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Yorkshire racism crisis – Nike cancel kit sponsorship in latest blow to Yorkshire

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Four-year deal cancelled after six months as brands distance themselves from club

The sports manufacturing giants Nike have become the latest major sponsor to break their ties with Yorkshire, as the club’s crisis deepens in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism investigation.

The deal, which had covered the club’s men’s and women’s teams across all formats, was only unveiled in March and had been due to run for four years.

However, in a statement, the brand chose to distance itself from the club with immediate effect, saying: “Nike will no longer be the kit supplier for Yorkshire CCC. We stand firmly against racism and discrimination of any kind.”

The news follows a wave of similar statements from the club’s major sponsors, including Emerald Group Publishing, the title sponsors of Headingley Stadium, who said that they would continue to fund the venue, which is shared with Leeds Rhinos rugby league team, but would no longer support Yorkshire cricket, which it hoped would “respond with serious action to eradicate racism from the club and uphold the values we all expect”.

Yorkshire Tea have also withdrawn their sponsorship, even though their particular deal was already due to expire, as have local brewers Tetley Bitter, who have a 25-year association with the club, and host a number of alcohol stands on the Headingley concourse.

“As a brand we strive to be inclusive and to work with partners that share these values. We are deeply saddened by the ongoing conversation surrounding Yorkshire County Cricket Club following the recent investigation and report, and firmly believe further decisive action is required,” a Tetley’s statement read.

“As such, we have informed Yorkshire County Cricket Club of our intention to not extend our official beer sponsorship with them beyond the end of the current contractual agreement. We are proud of our investment in sport in Leeds through these partners and do not want the actions of one club to impact on others.”

Other sponsors to pull the plug include David Lloyd Clubs, who had suspended their arrangement earlier in the year; Harrogate Spa Water, and Anchor Butter, whose logo had previously appeared on the club’s Royal London Cup shirts.

The latest developments follow the disclosure on Wednesday that Gary Ballance, the ex-England batter, was the Yorkshire player who had used the racial slur “P**i” in his interactions with Rafiq. In a statement, Ballance said that he deeply regretted his choice of words, but insisted that Rafiq had been his “closest friend and supporter in cricket”.

In a brief statement on Twitter, Rafiq said that the issue was bigger than “the words of certain individuals”, and that he would save his full response until he appears at the parliamentary select committee hearing on November 16, along with Roger Hutton, Yorkshire’s chairman, and two senior executives in Mark Arthur and Martyn Moxon.

The ECB board are due to meet on Thursday to discuss their response to the crisis.



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Ban vs Pak 1st Test

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Nurul Hasan was named as Yasir’s concussion substitute, although he won’t be allowed to keep wicket

Debutant Yasir Ali was taken for scans at a local hospital in Chattogram after being stuck on the back of his helmet during Bangladesh’s second innings on the fourth morning. Wicketkeeper-batter Nurul Hasan was named as Yasir’s concussion substitute, although he won’t be allowed to keep wicket as Yasir isn’t a keeper.

The incident occurred at the end of the 30th over when Yasir ducked into a Shaheen Shah Afridi bouncer. Yasir briefly took his eye away from the delivery while getting under the ball, and was hit on the helmet.

Bangladesh’s physio Bayejidul Islam checked Yasir immediately, and he went back to batting. But an over later, Bayejid came back to check on Yasir during the drinks break, after which he walked off.

The team director Khaled Mahmud confirmed a few minutes later that Yasir was out of the Test match, with Nurul as his replacement. Yasir has been taken to Imperial Hospital for a CT scan. A BCB statement said later that “he is medically stable. However, as a precaution, he will be observed for 24 hours at the hospital.”

