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Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq calls Joe Root ‘a good man’, but criticizes England’s Test captain for pleading ignorance about ‘institutional racism’.

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq called Joe Root “a good man” on Tuesday, but expressed his disappointment with the English Test captain for pleading ignorance about what he described as “institutional racism”. Rafiq spoke at length about his experiences of racism and discrimination at the club, while addressing British MPs in the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS). He questioned the English cricket establishment where people tend to forget the racism that comes out. Root recently said that the racism scandal in his county Yorkshire “broke our game and tore lives apart”.

“Rooty is a good man,” Rafiq said during the trial.

“He’s never used racist language. I hurt it because Rooty was Gary Ballance’s roommate.”

“Maybe he did not remember it, but it just shows the institution that a good man like him can not remember those things.”

English international Gary Ballance admitted earlier this month that he called Rafiq a “Paki” (referring to his Pakistani origins) during the two’s time together in Yorkshire, but insisted it was done “in the spirit of friendly chatter”. .

Rafiq told MPs on Tuesday that the word “Paki” was “constantly used” over his two Yorkshire spells and said no one in the authority stood up against racial harassment.

Rafiq accused Yorkshire of institutional racism in September last year, prompting the club to launch an investigation into the allegations.

However, their handling of the issue has been heavily criticized. A report found Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying”, but the club refused to take action against anyone.

Very early on, me and other people from an Asian background … there were remarks like “you are sitting there near the toilets”, “elephant washers”.

“The word ‘Paki’ has been used constantly. And it just seemed like the leaders accepted in the institution and no one ever shouted it out,” Rafiq told the DCMS.

English leg-spinner Adil Rashid backed his team-mate in Yorkshire, Rafiq,’s accusation of racism against Michael Vaughan, saying he could “confirm” that the former captain’s remarks were directed at a group of Asian players.

Rafiq claimed that Vaughan had told a group of the team’s Asian players that “there are too many of you, we need to do something about it” before a 2009 match.

Asked about Vaughan, Rafiq said: “It’s important to Michael that we do not make everything about Michael.

“It was a long time ago. He may not remember it because it means nothing to him.”

Vaughan, however, denied the allegations.

“When we make changes in cricket, we make changes in society,” Rafiz added.

Asked to compare his treatment at Yorkshire with his everyday life, Rafiq said: “My everyday life for as long as I knew was cricket. It’s hard to compare.


“Cricket is worse than society. When we make changes in cricket, we make changes in society. Everyone is responsible for the society in which we live,” said the 30-year-old player of Pakistani origin.

“Let’s sort out where we are, then it will hopefully have an impact on society.”

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