Azeem Rafiq ‘incredibly hurt’ by Joe Root’s comments over Yorkshire racism controversy

Joe Root said he had no recollection of racism at Yorkshire club during his time there | PA

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq expressed that he was incredibly hurt by England captain Joe Root’s comments, who also plays for Yorkshire, that he had never personally witnessed incidents of racism at the club.

Rafiq accused the players and officials at the club of racism while he was a player at Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018 but an inquiry found the conduct did not warrant any disciplinary action.

Not that I can recall (if incidents of racism occurred), no I can’t. But it is clear things have happened at the club and we have to make sure we eradicate it,” Root said.

Rafiq responded on Twitter: “Disappointed is not even the feeling. Incredibly hurt. But uncomfortable truths are hard to accept it seems.”

Earlier on Twitter, Root had said that the racism controversy engulfing his club had fractured the sport and called for change and action to make cricket better. Meanwhile, Yorkshire has been suspended from hosting international cricket and several sponsors have cut their ties with the club.

It’s my club and I care passionately about it. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting. There is no debate about racism, no one side or the other. It is simply intolerable. “These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. I want to see change and actions that will see Yorkshire County Cricket Club rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county,” Root said.

New Yorkshire Cricket Club chairman Kamlesh Patel, who replaced former chairman Roger Hutton following his resignation last week, praised 30-year-old Rafiq for speaking out and has promised: “seismic change” at the club.

Joe Root, who is in Australia with the England squad for the Ashes 2021-22, has said that he will continue to play for the Yorkshire club.

“It affects me deeply that this has happened at a club I’m so close to and means so much for me to go and play for. In terms of my position. If you’re not at the club how can you make any change? How can you help move things forward?” Root told reporters in Queensland.