Essex cricketer Zoheb Sharif, 38, says racist abuse wrecked his career

A Muslim cricketer has claimed he was told ‘no matter what you do you will not play in the first team’ as he opened up on alleged racist abuse he suffered as a player.

Zoheb Sharif said coaches at Essex dumped him in the 2nd XI before he was booted from the club in 2004.

The 38-year-old claimed he was averaging over 100 runs – more than most 1st XI stars – but was shunned for a place.

He earlier revealed he was called a ‘curry muncher’ and ‘bomber’ after 9/11 by his teammates.

Sharif said the vile nicknames stuck from his first day at the club and ‘no one batted an eyelid’.

It comes after Yorkshire CCC whistleblower Azeem Rafiq delivered an emotional and explosive account of his harrowing experience of racism in cricket to MPs yesterday.

The former spin bowler launched a series of new and shocking allegations that implicate a handful of high-profile former England players.

In a lengthy appearance for the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee he offered up a damning, and damaging, account of his life in the English game.

Zoheb Sharif said coaches at Essex dumped him in the 2nd XI before he was booted from the club in 2004. He is pictured second from right on the back row next to Ravi Bopara

1,000 step forward with race, gender and disability claims in ONE WEEK since a call for evidence

Azeem Rafiq’s bravery in speaking out against racism has been credited for encouraging more than 1,000 people coming forward with their own experiences of discrimination. 

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket began an open call for evidence last week and has been inundated with online survey submissions since from individuals who have been subjected to prejudice on grounds of race, gender or disability.

Chaired by Cindy Butts, a member of the Kick It Out board and a former deputy chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, ICEC is exploring the lack of progression of black and Asian players across talent pathways and the professional game as well as scrutinising the leadership of the England and Wales Cricket Board when it comes to matters of equity.

Sharif echoed Rafiq’s allegations during an appearance on Good Morning Britain today.

He said: ‘I was let go in 2004, so I spent most of my time in 2004 in the reserve team and I was told to perform.

‘I think the stats are out there, I averaged over 100 in the second team.’ Asked if first team players were hitting figures that high, he said: ‘Not many, not many.

‘I think the next first team player who went on to have good careers at the club were averaging 16 at the time.’

Asked why he thought he was released, he went on: ‘I can only put it down to my race.

‘I was told by a committee member no matter what you do you will not play first team no matter how well you do.

‘And this was off the back of me scoring a lot of hundreds in the second team and I think there was even a game where I said ”look please give me one more chance”.

‘They go ‘look, doesn’t matter, here’s another game” and I think in that game I got 100 runs.’

‘The county are aware of my so-called allegations against them. I’ve not really heard anything.

‘I don’t think Essex has formerly launched an investigation yet. I spoke a little bit to the chairman of Essex but I don’t know if they have officially launched…’

‘I hope they are [taking it seriously] as in Azeem’s case. So I hope they are but it’s not just me as well – there are others who have come out as well at Essex.’ 

Sharif, 38, from Leytonstone, East London, also alleged he was called 'curry muncher' during his time playing at Essex County Cricket Club as a teenager (pictured)

Sharif, 38, from Leytonstone, East London, also alleged he was called ‘curry muncher’ during his time playing at Essex County Cricket Club as a teenager (pictured)

He said he does feel cricket is institutionally racist, adding: ‘Some of the examples [Rafiq] mentioned and going back to my examples as well where curry muncher, bomber were accepted terms and no one really bat an eyelid to them really.’

Earlier he said: ‘I was shocked and saddened because I didn’t think it still happened, it’s obviously been going on for a lot longer than even before when I was playing.

‘My experiences go back about 20 years now, to when I made my debut, and I was unfortunate enough to make my debut the day after the September attacks.

‘I was labelled bomber straight away coming into the changing room and it was made worse that the fact that it was raining during the game so it spent a lot of time in the changing room. So that bomber nickname just stuck.

‘It was accepted across quite a few individuals who would say these sort of things and obviously as a young kid your dream is to make your professional debut.

‘But straight away I came in and it was bomber it just didn’t stop, this went on for all the time I was there and that transitioned to curry muncher.’

Yesterday Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Alex Hales and Gary Ballance were all dragged into the racism row.

In his published witness statement from a now-settled employment tribunal with Yorkshire, Rafiq said Bresnan’s treatment of him led to ‘suicidal thoughts’ in 2017, with a later apology from Bresnan described by Rafiq as ‘lip service’.

