Connect with us

Cricket

Azeem Rafiq set to give evidence before DCMS as pressure mounts on Yorkshire

Published

on


The full details of Azeem Rafiq‘s allegations of racism at Yorkshire are set to come to light after he was called to give evidence to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee.

Roger Hutton, the chair of Yorkshire, Mark Arthur, the chief executive, and Martyn Moxon, the club’s director of cricket, have also been called to provide evidence. The hearing will be held on November 16.

Subsequently, however, the report was leaked to ESPNcricinfo and, once details were published, the public backlash persuaded various political figures to intervene. These details included incidents of a fellow player referring to Rafiq as a “P**i” on numerous occasions. The panel reviewing the information concluded that Rafiq should have appreciated this was no more than “banter” and didn’t believe his alleged upset was genuine.

This led to UK health secretary Sajid Javid calling for “heads to roll” at Yorkshire, while culture secretary Nadine Dorries labelled Rafiq’s treatment “disgusting”. A spokesperson for Boris Johnson, the prime minister, said the language used against Rafiq was “racist” and “should never be used in any context whatsoever”.

Perhaps most pertinently, the chair of the DCMS select committee, Julian Knight, called for the entire board of the club to resign. Knight has the power to call all involved to give evidence to the committee of MPs. The conclusions of his panel will prove hard to ignore.

“Given the endemic racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club,” Knight wrote on Twitter, “I struggle to think of any reason why that the board should remain in post. This is one of the most repellent and disturbing episodes in modern cricket history.”

While Hutton, Arthur and Moxon may be in for an uncomfortable ride when the DCMS session begins, it is perhaps the testimony of Rafiq that promises to reveal the most. While he has been limited in what he can say as his employment tribunal and the Yorkshire investigation took place, Rafiq is likely to be protected by parliamentary privilege when talking to DCMS and is thought unlikely to spare any detail. As a result, some significant figures in the history of Yorkshire and England cricket are likely to be sitting extremely uneasily.

Hutton’s testimony may also be revealing. He didn’t join Yorkshire until April 2020, long after the period to which these allegations relate, and retained a relatively good relationship with Rafiq. He had originally indicated a desire to see the full report published but, in the face of strong opposition from a couple of his key executives and some legal advice which suggested to do so would risk libel actions, was eventually persuaded to take a different approach. He is seen, by the ECB and to some extent Rafiq, as a reforming influence at the club and is still thought to want to see the contents of the report published.

His relationship with his senior executives has clearly deteriorated, however. Some of them feel the club should have fought the allegations more aggressively and resent Hutton’s attempts at contrition. As a result of the disagreement within the senior management, the club has neither effectively refuted the allegations nor accepted fault. Hutton was understood to be considering his position.

Were he to step down, it seems a familiar face could replace him. Colin Graves, the former ECB chair, is understood to have let it be known that he would be prepared to return to the club. Graves was also chair of Yorkshire for some of the period in which Rafiq was at the club.

There would be some irony in Hutton’s departure, as it would leave in place two of the officials who came in for some of the fiercest criticism in the report. The pair were found to be “dismissive of the concerns of race discrimination” raised by Rafiq. They were also accused in the report of demonstrating “insufficient concern” that one of the club’s “players may have felt racially discriminated against”. This convinced the panel that they were “dismissive of Azeem’s concerns”.

Both remain in high-profile positions at the club and are understood to have been among the small group who reviewed the final report and decided not to share its contents.

Elsewhere in the report, a former Yorkshire and England player – who no longer represents the club – is found to have engaged in behaviour which “amounted to bullying”. He is cleared of serious misconduct, however, as the panel concluded his motivations were not racist.

The panel was chaired by Samir Pathak, surgeon and trustee of the MCC Foundation, and included Mesba Ahmed, vice-chairman of the National Asian Cricket Council, Rehana Azib, an employment barrister, Helen Hyde, the former Waitrose personnel director and Stephen Willis, CFO of Durham University and the senior independent director of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Meanwhile Roger Pugh, the former chair of the Yorkshire South Premier League, has been proposed as Head of the Premier Section of the league. Pugh was obliged to stand down in September 2020 when he reacted to news of Rafiq’s struggles, including his suicidal thoughts and the loss of a child, by saying he was “discourteous, disrespectful and very difficult”. He then invoked a biblical phrase to suggest a karmic element to Rafiq’s plight, writing “as ye sow so shall ye reap”.

The news will do nothing to assuage the growing doubts at the ECB about the culture of cricket in the region. Having only had the Yorkshire report for a few days – the club refused to hand it over until the ECB threated to prosecute them for bringing the game into disrepute – they are still getting to grips with the key facts. The board is likely to speak to dozens of witnesses before coming to any conclusions so any report could be some months away.

“Last week we received Yorkshire’s report into the racism and bullying allegations Azeem Rafiq made against the club,” the ECB said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We are conscious about the length of time that Azeem has waited for resolution and the toll that must be taking on his wellbeing and that of his family. We are sorry that, as a sport, this has not yet been resolved.

“We will conduct a full regulatory process that is fair to all parties, but also ensure this happens as quickly as possible. To achieve this, we have secured the services of a QC, along with other external investigatory support to upweight resource around our process. The ECB board has also reaffirmed its commitment to further additional resource, should the investigation require it.”

ESPNcricinfo understands there is increasing concern within the ECB at Yorkshire being allowed to host or bid for international fixtures while issues around the subject remain unresolved. The club are currently scheduled to host a Test against New Zealand in 2022 and an Ashes Test in 2023. With political opinion building and the ECB anxious to show they are tough on the issue of racism, it is becoming ever more possible the club could be stripped of such games.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo





Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Cricket

James Anderson sits out first Test with an eye on Adelaide pink-ball contest

Published

on



England said there are no injury concerns around the quick bowler and he was fit for selection



Source link

Continue Reading

Cricket

BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival

Published

on


News

The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop

Captain Nic Maddinson
Coach David Saker

Squad
Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)

In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim

Last season

It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
International impact
Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
Player to watch
Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



Source link

Continue Reading

Cricket

Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series

Published

on


News

The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park

West Indies will play three ODIs and a T20I against Ireland in Jamaica from January 8 to 16, the CWI has announced, with the possibility that the standalone T20I will be used as a farewell match for Chris Gayle.

While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.

“It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.

“It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”

Ireland will travel to the Caribbean on December 31, immediately after their series against USA which starts on December 22 and comprises two T20Is and three ODIs. They have already named their squads for both tours, with Kevin O’Brien left out and David Ripley taking temporary charge as interim head coach.
Ireland last toured the Caribbean in 2020, drawing the T20I series 1-1 and losing the ODI series 3-0. Sabina Park was also the venue for one of the finest moments in Irish cricketing history, their victory over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup on St Patrick’s Day.

“We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending