Adil Rashid backs up racism allegations against Michael Vaughan

Published November 16, 2021
England's Adil Rashid reacts after failing to field the ball during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup semi-final match between England and New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Nov 10. — AP
England's Adil Rashid reacts after failing to field the ball during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup semi-final match between England and New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Nov 10. — AP

LONDON: England leg-spinner Adil Rashid has said he heard the country’s former captain Michael Vaughan question the number of players of Asian heritage in the Yorkshire side in 2009, an allegation first levelled by Azeem Rafiq.

The BBC dropped Vaughan from a radio show earlier this month after he was named in a report looking into allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire made by former player Rafiq.

Vaughan had earlier said he was alleged to have told Rafiq and three other Asian players that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” before a Yorkshire match in 2009 and strongly denied making the comment.

The four players in question were Rashid, Rafiq, Ajmal Shahzad and Pakistan international Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. Naved has confirmed to ESPN Cricinfo that he overheard Vaughan's remarks.

Now Rashid, who played in England’s 50-over World Cup-winning team in 2019 and was recently in the England team at the T20 World Cup, has said he supported Rafiq’s allegation about Vaughan.

“Racism is a cancer in all walks of life and unfortunately in professional sports too, and is something which of course has to be stamped out,” Rashid said in a statement on Monday via the Cricketer website.

“I wanted to concentrate as much as possible on my cricket and to avoid distractions to the detriment of the team but I can confirm Azeem Rafiq’s recollection of Michael Vaughan’s comments to a group of us Asian players. “I’m encouraged by the fact that a parliamentary committee seems to be trying to improve the situation, whether that’s holding people accountable or getting changes made at an institutional level.

“I will of course be more than happy to support any official efforts when the time is right.”

Rafiq’s allegations of facing institutional racism while a Yorkshire player between 2008 and 2018 have led an exodus of sponsors and a series of resignations from top executives at the club.

The club have also been suspended from hosting international cricket, while Rafiq and senior Yorkshire executives are due to give evidence before a parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) panel on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2021

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