Elsewhere he restated an existing allegation against former England captain Michael Vaughan – which he denied – and also aired a long list of complaints against Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon and head coach Andrew Gale.

Neither of the pair are currently active in their posts, with Moxon signed off due to a stress-related illness and Gale suspended pending an investigation into an offensive historic tweet. They are yet to address this.

Rafiq’s attempts to raise allegations internally at the county fell on deaf ears more than three years ago, but an independent panel was eventually commissioned in 2020 following a series of media interviews.

Its report has been roundly criticised by those who have seen it – with DCMS committee chair Julian Knight deriding it as ‘a Venn diagram of stupidity’ – and led to Yorkshire’s controversial conclusion that no staff members should face disciplinary action.

Azeem Rafiq choked back tears yesterday as he revealed the word P*** was 'used constantly' during his time at Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Azeem Rafiq choked back tears yesterday as he revealed the word P*** was ‘used constantly’ during his time at Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Rafiq said he wished to become ‘the voice of the voiceless’ as he reflected on cricket’s wider problems around race, making it clear that he felt the shortcomings go right to the very top.

As well as going into disturbing details of his time at Headingley, the 30-year-old claimed Ballance’s derogatory use of the term ‘Kevin’ as a blanket term for all people of colour was ‘an open secret in the England dressing room’.

He further alleged that another former England batter, Alex Hales, had named his dog Kevin because it was black.

Ballance has apologised after previously admitted using a ‘racial slur’ against Rafiq over the course of a deep friendship but the latter rejected that assertion. Instead he says Ballance coined the unwanted and offensive nickname ‘Raffa the kaffir’ and would ‘constantly talk down to me and make racist jokes, designed to undermine me and make me feel small’. Examples involved references to corner shops, Sheikhs and being related to other Asian men.

Ballance is accused of repeatedly calling Rafiq ‘P***’, an allegation that is also levelled individually at Hoggard, Bresnan and Gale.

Hoggard is also said to have used the phrase ‘elephant washer’, subjecting Rafiq to such abuse ‘on a daily basis…all day, every day’ and making players of Asian heritage sit together in the changing room. During his oral evidence, Rafiq credited Hoggard with reaching out to apologise.

No such mitigation was offered for Bresnan, of whom Rafiq wrote: ‘Tim frequently made racist comments and was unduly harsh towards me compared to white British players, which became so unbearable that I made a formal complaint against him in 2017.’

Bresnan later apologised unreservedly for ‘any part I played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq’s experience of being bullied’ but stressed the accusation he frequently made racist comments was ‘absolutely not true’.

Gary Ballance  (pictured playing for England against South Africa in July 2017) is among the cricket stars accused of being racist between 2008 and 2018 by Rafiq

Gary Ballance  (pictured playing for England against South Africa in July 2017) is among the cricket stars accused of being racist between 2008 and 2018 by Rafiq

Rafiq hit out at England Test captain Joe Root (pictured), claiming he was on those nights out where he was called a 'P***'. But he said Root was a good man

He claimed fellow international star Alex Hales named his black dog Kevin after Ballance often used it as a term for black people

Rafiq hit out at England Test captain Joe Root (left), claiming he was on those nights out where he was called a ‘P***’. But he later said Root was a good man. He claimed fellow international star Hales (right) named his black dog Kevin after Ballance often used it as a term for black people

Rafiq also made claims over Tim Bresnan's (pictured) behaviour at the club, saying he was among 'six or seven' players to have made a bullying complaint against the star in 2017

Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard (pictured) had apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience at Yorkshire

Rafiq also made claims over Tim Bresnan’s (left) behaviour at the club, saying he was among ‘six or seven’ players to have made a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard (right) had apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience at Yorkshire

Former England captain Michael Vaughan (pictured in 2018) has categorically denied the claims made by Rafiq against him and issued a statement in which he described the accusations as 'extremely upsetting'

Former England captain Michael Vaughan (pictured in 2018) has categorically denied the claims made by Rafiq against him and issued a statement in which he described the accusations as ‘extremely upsetting’

Yorkshire Cricket Club scandal timeline:

2008-2018: Azeem Rafiq spends 10 years at Yorkshire CCC, becoming their youngest-ever captain and first of Asian origin in 2012.

