Rafiq said he started medication due to his deteriorating mental health and left Yorkshire for the first time in 2014. When he returned he initially felt settled under captain Alex Lees and coach Jason Gillespie.
‘Jason left in 2016 and it just felt the temperature in the room had been turned up,’ Rafiq said. ‘You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain. For the first time I started to see for what it was – I felt isolated, humiliated at times. Constant use of the word ‘P***’.’
Rafiq said on a 2017 pre-season tour Ballance had racially abused him. ‘We were in a place and Gary Ballance walks over and goes, ‘Why are you talking to him? You know he’s a P***’. This happened in front of team-mates. It happened in front of coaching staff.’
Gary Ballance (pictured playing for England against South Africa in July 2017) is among the cricket stars accused of being racist between 2008 and 2018 by Rafiq
He added: ‘He would constantly talk down to me and make racist jokes, designed to undermine me and make me feel small, like coming up and interrupting when I was talking to girls in a club, saying ‘don’t talk to him, he’s a P***’. I remember crying outside a nightclub after his constant racist taunting.
‘On those bus trips, he would look out for corner shops and make comments like ‘does your dad own these?’ Gary would often make comments like this on YCCC [Yorkshire County Cricket Club] bus trips, in the dressing room, or at events — and in front of YCCC coaches, staff and management, including our coach, Andrew Gale, [the coach] Richard Pyrah, director of cricket Martyn Moxon, and club president Dickie Bird. But nothing was said or done to stop it. Instead, they often laughed along.’
Ballance admitted using a ‘racial slur’ towards Rafiq in a lengthy statement this month, apologising but framing it as part of their friendship. Rafiq told the committee that was not an accurate depiction of their relationship, saying it went downhill from 2013 onwards and had become toxic by 2017.
Rafiq also alleged former England batter Alex Hales was involved, saying: ‘Gary and Alex Hales got really close to each other when they played for England together. I wasn’t present in that dressing room, but what I understand (is) that Alex went on to name his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.’
Alex Hales pictured with ex-girlfriend Danni Gisbourne, who dumped him over claims he had been unfaithful on a cricket tour
Asked about Vaughan, Rafiq said: ‘Michael might not remember it… three of us, Adil, myself and Rana remember it.
‘He clearly had a snippet of my statement. He used his platform at the Daily Telegraph to tell everyone he hadn’t said these things. To go on and put a snippet of my statement out and talk about other things, I thought was completely wrong. He probably doesn’t remember it because it doesn’t mean anything to him.’
Rafiq make claims over the former England player’s behaviour at the club, saying he was among ‘six or seven’ players to have made a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. But he added that he was the only one of those players who was of colour.
He said: ‘Tim is Andrew’s [Gale’s] brother-in-law. They always supported each other. Tim would tag along and join in with Andrew’s racist comments and they bounced off each other in terms of the bullying. As with Andrew, Tim frequently made racist comments and was unduly harsh towards me compared to white British players, which became so unbearable that I made a formal complaint against him in 2017.’
Rafiq said: ‘It was Hoggy who started calling me ‘Raffa the Kaffir’. It was only later I realised what ‘Kaffir’ meant, how it was used, and that it was a racist term. Comments from Hoggy towards myself and the other Asian players — Adil, Ajmal and Rana — were constant.
‘He might have thought it was just dressing room banter, but we would come in in the morning and he would say things like ‘you lot sit over there’ and make us all sit together. He would also call us things like ‘elephant washers’ and ‘P***’. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience at Yorkshire.
He said: ‘I took a phone call from Matthew and he just said, ‘Look, I didn’t realise, I’m really sorry. If some of the comments I made made you feel the way you’ve described it, I just want to apologise’. You know what, when someone does that, I was like, ‘Thank you, I really appreciate it’.’
Rafiq also made claims over Tim Bresnan’s (left) behaviour at the club, saying he was among ‘six or seven’ players to have made a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard (right) had apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience at Yorkshire
Rafiq said he found it ‘hurtful’ England captain Root said he had never witnessed anything of a racist nature at Yorkshire. ‘Rooty is a good man. He never engaged in racist language,’ Rafiq said.
‘I found it hurtful because Rooty was Gary (Ballance)’s housemate and had been involved in a lot of the socialising where I was called a ‘P***’. It shows how normal it was that even a good man like him doesn’t see it for what it was. It’s not going to affect Joe, but it’s something I remember every day.’
Rafiq claimed: ‘There were denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing, high-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like ‘the clubhouse is the lifeblood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there’, and ‘getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of a stone’.
‘And then personally, this guy doesn’t even know me, has never spent any time with me, talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising. That was David Lloyd, he’s been an England coach, commentator and I found it disturbing. Within a week of me speaking out that’s what I got sent to me, and I thought, ‘God, there’s some closet racists and we need to do something about it’.’
Sky cricket pundit David Lloyd has apologised after being named by Azeem Rafiq amid cricket’s racism storm
Rafiq claimed Jack Brooks, a two-time County Championship winner at Yorkshire, had started the disrespectful practice of calling India star Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ during an overseas stint at the club.