Thu 11 November 2021:
After a racist crisis rocked Yorkshire County Cricket Club on Thursday, England captain Joe Root demanded change, claiming the incidents had “fractured our game and torn lives apart.”
Former player Azeem Rafiq was found to have been subjected to “racial harassment and bullying” in an independent study, and following complaints from others have prompted additional investigations.
Rafiq, a former England under-19 captain, said in interviews last year that as a Muslim he was made to feel like an “outsider” during two stints at Yorkshire from 2008-18 and was close to taking his own life.
“I just want the sport to be a place where everyone is enjoying it for the beautiful game it is and feels equal and safe,” he said in a statement from England’s base on Australia’s Gold Coast.
“It hurts knowing this has happened at YCCC, so close to home.”
He added: “These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county.
“We need to educate, unify and reset.”
Root, 30, later stated at a press conference that he had not witnessed any racial incidents while at the Yorkshire.
“But it is clear things have happened at the club and we have to make sure we eradicate it,” he said.
After sponsors pulled out and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stripped Headingley of its right to hold international matches, Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton resigned last week.
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