September 2020: Yorkshire launch investigation as Rafiq reveals that ‘deep-rooted’ racism at the club left him ‘close to committing suicide’. ‘I would regularly come home from training and cry all day,’ he said. Accusations included people saying there was ‘too many of you lot’ referring to Rafiq and Asian team-mates.

December 2020: Rafiq files legal claim against the county, claiming he suffered ‘direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club’.

June 2021: Report is delayed and Rafiq’s lawyer says the pushbacks ‘create a lack of faith in the entire process’. Employment tribunal is held but parties fail to resolve the dispute.

August 2021: Yorkshire issue ‘profound apologies’ to Rafiq as report finds he was ‘the victim of inappropriate behaviour’. But they do not accept the claim of institutional racism – Rafiq accuses the county of ‘fudging’ his claims and promised he was ‘not going away’.

September 2021: ECB are ‘very concerned’ with the summary of the panel’s findings, with Yorkshire admitting Rafiq was the victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’. 

But just seven of the 43 allegations made are upheld, with Yorkshire saying they do not intend to publish a full report.

October 2021: Yorkshire say they will not take disciplinary action against any of its employees following the report. Rafiq writes on Twitter that the club is ’embarrassing’, saying it gives a ‘green light’ to racism.

Last week: Details of the report are published by ESPNcricinfo, including a senior player’s admission that he repeatedly used the word ‘P***’ in reference to Rafiq, which was deemed ‘banter’. Health secretary Sajid Javid said ‘heads should roll’, with the Prime Minister asking the ECB to investigate. 

Last week: MailOnline reveals the player was Rafiq’s former Yorkshire team-mate, England batsman Gary Ballance. Sponsors Anchor Butter, Yorkshire Tea and Emerald all cut ties with the club.

Gale is also alleged to have used a variety of racial slurs as well using his leadership positions to subject Rafiq to ‘discriminatory treatment and bullying’ which held back his career.

The majority of Rafiq’s claims centre around his two stints as a Yorkshire player between 2008 and 2018, with notable exceptions for Jason Gillespie’s reign as head coach and a month-long loan spell at Derbyshire, but a graphic episode from his youth was also described.

Rafiq revealed that as an aspiring 15-year-old club cricketer he had been restrained in a car and force-fed alcohol by a former Yorkshire and Hampshire player. As a Muslim this contravened his religious beliefs, though he later admitted he took up drinking at Yorkshire.

‘I got pinned down at my local cricket club and had red wine poured down my throat, literally down my throat,’ he said.

‘I (then) didn’t touch alcohol until about 2012 and around that time I felt I had to do that to fit in.

‘I wasn’t perfect, there are things I did which I felt I had to do to achieve my dreams. I deeply regret that but it has nothing to do with racism.

‘The game as a whole has a problem, with listening to the victim. There is no ‘yeah, but’ with racism; there is no ‘two sides’ to racism.’

Asked if he could identify a single individual who had stood up for him or called out acts of racism at the time, he was unable to summon a name, adding: ‘You had people who were openly racist and you had the bystanders. No-one felt it was important.’

Expanding on Ballance’s use of the word ‘Kevin’, Rafiq explained: ‘Kevin was something Gary used to describe anyone of colour in a very derogatory manner. It was an open secret in the England dressing room.

‘Anyone who came across Gary would know that was a phrase he would use to describe people of colour.

‘Gary and Alex Hales got really close to each other when they played for England together. I wasn’t present in that dressing room, but what I understand (is) that Alex went on to name his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.’

On England captain Joe Root’s recent assertion that he could not recall any examples of racism at Yorkshire, Rafiq found it hard to reconcile his positive view of the individual with the culture that existed during their time together at Yorkshire.

‘Rooty is a good man. He never engaged in racist language,’ he said.

‘I found it hurtful because Rooty was Gary’s housemate and had been involved in a lot of the socialising where I was called a ‘P***’.

‘It shows how normal it was that even a good man like him doesn’t see it for what it was. It’s not going to affect Joe, but it’s something I remember every day.’

Former England coach and veteran commentator David Lloyd issued an apology on Twitter after Rafiq indicated he had exchanged disparaging messages about him in private.

Lloyd, whose employers Sky have said they are investigating the comments, wrote: ‘I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.’

Bresnan tweeted last night: ‘For any part I played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq’s experience of feeling bullied at Yorkshire, I apologised unreservedly,’ said the former England international.

