British-Pakistani cricketer, Azeem Rafique, made the headlines earlier this month when he accused Yorkshire County Cricket Club of deep-rooted institutional racism. Former Pakistani fast bowler, Rana Naved ul-Hasan has backed Azeem’s claim, saying he was witness to the systematic racism while playing for the club.
Rana Naved stated that he was a victim of discrimination as the home supporters used to ‘hoot’ at him while he was playing for Yorkshire in 2008 and 2009. He backed the statements made by his fellow cricketer, adding that Azeem used to talk to him about such racist incidents.
While talking to ESPNCricinfo Rana said, “I fully support what Azeem said and this has been the case with me as well”.
I never spoke about it because, as foreigners, we were temporary and somehow I managed to accept the way it is. There was systematic taunting. To us as overseas players from Asia, when you are not able to perform, the home crowd which should be supporting us, instead started hooting and would taunt us with racist slurs like ‘Paki’.
Rana also played for Surrey and Derbyshire, but according to him, he experienced such incidents at Yorkshire only. He stated that other international players have also faced racism at other clubs.
Azeem Rafique stated last month that he contemplated suicide because of the racial abuse at Yorkshire. Following the statement, Yorkshire appointed an independent law firm to investigate the allegations.
Former West Indian fast bowler, Tino Best, also backed the claims of racial discrimination. According to Best, players of Asian descent were a target of racism during his stint in Yorkshire in 2010.
The statements by former cricketers have rocked the England Cricket Board and it is reported that ECB is carrying out an investigation after allegations of discrimination by one of the ECB officials towards a Pakistani descent player.
The incident took place South Yorkshire Cricket League when the accused called an opposition player by a racist slur ‘Paki’. The match was abandoned as the team refused to take the field.