Day Of Reckoning

“Climb for it, you f***ing monkey”. Those words should send a chill down the spine of anyone who loves our game. They were uttered by an as yet unnamed Essex cricketer as he threw a banana down the stairs at Maurice Chambers, a man of Caribbean decent who played for the county between 2005-2013. Chambers alleges he was routinely offered bananas and subjected to racist abuse during his time at Essex. He added that he would go home at night and cry in his room.

Azeem Rafiq’s evidence to MP’s yesterday has been equally as shocking as Chambers’ revelations. To read of the treatment he allegedly received from senior figures at Yorkshire after the stillbirth of his son is particularly heart breaking.

To many of us these allegations of racism will come as a shock, to others they will have seemed a long time coming.

Something must be seriously rotten at the heart of our professional game. In grassroots cricket, South Asian players are the bedrock of the sport. I have played club cricket for 13 years and all the teams I have played for have had a strong South Asian representation. I can also say that in those 13 years I can never once remember hearing a racist comment from a white player to an ethnic minority player. I realise that as a white English person there may be things that I was unaware of, but I believe I would have noticed any racism in dressing rooms I was part of.

However, something clearly changes higher up the cricketing pyramid. The fact that Azeem Rafiq’s allegations have been followed by so many other ethnic minority players coming forward shows the depth of the problem we have.

It is also worth noting how many notable names in our game sat in those dressing rooms at that time. Maurice Chambers played in the same team as Alastair Cook, Azeem Rafiq as Joe Root, the two most recent England captains. As Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”.

Root, in particular, has disappointed this week in my opinion. None of us can know for sure what Joe remembers. However, the claim from the England captain that he played alongside Rafiq and Garry Ballance since junior cricket and was a presence in the Yorkshire dressing room for the last 12 years, yet never heard a single word of what Rafiq alleges, will raise some eyebrows.

At this point it is also worth sounding a word of caution. The investigation into racism in the sport must not become a witch hunt. Good people who have given their lives to the game must not have their reputations ruined on the basis of hearsay or rumour. We must be careful to hold the real villains of the piece to account without falling into the sort of social media frenzy that characterises the modern world.

Humour and mickey-taking are the lifeblood of the dressing room, and we cannot allow this to be stamped out in a climate of fear. If that happens the game will become a very joyless thing indeed. We must have the wisdom to separate harmless wisecracks from abuse / racism while holding the actual racists and bullies to account. They cannot be allowed to hide behind the banner of “banter”.

We must begin by accepting how deeply this problem runs and how long it has been ingrained in our game. Casting my mind back to the late 1990’s-early 2000’s, even as a young child, I can remember commenting to my mother about how few black players got picked for England and how much quicker they seemed to get dropped after a bad game than white players who had performed equally badly.

For example, the Gloucestershire captain and all-rounder Mark Alleyne was one of the most innovative leaders in the sport at the time. His side dominated the limited overs county game, winning four competitions in a row. Alleyne’s keen cricketing brain could have transformed the England one day side in an era when their performances plumbed the very depths of ineptitude. Instead, he played only 10 one-day internationals. It is also instructive to remember how many other all-rounders England tried during that period.

Steve Waugh would often comment that Australia’s players would be “amazed” whenever Devon Malcom was left out of the England team as he was the one England bowler they truly feared. Malcolm certainly appeared to be the fall guy for every bad England performance at the time and was routinely left out of the team with seemingly little justification. The possible reasons for this are more complex than I can address here, but I would recommend reading Mike Atherton’s autobiography and his account of how the England management treated Malcolm. It does not sit well, particularly in the light of recent events.

The experiences of Azeem Rafiq and Maurice Chambers will chime with many other Asian and Afro-Caribbean cricketers up and down the country. Just this morning, former England bowler Amjad Khan, who is now a lawyer, claimed that several former players had approached him with stories similar to Rafiq’s. These stories will also chime with anyone who has experienced workplace bullying and simply been dismissed as a “troublemaker” or someone who did not share the team’s “values”. Depicting victims as people “who just can’t take a bit of banter” is something that we must move away from as a society. After all, as we have seen at Yorkshire, bullies rarely perceive themselves as bullies. .

A light has been shined today on some uncomfortable truths in cricket. For this we have Azeem Rafiq and Maurice Chambers to thank. Rafiq’s brave testimony will act as an inspiration to anyone who has ever experienced this sort of treatment. They cannot be expected to simply shrug it off just to “fit in”.

Our beloved game and its most valued organisations will be hurt by this. But no sporting institution is as important as that one person who goes home at night and contemplates ending their own life because of what the game we love has put them through. That must never be allowed to happen again.

