. The coaches wouldn’t say a thing, I would have to toughen up apparently!

“But the problem lies throughout the club, starting at the very top. The fact is I and others were used as a statistic. When people said Yorkshire were racist, their reply was “how can we be… we have x amount of Asians on our books”.

“Current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan identified the racism in the 90s. I personally was made to play academy game after academy game for years, with very little one to one technical coaching or development.

“I wasn’t given a single opportunity to play 2nd XI cricket. How were they expecting my game to improve? Other white players were given chances in the 2nd XI and, after failing initially, eventually they got used to the standard, which is what happens when playing with and against better players. You get used to it. I was then released citing financial reasons, this was done via letter. No meeting, no phone call, nothing!

“This was very difficult to take. Not only the fact that my dream had been shattered and I was being released but that I had given my blood, sweat and tears to the club and people, and they did not even have the decency to tell me I was being released with dignity.

“This sadly is the sentiment towards Asian players and the Asian community at the club. As sad as our experiences are, it is refreshing that the world is finally seeing what they are all about. It is about time.

“Everyone in the Asian cricketing community has known Yorkshire County Cricket Club is racist, yet somehow they have been able to cunningly continue with their agenda.

“There are many Asian cricketers like myself who have had their careers ruined but have moved on and taken the treatment and disappointment on the chin. I salute them all, as it can’t have been easy.

“I personally am blessed with the life I have been given and am fortunate I was able to overcome what I had experienced at the club. I’m not going to lie, after being released it did take me several years to get myself together. I turned to things that are totally out of character for me.

“But, looking back, I was a child when I signed for them and to experience what I did at that age was incredibly difficult. To be honest, I am worried for our community and our children going forward.”

Reacting to allegations, YCCC said in a statement: “This kind of behaviour would be completely unacceptable to the club.

“Now we are aware of it, it goes without saying that we will investigate the allegation thoroughly.”

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