Yorkshire CCC racism scandal: England star Adil Rashid corroborates Azeem Rafiq's allegation against Michael Vaughan

England star Adil Rashid has come out in support of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations against Michael Vaughan regarding comments made “to a group of us Asian players”.

ADIL RASHID: The England star has backed up Azeem Rafiq'a allegations against Michael Vaughan. Picture: Getty Images.

Rashid, who has played 199 times for his country and was a key part of the World Cup winning side in 2019, has spent his whole career at Yorkshire but has previously kept his counsel on the racism crisis engulfing the club.

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That changed on Monday morning, when he issued a statement via The Cricketer echoing Rafiq’s claims against the former England captain.

AZEEM RAFIQ: Is at the heart of the racism scandal engulfing Yorkshire CCC. Picture: Getty Images.

Vaughan revealed earlier this month that he had been named in the independent investigation into Rafiq’s case but completely denies telling a group of team-mates of Asian ethnicity: “too many of your lot, we need to do something about it”.

Rashid wrote: “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.”

The Bradford-born leg-spinner made his first-team debut at Yorkshire 15 years ago and is one of the county’s most successful players of recent times, latterly as a limited-overs specialist.

He made no new allegations against any of those he has played with or for over the years but welcomed recent steps taken to shine a light on the matter, including Tuesday’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing. He also placed on record his willingness to assist future “official efforts”.

MICHAEL VAUGHAN: The former Yorkshire CCC and England player. Picture: Getty Images.

“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 said.

“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.”

Speaking to the PA news agency from his home in Knutsford earlier this month, Vaughan said: “I’ve never said anything racist in my life. I know that in my life, I’ve never said anything racist to anybody. So, that’s what I stand by.”

Nevertheless he was stood down from his hosting role on BBC Radio Five Live’s Tuffers and Vaughan Show last week. PA has contacted the corporation for fresh comment.

Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Chair of Yorkshire County Club, added: “I am aware of the recent statement from Adil Rashid, and I welcome his courage in speaking up at what is a difficult and distressing time for all those who love this Club and the sport of cricket.

“It is essential that those who have experienced or witnessed racism, discrimination and abuse are able to come forward to share their experiences.

“I have been in touch with Adil personally today so that we can talk through the issues as soon as he is ready and able.”

Vaughan has reiterated his denial of racism allegations made by Rafiq, and now supported by Rashid, calling it “a completely false accusation” and “the worst thing I have ever experienced”.

The former England captain said in a statement released via the PA news agency: “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.

“It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players.”

Vaughan, who remains one of cricket’s best known personalities for his on-field achievements and off-field broadcast career, went on to offer specific recollections of the game in question – when Rafiq lined up with Pakistan international Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Ajmal Shahzad and Rashid.

“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,” read Vaughan’s statement.

“At the time, I was a senior professional nearing the end of my career, but, having been the first non-Yorkshire born player signed by the county, it was also a sign of the progress that had been made during my time. I made a point of shaking all four players’ hands that day because I recognised it was a significant moment.

He went on to quote a passage of his subsequent autobiography where he wrote that increased representation from the Asian community “ought to be a good thing for our cricket”.

hahzad said he had not heard the comment in question during an interview with PA last year, adding “the senior guys were really good to me, they took me under their wing” and he was directly namechecked by Vaughan.

“For some time, Ajmal Shahzad has been on record as saying that he never heard me say what has been suggested. I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made,” Vaughan said.

“I fully accept that perspectives differ, and I have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has gone through, but I hope everyone understands why I cannot allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be trashed unfairly.”