Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq has given his account of the troubling issues of racism in the domestic game, particularly the culture within his former club.
Rafiq, who was born in Pakistan and raised in Barnsley, spoke to MPs with parliamentary privilege on Tuesday at the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports select committee hearing into the allegations.
At the hearing, Rafiq named Ballance and Alex Hales when they discussed the allegedly racist culture at Yorkshire CCC.
“Gary’s conduct was so disgusting that I brought it up with a common agent we had,” Rafiq said. “I felt isolated, humiliated at times.
“On tour Gary Ballance walked up and said, ‘Why are you talking to him?’ As I walked past a local store, I was asked if my uncle owned it.
“Kevin was something Gary [Ballance] used for people of color in a pejorative way. All the time.
“Gary and Alex Hales got closer to each other while playing for England, but I understand Alex then named his dog Kevin because he was black.
“It’s disgusting how much of a joke this has become. “
The allegations appear to carry weight, as Hales has repeatedly referred to his dog as “Kev” on social media.
In 2018, Hales took to Instagram to write, “Shout out to Big Kev on National Pet Day! #nationalpetday. ”
Rafiq, a former England Under-19 captain, first claimed in September 2020 that he had been the victim of racist abuse and felt like an outsider in Yorkshire and that he had even considered committing suicide.
Yorkshire’s response to an independent report into Rafiq’s allegations has led to much criticism of the club, with President Roger Hutton resigning amid outrage and the ECB suspending the club from hosting international or major matches.
Rafiq also told panel members that he did not want his son to play cricket following his own traumatic experiences of racism.