Sat, 23 Jan 2021

Yorkshire [UK], December 5 (ANI): Months after former England U-19 spinner Azeem Rafiq said he was close to committing suicide after allegedly facing 'institutional racism' at Yorkshire, former employees of the club have now revealed that Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara too was subjected to a racial slur.

Rafiq had claimed in September that during his stint with Yorkshire, he thought of killing himself due to alleged racism. Yorkshire had then appointed a sub-committee to investigate the allegations of racism. Former players and employees of the club have given evidence in support of the spinner as part of the investigation.

Ex-West Indies pacer Tino Best and former Pakistan fast bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan have both affirmed their support for Rafiq.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, two ex-Yorkshire employees -- Taj Butt and Tony Bowry -- have also given evidence.

"[There were] continuous references to taxi drivers and restaurant workers when referring to [the] Asian community," ESPNcricinfo quoted Butt as saying.

"They called every person of colour 'Steve'. Even Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name," Butt, who had offered his resignation within six weeks of joining, further elaborated.

Bowry, who was the cultural diversity officer at the Yorkshire Cricket Board from 1996 until 2011, had worked at the club as a coach until 1996.

He was later appointed as a cricket development manager to develop the game for black communities.

"Many youngsters struggled to make progress, and the few that did found the environment of the dressing rooms very difficult and unwelcoming, as a direct result of racism they faced," said Bowry.

"It affected performance... they were labelled trouble-makers," he opined. (ANI)

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