I lost my career to racism: Former England cricketer Rafiq tells lawmakers

Ever since the news has come out, it has been a huge setback for County club Yorkshire as several sponsors are withdrawing and top administrators have been resigning.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 17 November 2021 1:34 pm

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq seemingly held back his tears as he was in a conversation with the British lawmakers on Tuesday and said that he lost his cricket career to racism. He gave out intricate details of the discrimination prevalent within the English cricketing structure.

Earlier an independent report had found that the Pakistan-born player had been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying" while playing for the county club but said that there was no discipline required - a decision which was frowned upon by a large segment of society and cricket lovers.

Ever since the news has come out, it has been a huge setback for County club Yorkshire as several sponsors are withdrawing and top administrators have been resigning. Moreover, a coach has been suspended and the club is even banned from hosting cash-rich international matches for now.

On Tuesday's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Rafiq was given the chance to speak his mind with the protection of parliamentary privilege - freedom that shields him from any kind of legal action. It was at this forum that he spoke about his experience of being "isolated and humiliated."

You'll sit over there near the toilets: Rafiq revealed racist incidents

"Me and other people from an Asian background... there were comments such as 'you'll sit over there near the toilets', 'elephant-washers'," Rafiq said.

"The word 'Paki' was used constantly. And there just seemed to be an acceptance in the institution from the leaders and no one ever stamped it out," the 30-year-old said.

"Do I believe I lost my career to racism? Yes, I do," he said in part of his speech which is doing the rounds on the Internet.

The off-spinner mentioned a number of former teammates including former England internationals like Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and Garry Ballance who had targeted racial abuse towards him.

However, Rafiq also acknowledged that Hoggard had apologised to him for his comments. But was hurt when the Three Lions' Test captain Joe Root said that he never witnessed anything of a racist nature at Yorkshire.

"Rooty is a good man. He never engaged in racist language," Rafiq said.