AZEEM Rafiq fought back tears as he told MPs the word ‘P**i’ was “used constantly” across his two spells at Yorkshire and no one in leadership challenged it.

The former spin bowler appeared at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee meeting on Tuesday, during which he was questioned about his wide-ranging claims against the club and have the chance to respond with the freedom of parliamentary privilege.

Rafiq’s voice cracked and he fought back tears on several occasions, but he spoke with clarity and resolve for almost an hour and 40 minutes, interrupted only by one brief adjournment when emotion got the better of him.

Experience as a young pro

Rafiq told the Committee: “Pretty early on at the club, I joined a dressing room full of my heroes, Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, part of the 2005 Ashes team. And it was just the most surreal moment for me.

“Pretty early on, me and other people from an Asian background…there were comments such as ‘you’ll sit over there near the toilets’, ‘elephant washers’. The word P*** was used constantly. And there just seemed to be an acceptance in the institution from the leaders and no one ever stamped it out.”

Mr Rafiq later confirmed that Hoggard had phoned him to apologise for hurtful comments.

Rafiq added: “All I wanted to do is play cricket and play for England and live my dream and live my family’s dream. In my first spell, I don’t really think I quite realised what it was. I think I was in denial.”

Read more: Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq recalls racist abuse

Return to Yorkshire and racist language 

He said he started medication due to his deteriorating mental health and left Yorkshire for the first time in 2014. When he returned he initially felt settled under captain Alex Lees and coach Jason Gillespie.

“Jason left in 2016 and it just felt the temperature in the room had been turned up,” Rafiq said. “You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain.

“For the first time I started to see for what it was – I felt isolated, humiliated at times. Constant use of the word ‘P***’.”

Rafiq said on a 2017 pre-season tour Ballance had racially abused him.

“We were in a place and Gary Ballance walks over and goes, ‘Why are you talking to him? You know he’s a P***’. This happened in front of team-mates. It happened in front of coaching staff.”

Rafiq criticised the handling of his situation by the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA)

He said: “When George Dobell published (his initial) article (in September 2020) I had a phone call from (ECB chief executive) Tom Harrison. I felt like he was listening, but then they took the stance that they would trust Yorkshire to do the right thing and then as regulators would come in to hold Yorkshire to account.

“It was difficult for me to take through the winter. I kept begging the ECB, the PCA, I kept telling them, ‘They (Yorkshire) are not doing the right thing, this is going to end up in a car crash for everyone’.

“No one wanted to do that until that Monday (November 2) when the article broke in Cricinfo, at that point the ECB came in.

“On a human point I felt like if someone else had told me they were suicidal and they were ringing you saying, ‘Please help’ I’d forget my constitution and help a human. Over the winter there were some real dark moments.

“I didn’t feel like they did that because they were concerned for me or worried for me, I feel that was done to tick a box in case I killed myself.”

Rafiq described the PCA as “incredibly inept” and added: “An organisation that should have supported me left me on my own.”

Read more: Adil Rashid supports Azeem Rafiq’s allegations against Michael Vaughan 

Rafiq said he had been “staggered” when Yorkshire announced no one would face disciplinary action over his experience at the club

“I thought, ‘At what point are these people going to read the room and realise what they’re doing?’. While the investigation was live and they were aware of the allegations against Gary (Ballance), he was made captain and given a three-year contract.

“(Former chairman) Roger (Hutton) had gone to members’ forums and said to people this didn’t involve anyone at the club. I think even as close as two weeks ago they genuinely felt they could hide this.

“I think they have been left with no option. I don’t think (former chief executive) Mark (Arthur) thinks he’s done anything wrong. I don’t think (director of cricket) Martyn (Moxon) feels he’s in the wrong. Michael (Vaughan) seems to have taken the same stance as the club – deny, deny, deny.”

Rafiq, who is a Muslim, also described his harrowing first experience of alcohol at the age of 15.

“I got pinned down at my local cricket club and had red wine poured down my throat, literally down my throat,” he said. 

The spin bowler also spoke of the emotional impact it had on his personal life and the family. 

"I think my wife was struggling," he added. "I knew I was struggling. There was no way mentally I could have even considered putting myself through this trauma. 

"I actually left the country. I went to Pakistan. I never wanted to come back.”

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