Yorkshire cricket must start over after Azeem Rafiq reveals racism he has suffered - The Yorkshire Post says

The emotional torment was there for all to see as, more than a year after he accused Yorkshire County Cricket Club of institutional racism, former player Azeem Rafiq used the protection of Parliamentary privilege to specify in detail his allegations of abuse.

Mr Rafiq broke down in tears during a select committee hearing today as he described the “constant” use of slurs, how racism pervades the game nationally, his belief that he lost his career to it and that he does not want his son “anywhere near” cricket – the sport which surely defined his own formative years.

In addition to disturbing accounts of his time at Headingley, the 30-year-old took his accusations close to the top of the game, suggesting a racially derogatory use of the term ‘Kevin’ by former team-mate Gary Ballance was “an open secret in the England dressing room”.

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It is unconscionable but perhaps unsurprising – given the way the club has handled the scandal – that nobody from Yorkshire during the time of Mr Rafiq’s two spells at the club, or the subsequent investigation, turned up for the hearing.

Screen grab from Parliament TV of former cricketer Azeem Rafiq crying as he gives evidence at the inquiry into racism he suffered at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee (Parliament TV).

They would have faced his allegation, for one, that director of cricket Martyn Moxon, who is signed off sick with a stress-related illness, “got me in a room and literally ripped shreds off me” on his return to the club after the stillbirth of his son.

Yorkshire’s new chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel should not underestimate the size of his task in turning the club from one accepting of normalised racism to one of genuine inclusivity. This is not a job of rebuilding, but of starting over.

However, while individual instances of abuse must be confronted, the task is also one of wholesale change.

As Michael Holding, cricket’s elder statesman, told this newspaper: “Each sport or industry can try to put their house in order, but the message has to reach society at large or no real meaningful change can take place.”