This is the third time Bangladesh have needed concussion substitutes. The first instance was during the Kolkata Test in 2019 when Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan were struck on the head. Mohammad Saifuddin was also substituted during an ODI against Sri Lanka in May this year.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22

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Roston Chase dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne late in the day, but not before another century opening stand

Sri Lanka 113 for 1 (Nissanka 61*, Karunaratne 42, Chase 1-33) vs West Indies

Pathum Nissanka breezed his way to a half-century, Dimuth Karunaratne fell eight short of a fifty that would have seen him equal a world record, and on a day in which rain washed out the first two sessions, Sri Lanka gained a significant advantage, moving to 113 for 1 in the 33.4 overs that were possible.
Before Roston Chase caught-and-bowled Karunaratne late in the day, Sri Lanka’s openers had put on 106 runs in 31 overs – their second century stand in the series. Kemar Roach, returning for this game after having been left out in favour of Shannon Gabriel, was perhaps the best of West Indies’ bowlers, delivering six overs and conceding just 12. Sri Lanka’s batters were largely untroubled by the others.

Nissanka was positive almost from the outset. He drilled a full Jason Holder ball down the ground for four to begin the second over, carved Roach past the slip cordon soon after, and although occasionally beaten by deliveries that jagged past his outside edge, was on a constant hunt for runs, moving to 20 off his first 30 balls. Karunaratne was typically conservative by comparison – defending and leaving the majority of deliveries he faced from the seamers, making just 4 from his first 30 deliveries.

Eventually though, Holder and Roach wrapped up their spells, and batting seemed to get easier. Kyle Mayers was hit for three fours – twice through the leg side by Karunaratne – in his first two overs, the only two he bowled on the first day. Nissanka attempted to dominate the left-arm spin of Veerasammy Permaul, who was playing his first Test since 2015, coming down the track in Permaul’s second over to launch him into the sightscreen.

Soon, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite had spinners bowling from both ends, and although they prompted the occasional mistake, the batters largely settled into a rhythm against them, with Nissanka scoring primarily through the off side, and Karunaratne favouring the leg side, as he often does. Nissanka got to fifty – his third in Tests, and second in the series – off the 74th ball he faced.

Karunaratne’s dismissal came against the run of play. Earlier in that Chase over, he had played a late cut and a flick through midwicket, both of which went for four. But Chase found some rip off the last delivery of that over, and turned a ball more than the batter expected, which produced a return catch off the inside half of the bat as Karunaratne attempted to drive him down the ground.

If he had got to fifty, Karunaratne would have made seven Test half-centuries in as many innings, a feat only six batters had accomplished. In any case, his last seven scores read 42, 83, 147, 66, 118, 244 and 75.

Oshada Fernando survived ten balls before the players went off for bad light. Nissanka was 61 not out off 109 balls, his scoring rate having slowed as the light faded.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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Ray Illingworth reveals cancer diagnosis amid support for assisted dying

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Former England captain wants law changed to prevent the suffering of terminally ill patients

Ray Illingworth, the former England captain, has revealed he is being treated for oesophageal cancer, and has called for assisted dying to be legalised in the UK after witnessing the way his wife Shirley suffered from the same disease.

Illingworth, who captained England to victory in Australia in 1970-71 and went on to become English cricket’s most powerful figure in the mid-1990s, says that he has undergone two rounds of radiotherapy and hopes to hear a positive prognosis when his condition is reassessed next month.

“They got rid of a lot of the tumour but there were still two centimetres left, originally it was eight,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit with extra double doses. I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck.”

However, having cared for his wife for the final years of her life, prior to her death in March, Illingworth has lent his support to the Assisted Dying Bill, which received its second reading in the House of Lords in October, and would enable mentally competent adults to make the decision to end their own lives.

At present, the 1961 Suicide Act states that anyone who is found to have assisted a person to take their own life could face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. However, earlier this month, Jersey became the first British parliament to approve assisted dying, with the prospect for a draft law by 2023.

“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife had. She had a terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. I don’t want that,” Illingworth said. “I would rather go peacefully. I believe in assisted dying. The way my wife was, there was no pleasure in life in the last 12 months and I don’t see the point of living like that, to be honest.

“But we don’t have assisted dying in England yet so you don’t have the option do you? They are debating it and I think it will come eventually. A lot of doctors are against it but if they had to live like my wife did in her last 12 months they might change their minds.”



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