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Friday Sep 04 2020

Pakistani origin Yorkshire cricketer opens up about racism

Azeem lamented that his former club was institutionally racist and not prepared to take of the racism he was subjected to — Photo: Reuters

LAHORE: Former England Under-19 player Azeem Rafiq, who was born in Karachi, on Friday has disclosed that he had to face intense racism while playing in English domestic cricket which nearly pushed him to suicide, reported India Today.

Complaining that he was always considered as an outsider, Azeem said that he lost his faith in humanity after management kept ignoring the racist attitude exhibited towards him.

“I know how close I was to committing suicide during my time at Yorkshire,” Azeem was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “I was living my family’s dream as a professional cricketer, but inside I was dying. I was in pain every day,” Azeem added.

Read more: 3rd T20I: Pakistan find one last chance to change narrative of England tour

“There were times I did things to try and fit in that, as a Muslim, I now look back on and regret. I’m not proud of it at all.

“But as soon as I stopped trying to fit in, I was an outsider. There were no coaches on the staff from a similar background who understood what it was like,” he added.

Azeem lamented that his former club was institutionally racist and not prepared to acknowledge the fact that he was being subjected to a discriminatory behaviour at the club. 

“Yorkshire doesn’t want to listen and they don’t want to change. And part of the reason for that is the people who were involved in the incidents I’m talking about are still at the club. They just want to sweep it under the carpet.

“I know that by speaking out I’m damaging my chances of working in the game again. But I also know it’s the right thing to do and if I have to stand alone to do it, I will,” Azeem said.