Former player unhappy with Yorkshire’s racism probe

Yorkshire have issued an apology to former player Azeem Rafiq following an independent investigation into allegations of institutional racism found he was a “victim of inappropriate behaviour”, the club said on Thursday.

The investigation was initiated in September last year to look into allegations made by the off-spinner stretching back to 2008.

Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent and a former captain of the England Under-19 side, last year said that he was made to feel like an “outsider” at Yorkshire and even contemplated taking his own life.

“Many of the allegations were not upheld… it is right, however, to acknowledge from the outset that several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that sadly, historically, Azeem was the victim of inappropriate behaviour,” Yorkshire said in a statement.

“This is clearly unacceptable. We would like to express our profound apologies for this.”

Rafiq, however, took to Twitter to express his disappointment at the findings, calling for Yorkshire to clearly spell out that he was the subject of racist abuse.

“‘Inappropriate behaviour’, are you sure about that @YorkshireCCC? You carry on playing with your words & fudging this best way possible… It’s not going away,” wrote the 30-year-old.

In an interview to Sky Sports News later on Thursday, Rafiq added: “It hurts, it seriously hurts. I think at the end of it, there’s some sort of apology, but I think it gets spoiled by the words that are used to try and minimise what actually my allegations were.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) released a statement commending the player’s “bravery” and said it “recognised both the pain and the distress of participating in an investigation into these matters”.

“It is critical that Azeem, and others who gave evidence, receive appropriate support and we are seeking assurances that this is the case,” said Cindy Butts, chair of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which was set up by the ECB in March to look into issues relating to race and equity.

Rafiq played for Yorkshire from 2008 to 2018 and became their youngest-ever captain after he led the county in a Twenty20 game against Durham in 2012.

Campher receives maiden T20I call-up as Ireland name squad for Zimbabwe series

Curtis Campher has received a maiden call-up for the shortest format as Cricket Ireland on Thursday announced the men’s ODI and T20I squads for the upcoming fixtures against Zimbabwe.

The T20Is will be the final home internationals in this format before the squad heads to the UAE for the ICC T20 World Cup in October. The ODIs are part of the ICC World Cup Super League – which forms the qualification pathway to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.

The T20I series will commence on August 27 in Dublin while the ODI leg of the tour will get underway on September 8.

“For the T20I series we have selected a squad of 16 for the five-match T20I series, of which it will be narrowed down to 15 each match day. Given the T20 World Cup starting in two months we want to provide as much playing time for the players in this format as possible,” said Andrew White, Chair of national men’s selectors in a statement.

“While we have kept faith with the squad that played in the recent South Africa series, we have additionally brought Curtis Campher in for his first call-up for Ireland in the T20 format. Curtis is back bowling following his injury, and will add a dynamic batting and bowling presence to the squad.

“His inclusion will provide Graham Ford and Andrew Balbirnie with increased flexibility as they look to finalise their plans ahead of the World Cup,” he added.

T20I squad: Andrew Balbirnie (capt), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Shane Getkate, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, William McClintock, Kevin O’Brien, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.

ODI squad: Andrew Balbirnie (capt), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Graham Kennedy, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, William Porterfield, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.

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