‘I must though categorically deny his accusation that I ‘frequently made racist comments’. This is absolutely not true.’

Sky cricket pundit David Lloyd has apologised after being named by Azeem Rafiq amid cricket's racism storm

Sky cricket pundit David Lloyd has apologised after being named by Azeem Rafiq amid cricket’s racism storm

Lloyd expressed 'deep regret' for the comment he made in a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening

Lloyd expressed ‘deep regret’ for the comment he made in a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening

Essex Cricket Chief Executive, John Stephenson, said on Monday: ‘I am extremely disappointed to hear of further historic racial allegations from a former player about two of his teammates and an ex-member of staff, none of whom are currently involved with the Club in any capacity.

‘The allegations reported today, involving Essex and another Club, make distressing reading. Everything which has been reported will be taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly.

‘After learning of the allegations last night, I instantly contacted the former player to offer the Club’s full support. He has shown immense bravery in coming forward and in speaking with us about the incidents he describes. I appreciate how difficult this must be for him.

‘The Club will rigorously investigate all allegations while we have also referred this matter to the ECB. As the new Chief Executive of Essex Cricket, I am determined to listen to all allegations and to work to eliminate any behaviour which tarnishes the game I love.

‘When I became Chief Executive, six weeks ago, I committed myself to upholding the Club’s multicultural and diverse values. Essex Cricket takes pride in working within ethnic diverse communities across the county and surrounding areas. No one at the Club will stand for any form of discrimination.

‘The only way we are going to progress, not only in cricket, but in society in general, is if people who have suffered abuse or discrimination feel comfortable enough to speak out and share their experiences. I want to create an environment in which former players, staff members or anyone associated with the Club who has experienced any form of discrimination can come forward and confide in us, either in person or anonymously.’ 

The England and Wales Cricket Board has appointed an independent commission for equity in cricket (ICEC), chaired by Cindy Butts, charged with examining the issue of race in the game.

Its call for evidence is now open, but Rafiq was sceptical about that process, stating: ‘Action is needed and needed now. To be honest, we are sick and tired of these equity commissions and inquiries. Sick and tired.

‘All we are asking for is equality, to be treated fairly regardless of the colour of our skin or the religion we follow. It’s 2021, we shouldn’t even be having this conversation. No-one has ever been a whistleblower before, no-one has ever had the courage to come forward because of the fear of not being believed. Do I believe I lost my career to racism? Yes I do.

‘Maybe what was written for me was this. I’m a massive believer that everything happens for a reason. I hope in five years’ time we are going to see a big change, that I did something far bigger than any runs or any wickets I got.’

Michael Vaughan issued a statement on Monday categorically denying accusations he had told four Asian team-mates ‘there’s too many of your lot, we need to do something about it’. The others with claims against them have been contacted.

Azeem Rafiq sensationally accuses Yorkshire of allowing his former team-mate Gary Ballance to MISS drug tests and covering for the ex-England star when he failed them as the fallout from his explosive racism allegations continues

  • Azeem Rafiq gave a statement on abuse at Yorkshire to an employment tribunal
  • The latest claims are included in the statement, which has been released today
  • It follows Rafiq’s other explosive claims to MPs at a DCMS committee hearing
  • Rafiq was subjected to racism and bullying at Yorkshire County Cricket Club 
  • Representatives of Gary Ballance denied Rafiq’s claims that the player missed a drug test or had ‘drug and alcohol issues’ as ‘egregious false allegations’

Azeem Rafiq has accused Yorkshire County Cricket Club of protecting their white players, including allowing former England star Gary Ballance to miss drug tests and cover for him when he failed them.

The claims are included in Rafiq’s witness statement to an employment tribunal, which was held after he brought claims of racial harassment and bullying against Yorkshire, but the allegations have been refuted by Ballance’s representatives.

Rafiq says that while Yorkshire protected white players, they failed to offer support to their Pakistani team mates.

And the revelations come after the player’s explosive testimony to the Parliamentary Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, earlier on Tuesday. 

In alarming evidence, Rafiq slammed English cricket as ‘institutionally racist’ and detailed his ‘inhumane’ treatment at Yorkshire.

Downing Street described his evidence to the committee as ‘concerning’.  

Following the four-hour hearing, the DCMS committee released the witness statement Rafiq had made to the employment tribunal.