Billy Crawford


  • I would also recommend listening to Stephen Fry’s Cowdrey Lecture given last night and available through MCC YouTube posts.

  • It’s about all ‘ism’s’ and in the heart of our clubs people still feel insulated from the real world that Azeem and Maurice talk about.

    The institution’s in this case the ECB and Yorkshire have considered themselves bigger than the individual and I for one feel that the people in situ are not capable of the change necessary apart from Lord Patel who has to extricate his club from a web of it’s own making.

  • I do believe racism is an issue in society and is not just restricted to one club, sport etc and wouldn’t want people thinking so. Look at football and the lack of black managers and coaches. That needs to be addressed to.
    Like the author i don’t remember any of aviator banter but equally I’m whit and so I wouldn’t have been aware necessarily of any subtle stuff that went on if there were.
    I grew up playing cricket in South London for thirty years. Not at the first team league level but don’t remember seeing or hearing racism. The cricket was pretty multicultural. A lot of West Indians and Asian cricketers. It was great and I loved the characters in the game.
    Cricket will survive this. Half the problem seems with me the generations of those running the game. They are unaware of how racism exists and affects people. Let’s face it they grew up with Alf Garnett and Love Thy Neighbour etc on TV. Those attitudes won’t disappear overnight.
    As for the county players themselves I bet a lot of it is them projecting their insecurities onto others by way of banter. Only now I’m nearly sixty that so I realise why people behave the way they do.
    Agreed about Joe Root but I feel he was protecting his friends and the club. Bit to mention if he said he did see it then he would be crucified for not standing up against racism. A no win situation there.
    Good article.

    • I grew up with Love thy Neighbour etc and I don’t have the ‘attitude’. How dare you dismiss all my generation as racist.

      • Quite. The players and involved here were not even born in the 1970s. Tired cliches about people born in the 1950s and 1960s is just another corrosive form of prejudice just as wearing as racism. Doubly so because many of the major early challenges to sexism and racism were made in the 1970s when taking on the establishment was a lot harder as little or none of today’s legislation on discrimination existed.

      • Eh? You referring to Twitter? It’s not Australia’s fault that our players think racist abuse is acceptable in a ‘tough’ environment. I simply pointed out that I first became aware of top level cricketers’ apparent desire to act all macho and mentally disintegrate the opposition during the 1990s when Australia routinely thrashed us. The English were seen as ‘soft’ by comparison and there was a feeling that we needed to toughen up … hence the emergence of a macho culture in our dressing rooms, too. Our county players seemed to look up to the Aussies, despite the unnecessary sledging, because they were seen as ‘winners’.

        However, I’m not aware of any racism in Steve Waugh or Mark Taylor’s fantastic cricket sides. If English idiots took sledging too far, and thought racism was acceptable, then this is their own stupid fault.

  • The fact that you can read such a poignant article about such an awful situation (one that is bemoaning how we as humans mistreat each other based on racial or religious difference), but can only think to comment in a parochial, point-scoring manner, is sad and cheap and says so much about your character.

    Quite frankly, you come across as an ignorant individual. And it’s not because you’re Australian, it’s because you are you Tom. Grow up or shut up.

      • Who said I was English, Thomas? When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Or in this case, just you.

        • Tom. You are tiresome because you seem to see everything through the lens of the English / Aussie rivalry. As if getting one up over the Poms is the only thing that matters. You seem to genuinely dislike and resent the English. It’s rather immature.

          When I occasionally make fun of the Aussies, it’s in the same way – a friendly rivalry – as we engage in banter with the Welsh and other home nations over here. It’s just fun and there’s no real vitriol behind it.

          I have Australian family (second cousins) and several antipodean friends. I’m fond of them all. You, on the other hand, are either extremely bad at mickey-taking or genuinely hate the English. Just give it a rest.

          • Don’t overreact, James.

            I’m very fond of the English, some of them anyway.

            But I have contempt for your cricket team and the way English cricket fans talk out both sides of their mouths. Almost like a coping mechanism for the trauma of the 1990s.

  • A thought provoking article, Billy, as if our thoughts had not already been provoked enough…

    These allegations, if true, should make our collective blood run cold.

    Racism. Xenophobia. Discrimination. At the heart of the game we all love.

    It is my fervent hope that we can get to the bottom of it all, correct that which needs correction, then slowly make our way back to a point where as cricketers, we can all get along

    “Peter Drake”

    teacher and cricket nut Hexham

    • Hello Peter,

      When you say “get to the bottom of it all”, what is the puzzle that you think needs to be solved?

