England v New Zealand: Azeem Rafiq will attend day three of the Headingley Test as Yorkshire’s guest

EXCLUSIVE: Azeem Rafiq will attend day three of the Headingley Test as Yorkshire’s guest… with county set to provide extra security to ex-spinner as both sides look to move on from turbulent racism scandal

  • Azeem Rafiq regularly receives abusive and racist messages on social media
  • His complaints of racist abuse while at Yorkshire nearly cost county Test match
  • His presence on Saturday will therefore be a sign of both sides moving on

Azeem Rafiq will attend the third day of the Headingley Test as a guest of Yorkshire in a powerful symbol that he has made peace with the club.

The former off-spinner had expressed concerns about his safety at the match because he regularly receives abusive and racist messages from individuals claiming to be Yorkshire supporters, but he has received assurances from the club and the ECB that he will be provided with the necessary security.

Rafiq’s complaints of racist abuse while at Yorkshire — seven of which were upheld by an independent inquiry — almost cost the county the right to stage the New Zealand Test as the ECB removed their international hosting rights last year after the club initially opted to take no disciplinary action against his abusers.

Azeem Rafiq will attend the third day of the Headingley Test as a guest of Yorkshire

He has been assured by Yorkshire and the ECB the necessary security will be provided

He has been assured by Yorkshire and the ECB the necessary security will be provided

The 31-year-old’s presence on Saturday as Yorkshire’s guest will therefore be a sign of both sides moving on from the one of the most turbulent episodes in the county’s history.

Significant divisions remain, however, after 16 members of staff were sacked by new chairman Lord Patel.

The ECB last week issued fresh charges against Yorkshire and seven former players, including Michael Vaughan.

It is a sign both sides are moving on from a turbulent episode in the county's history

It is a sign both sides are moving on from a turbulent episode in the county’s history

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