Rafiq has claimed Yorkshire allowed Gary Ballance to skip drug tests when he played for them

Rafiq has claimed Yorkshire allowed Gary Ballance to skip drug tests when he played for them

In his statement to the tribunal, which Yorkshire settled with £200,000 in compensation last week, the cricketer said: ‘Over the years, YCCC protected Gary Ballance with respect to his drug and alcohol issues, allowing him to miss drug hair sample tests to avoid sanctions.

‘When he failed a recreational drug test and was forced to miss some games, the club informed the public he was missing games because he was struggling with anxiety and mental health issues.’

Ballance has categorically refuted the claims made by Rafiq through his representatives.

‘As stated in his previous statement Gary does not intend on making any further public statement regarding Azeem’s allegations, however, he must correct the record relating to the egregious false allegations made in Azeem’s Witness Statement that Gary had ‘drug and alcohol issues’ and ‘miss[ed] drug hair sample tests to avoid sanctions,’ they said.

‘These allegations are categorically untrue and should never have been made. Gary has never, to his knowledge, missed a drug test and would not do so.’

The 57-page witness statement was released by the DCMS committee. 

In it, Rafiq contrasts treatment of himself with white players, suggesting that Balance, Joe Root and Alex Lees were protected when they ‘had been suspended or had difficulties during their time at the club’.

Rafiq was suspended after an incident during an England U19 series at a hotel in Scarborough in 2010, following which he embarked on an expletive-laden Twitter tirade, and claimed he was innocent and there had been no investigation.

His suspension lasted for a month and despite no stipulation to avoid Headingley, he claims he was made unwelcome at the stadium during this period.

Yorkshire Cricket Club has faced a barrage of claims of racial misconduct in recent months

Yorkshire Cricket Club has faced a barrage of claims of racial misconduct in recent months

During his testimony to MPs, Rafiq said the club offered him no support while his wife, Faryal, suffered a complicated pregnancy, which resulted in the death of their unborn son. 

When he returned to work ‘Martyn Moxon [director of cricket] got me in a room and literally ripped the shreds off me,’ he said.

In his witness statement to the tribunal, Rafiq said: ‘It seemed obvious to me that far more support was offered to other players, for example, Gary Ballance received a lot of support through depression and anxiety and Jonny Bairstow in relation to the ongoing impact and trauma of his father’s suicide.’

And he added: ‘What I learned over the years was that incidents with white players are covered up and a positive media spin is put out to protect them, yet in the case of Pakistani players, we are criticised unfairly and everything is put on show for the media to attack us with no protection afforded by YCCC.’

Rafiq, 30, (pictured) settled a six-figure fee with Yorkshire CCC at an employment tribunal last week after accusing the club of institutional racism and bullying

Rafiq, 30, (pictured) settled a six-figure fee with Yorkshire CCC at an employment tribunal last week after accusing the club of institutional racism and bullying

The witness statement goes into detail about the alleged abuse Rafiq experienced at Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018, including from Ballance.

‘He would constantly talk down to me and make racist jokes, designed to undermine me and make me feel small, like coming up and interrupting when I was talking to girls in a club, saying ‘don’t talk to him, he’s a P***’.

Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale was included in Rafiq's witness statement to an employment tribunal

Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale was included in Rafiq’s witness statement to an employment tribunal

‘I did my best to try to fit in, but it happened so much that at one point in 2012, I remember crying outside a nightclub after his constant racist taunting.’

Rafiq said the abuse also occurred on ‘YCCC trips, tours and events, and in front of YCCC coaches and staff, who did nothing to stop it and would often laugh along with Gary at the humiliating, racist comments he made towards me’.

When news broke earlier this month that Ballance was named in the report, the batsman issued a statement: ‘It has been reported that I used a racial slur and, as I told the independent enquiry, I accept that I did so and I regret doing so.

‘To be clear – I deeply regret some of the language I used in my younger years.’

Rafiq says that when he returned to Yorkshire for a second spell the situation has improved under coach Jason Gillespie, but deteriorated after the Australian left.

‘From 2017 onwards, when Andrew Gale (Coach), Tim Bresnan (Vice Captain) and Gary Ballance (Captain) either coached and / or captained the team, I became the constant target of their racist comments and alleged banter and bullying culture,’ said Rafiq.

‘It affected my mental health, my ability to get out of bed in the morning and face the world, my sense of self-worth, and later my performance – and led to further suicidal thoughts.’

