By: Sattwik Biswal
IN a latest racism allegation against Yorkshire, a former player at the academy said he was racially abused by a member of staff when he was a 16-year-old.
Irfan Amjad, who was later released from the club, claims a member of the staff used a term in reference to his Pakistani heritage to criticise his batting style.
In response to this latest allegation, Yorkshire said in a statement: “It is essential that those who have experienced racism, discrimination and abuse are able to come forward to share their experiences.
“We were unaware of this allegation until now but will investigate appropriately.”
Amjad told this to the BBC after Azeem Rafiq detailed his experiences at the clun in September last year, forcing the club to set up an independent inquiry which in its report a year later said that the former player was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” but decided not to discipline anyone.
Recalling that experience, Amjad told BBC: “On one occasion, we were playing a home game and I had played an attacking shot while batting, the ball went up in the air and I got caught out.
“I was making my way to the dressing room and as I got in, when I started taking my helmet and pads off, the individual came marching through the door and he looked me dead in the eyes.”
At this moment the member of the staff made a racial reference to “typical shot” by those players of Pakistani heritage.
Amjad added: “And he just left. I was stunned, didn’t know what to do and was shocked. I had never been directly racially insulted like that to my face. I didn’t know what to do.
“Even before the incident I felt distant, it happened and then I felt isolated after that. Going forwards, I didn’t feel I could speak up or give my views on the game in team meetings.
“It crosses your mind (reporting it) but I was a 16-year-old boy and I didn’t know what to do. I kept it to myself.
“No-one else shared their experiences with me and I didn’t share mine either. If I did open up, those that did experience similar issues may have opened up too.”
After the summarised version of the report was published, Yorkshire’s handling of the racism row has been criticised when ESPNcricinfo earlier this month reported how Rafiq was referred by a racist term about his heritage, but in the report it was concluded to be “friendly and good-natured banter”.
Roger Hutton resigned as the club’s chairman along with two others, with Lord Patel taking over, praising Rafiq’s “bravery” as a whistleblower.
Before Amjad there was another unknown former player who alleged that he too was subjected to racist abuse at the club.