Rafiq said he started taking medication due to his deteriorating mental health and first left Yorkshire in 2014. When he returned, he initially felt settled under captain Alex Lees and coach Jason Gillespie.
“Jason left in 2016 and it just felt like the temperature in the room had gotten higher,” Rafiq said. “You had Andrew Gale as coach and Gary Ballance as captain. For the first time I started to see what it was – I felt isolated, sometimes humiliated. Constant use of the word ‘P***’.’
Rafiq said during a 2017 pre-season tour that Ballance had racially abused him. “We were somewhere and Gary Ballance walks up to him and says, ‘Why are you talking to him? You know he’s a P***’. This happened in front of teammates. It happened in the presence of the technical staff.’
Gary Ballance (pictured playing for England against South Africa in July 2017) is one of the cricket stars accused by Rafiq of racism between 2008 and 2018
He added: “He was constantly talking to me and making racist jokes, meant to undermine me and make me feel small, as if he came up to me and interrupted me when I was talking to girls in a club and said :’ don’t talk to him, he’s a P***’. I remember crying outside a nightclub after his constant racist taunting.
‘During those bus trips, he looked out for corner shops and made comments like ‘does your father have these?’ Gary often made comments like this on YCCC [Yorkshire County Cricket Club] bus trips, in the locker room or at events – and for YCCC coaches, staff and management, including our coach, Andrew Gale, [the coach] Richard Pyrah, Cricket Director Martyn Moxon and Club President Dickie Bird. But nothing was said or done to stop it. Instead, they often laughed along.’
Ballance admitted in a lengthy statement this month that he had used a “racial bouncer” against Rafiq, apologizing but seeing it as part of their friendship. Rafiq told the committee that this was not an accurate representation of their relationship, saying it had gone downhill from 2013 and had turned toxic by 2017.
Rafiq also claimed former England batter Alex Hales was involved, saying: “Gary and Alex Hales got really close when they played for England together. I wasn’t in that locker room, but what I understand (is) is that Alex called his dog “Kevin” because he was black. It’s disgusting how much joke it was.’
Alex Hales pictured with ex-girlfriend Danni Gisbourne, who dumped him for claiming he’d been unfaithful on a cricket tour
Asked about Vaughan, Rafiq said, “Michael may not remember…three of us, Adil, myself and Rana remember.
“Obviously he had a fragment of my statement. He used his platform at the Daily Telegraph to tell everyone he hadn’t said these things. To go ahead and put out a snippet of my statement and talk about other things, I thought it was all wrong. He probably doesn’t remember it because it means nothing to him.’
Rafiq is making claims about the former England player’s behavior at the club, saying he was one of ‘six or seven’ players who filed a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. But he added that he was the only one of those players who was of color.
He said ‘Tim belongs to Andrew’ [Gale’s] brother in law. They always supported each other. Tim went along and joined Andrew’s racist comments and they bumped into each other in terms of bullying. As with Andrew, Tim often made racist remarks and was unnecessarily harsh on me compared to white British players, which became so unbearable that I filed a formal complaint against him in 2017.”
Rafiq said, ‘It was Hoggy who started calling me ‘Raffa the Kaffir’. It was only later that I realized what ‘Kaffir’ meant, how it was used and that it was a racist term. Hoggy’s comments to myself and the other Asian players – Adil, Ajmal and Rana – were constant.
“He may have thought it was just chatter in the locker room, but when we came in in the morning, he’d say things like ‘you’re sitting there’ and make sure we all sat together. He also called us things like ‘elephant scrubbers’ and ‘P***’. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard apologized to him after interviewing him about his experience in Yorkshire.
He said, ‘I got a call from Matthew and he just said, ‘Look, I didn’t know, I’m really sorry. If some of the comments I’ve made have made you feel like you’ve described it, I’d like to apologize.” You know what, when someone does that, I’m like, ‘Thank you, I really appreciate it’.”
Rafiq also claimed about Tim Bresnan’s (left) behavior at the club, saying he was one of ‘six or seven’ players who filed a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard (right) had apologized to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience in Yorkshire
Rafiq said he found it “hurtful.” England captain Root said he had never seen anything of a racist nature in Yorkshire. “Rooty is a good man. He has never engaged in racist language,” Rafiq said.
“I found it hurtful because Rooty was Gary’s (Ballance) roommate and involved in many of the social contacts where I was called a ‘P***’. It shows how normal it was for even a good man like him not to see it for what it was. It won’t affect Joe, but it’s something I remember every day.”
Rafiq claimed: ‘There were denial, briefings, cover-ups, slander, high-profile media people sent messages to other members of the media who supported me saying things like ‘the clubhouse is the lifeblood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there’ , and ‘getting subs from Asian players is like drawing blood from a rock’.
And then personally, this guy doesn’t even know me, never spent time with me to talk about my personal alcohol use, going out and socializing. That was David Lloyd, he is an English coach, commentator and I found it disturbing. Within a week of speaking out, I got that emailed to me, and I thought, ‘God, there’s some racists in the closet and we need to do something about that.’
Sky cricket pundit David Lloyd has apologized after being named by Azeem Rafiq amid cricket’s racism storm
Rafiq claimed that Jack Brooks, a two-time County Championship winner in Yorkshire, had started the disrespectful habit of calling Indian star Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ during an overseas spell at the club.