Adil Rashid backs up Azeem Rafiq’s allegation Michael Vaughan made racist comment to Asian players

The former England captain Vaughan continues to deny ever making the comment

Lawrence Ostlere
Monday 15 November 2021 15:03
Rafiq a 'brave whistleblower' - Yorkshire CC Chairman Patel

England spin bowler Adil Rashid has backed up Azeem Rafiq’s allegation that Michael Vaughan made a racist comment to a group of Asian players at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Rafiq claimed that during their time together at Yorkshire, Vaughan had told a group of players of Asian heritage: “Too many of your lot, we need to do something about it.”

The allegation was part of a series of claims made by Rafiq which featured in an independent report into a culture of racism at the club.

Vaughan used his Daily Telegraph column to staunchly reject the accusation, but another former teammate, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, revealed he also heard the alleged comment.

Rashid, who was part of the England side which reached last week’s T20 World Cup semi-finals, has kept quiet on the racism scandal engulfing Yorkshire until now. But in a statement to The Cricketer, he said: “I wanted to concentrate as much as possible on my cricket and to avoid distractions to the detriment of the team but I can confirm Azeem Rafiq’s recollection of Michael Vaughan’s comments to a group of us Asian players.”

On Monday the former England captain Vaughan once again reiterated his denial. “I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the ‘you lot’ comment simply never happened,” he said in a statement.

“Anyone who has viewed the Sky footage of Yorkshire's pre-match huddle at the game in question in June 2009, and the interaction between the players, would find it hard to reconcile those scenes with the version of events that has been presented.

“I remember the match clearly because it was the first time in Yorkshire’s history that four players of Asian heritage had been selected in the same team. It was an important milestone for the county and it was also a moment of pride for me personally.”

Rashid has spent his entire county career at Yorkshire, and spent several years playing alongside both the former England captain Vaughan and fellow spinner Rafiq.

“Racism is a cancer in all walks of life and unfortunately in professional sports too, and is something which of course has to be stamped out,” he added.

“I’m encouraged by the fact that a parliamentary committee seems to be trying to improve the situation, whether that’s holding people accountable or getting changes made at an institutional level. These can only be positive developments. I will of course be more than happy to support any official efforts when the time is right. For now, though, these matters are of an intensely personal nature and I will not be commenting on them further. I ask you to respect my privacy and allow me to focus on my cricket.”

Vaughan was stood down from the BBC’s Tuffers and Vaughan radio show amid the storm. The BBC has been contacted for further comment.

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