By: Sarwar Alam
Former England captain Michael Vaughan has “categorically” denied making an alleged racist comment to a former Yorkshire teammate, whose account was supported by current England player Adil Rashid on Monday (15).
Azeem Rafiq, 30, was found by an independent report to have been subject to “racial harassment and bullying” at Yorkshire, with the chairman and then the chief executive resigning in the fallout.
Vaughan, writing in his Daily Telegraph column, revealed earlier this month that the report states he told a group of Asian players — including Rafiq — in 2009: “Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”
“I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words,” Vaughan wrote in the newspaper at the time.
“I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person.”
But Rashid, who has played 199 times for England across all formats, issued a statement on Monday via the Cricketer website echoing Rafiq’s claims against Vaughan, who also used to play for Yorkshire.
The leg-spinner, who was part of the England team who reached the semi-finals of the recent T20 World Cup, wrote: “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.”
Former Yorkshire bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, a Pakistan Test player, previously said he heard Vaughan make the comments.
– ‘Worst thing –
But Vaughan reiterated his denial in a strongly worded statement on Monday, saying it was the “worst thing” he had experienced.
“Anyone who has viewed the Sky footage of Yorkshire’s pre-match huddle at the game in question in June 2009, and the interaction between the players, would find it hard to reconcile those scenes with the version of events that has been presented,” he said.
“I remember the match clearly because it was the first time in Yorkshire’s history that four players of Asian heritage had been selected in the same team.
“It was an important milestone for the county and it was also a moment of pride for me personally.”
He said he had never been accused of anything “remotely similar” in a 30-year career in cricket as a player and commentator.
“To be confronted with this allegation 11 years after it was supposed to have happened is the worst thing I have ever experienced,” he said.
“It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former teammate, apparently supported by two other players.”
British lawmakers will hear from Rafiq and the county’s former chairman, Roger Hutton, at a parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday.
In another development, the England and Wales Cricket Board said it was “appalled” by fresh racism claims made by former Essex player Maurice Chambers and vowed to investigate the matter alongside other allegations at the club.
Chambers described in an interview with the Cricketer how he was allegedly subjected to racist bullying for 10 years at the club, including having bananas thrown at him and frequently being subjected to racist jokes.
It follows allegations made by former Essex batsman Zoheb Sharif, who said he received racist abuse that included being called “bomber” by his team-mates after the September 11 attacks in 2001.