In his witness statement, Rafiq highlights the alleged behaviour of Gale, who played with him and later became club captain and then team coach.

Gale is currently suspended pending an investigation into an unrelated historical tweet. 

‘Andrew joined in with Gary and others in the racist banter,’ said Rafiq. 

‘Throughout my time at YCCC, Andrew called me ‘Raffa the Kaffir’, ‘P***’ and so on. But it was the discriminatory treatment and bullying I felt from him that was harder for me than the name calling.’

Former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie has won praise for how he managed the team

Former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie has won praise for how he managed the team

And Rafiq added: ‘Things got even worse after Jason Gillespie left at the end of 2016 and Andrew became coach.

‘Before that he was a fellow player and captain, so I felt like I could ignore him as I had Jason there as our coach who supported me and looked after me. But when Andrew became coach, he had full control over my life and my career.

‘I had to communicate with him every day, he would leave me out of training sessions, he would put me down – in ways I hadn’t seen him do that to others and particularly white British players.

‘I just don’t think that we received fair and equal treatment from Andrew, as compared with white British players.’ 

Rafiq claims England's Adil Rashid hasalso been targeted with racist abuse at Yorkshire

Rafiq claims England’s Adil Rashid hasalso been targeted with racist abuse at Yorkshire

Rafiq highlighted the role played in the dressing room by former England fast bowler Matthew Hoggard. He said Hoggard coined the term, ‘Raffa the Kaffir’, which many people called Rafiq.

‘The comments from Hoggy towards myself and the other Asian players – Adil, Ajmal and Rana – were constant, on a daily basis, and all day, every day.

‘I think he might have thought it was just dressing room banter, but we would come in in the morning and he would say things like ‘you lot sit over there’ and make us all sit together. He would also call us things like ‘elephant washers’ and ‘P***’.

However, Rafiq said Hoggard called him after he shared his experiences in the media and apologised.

‘I thanked him and I respect him for that,’ said Rafiq, who added: ‘I genuinely liked Hoggy, but I think he was a product of the discriminatory culture he was in and the culture that was allowed to thrive at YCCC.’

Rafiq claims comments made by former England captain Michael Vaughan left him shocked

Rafiq claims comments made by former England captain Michael Vaughan left him shocked

Vaughan is now fighting to salvage his reputation having guided England to Ashes glory

Vaughan is now fighting to salvage his reputation having guided England to Ashes glory

Rafiq also detailed an alleged incident with Michael Vaughan, the former England and Yorkshire captain, ahead of a T20 fixture against Nottinghamshire in 2009.

The all-rounder claims that the captain said to himself and three other Asian players, ‘there’s too many of you lot. We need to have a word about that’.

‘At the time, I remember being shocked and thinking, ‘did he actually just say that?”, recalled Rafiq.

‘I felt so disappointed that I felt sick. And then I felt angry. But I was so determined to play for England that I just tried to let it go. But I never forgot it.’

Vaughan completely and categorically denies he said the words.

In a statement to the Press Association on Monday, the former England captain said: ‘I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the ‘you lot’ comment simply never happened.

Former Yorkshire captain Tim Bresnan has also come in for criticism from Rafiq

Former Yorkshire captain Tim Bresnan has also come in for criticism from Rafiq

Rafiq made a formal complaint against another ex-Yorkshire captain and former England player, Tim Bresnan, in 2017.

‘Tim would participate with and encourage Gary [Ballance] in the racist comments and jokes that were directed at me (for example, comments like ‘is that your uncle’s shop?’), laughing along at such remarks,’ alleged Rafiq.

‘Tim was a senior player who had played for England. I believe that if Tim had pulled Gary up, rather than encouraging him, it would not have continued.’

And there is also criticism of Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, which extends from a lack of pastoral care after the death of his unborn son to holding back his development as a player.

‘I became depressed and suicidal,’ said Rafiq. ‘I felt that Martyn and the club were not supporting my career and were actively taking decisions which I felt were discriminatory and were limiting my opportunities. YCCC controlled my career and were not making decisions in my best interests.’

In his statement to the tribunal, Rafiq said he was motivated to come forward and tell his story to the media in August 2020 in part because of the Black Lives Matter movement.

‘I felt an obligation to speak up for future generations of Asian cricketers, so they wouldn’t go through what I did. I wanted to make sure that we create the change that is required to support them into professional cricket and that they have a positive experience in the sport,’ he said.

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