      Isn’t it now accepted that this went on and folks either turned a blind eye or actively concealed it?

  • A very good article. There are lots of cricketers out there too who can’t tolerate racism in sport. Of course there is a legacy in cricket. We only have to think of those prepared to tour in South Africa during the apartheid years and a world wide ban. Some of them in prominent positions today. It is about time it was publicly addressed. There is no place for racism in sport. And it’s been tolerated at clubs also known for their bullying atmosphere. This is Yorkshire’s reputation. What a shame. It’s a pity that players don’t realise that they are letting the club down and the game of cricket.

  • As for Mark Alleyne, do a google search for “Mark Alleyne fielding”.

    Yeah, I’m sure that would have transformed the England side.

    • Here we go…

      In Australia, this was regarded as a caricature of England’s haplessness. Australian kids would do impressions of Mark Alleyne’s misfield. Good times.

      But nah, you guys should have picked him more, for “his mind”.

      • Mark Alleyne was a very fine fielder. Who hasn’t had the occasional blooper? He was excellent in the covers and had a fine pair of hands. You really have no idea what you’re talking about, as usual.

        • He was fine by English standards?

          At international level, he would have been another dibbly-dobbler English all-rounder who’d have been taken apart by an Australian middle order while averaging 25 with the bat.

          Let’s not pretend he would have been a “transformational” figure just for the sake of offering further evidence of institutional racism within English cricket. (We’ve got enough of that already.)

          It was really only when England hired an Australian coach in Trevor Bayliss that you improved. Fancy that.

          It’s almost like Australia is just better at cricket? No?

              • This millennium it happens to be 5-5. And Australia haven’t won in England for two decades. Or do you want to extend that to the 90s just so you can include one of the strongest Test teams of all time? Maybe we could go back to the 1880s when England also won 8 series in a row? Then we can cut the statistics to suit our argument.
                Anyway, this has nothing to do with the current racism row. So please let’s stick to the topic in hand.

  • I don’t think this sort of thing goes on in dressing rooms any more. It’s notable that the vast majority of these allegations date from a decade or more ago. That doesn’t make them all right, but it does make them more understandable. The senior players in those dressing rooms would have started their careers in the mid 90s. The senior players at the start of the former’s careers would have started in the late 70s or early 80s. Male drssing rooms in elite sport are reknowned for being some of the most macho, testosterone-fuelled environments imaginable. In order to survive, a young player would have to conform. That’s why it takes two or three generations for something like deep-rooted racism (as was the case in the 70s and 80s) to be flushed out. I’m not remotely surprised at what Rafiq experienced in the late 2000s, but I would be shocked if the same thing happened today. I’m more shocked by the banana story which, if true (and I suspect it is) sounds more like something from the 1980s. The trouble is, with the exception of perhaps the most extreme cases, I’m not sure what we gain by dredging through things people did or said in dressing rooms 10 or more years ago. I’d wager that if you do that, virtually every white player will at some point have said or done something that would nowadays been considered racist, or at least been complicit in it. Take Michael Vaughan – he began his career in the early 1990s in what would undoubtedly be a highly toxic, racist environment at Yorkshire. If the worst thing anyone can ever remember him saying is “too many of you lot” to a group of Asian cricketers (something he denies, although evidence is mounting), I’d suggest he’s done pretty well. It would certainly would be totally disproportionate to ruin his media career for it.
    In my view, nowadays homophobia is a much bigger problem in professional sport than racism. There are over 500 registered professional footballers. Not one is openly gay. I’ve not heard of any openly gay men in the lower leagues, either. So either people are hiding it, or they’re not able to make it because the atmosphere is too toxic. That tells you everything you need to know about attitudes to homosexuality in men’s dressing rooms.

    • Not sure you have read accurately what happened to Azeem Rafiq, it wasn’t a ‘decade or more ago’….he said it became ‘toxic’ when Gary Ballance took over as captain and Andrew Gale as coach….2016? Why should you doubt the veracity of what Maurice Chambers has alleged, how do you want him to prove it? Is his word not good enough?

      • Looks like I haven’t read it correctly, assuming your dates are correct. I thought I read 2009-13 somewhere.
        I don’t really doubt the Chambers story, which is why I wrote “if true (and I suspect it is)”. However I do like to abide by an age-old principle which has stood this country in very good stead for centuries, namely that we don’t pass judgment until both sides of a story have been heard, along with the testament of any witnesses. Sometimes human beings make up stories to seek attention, so no, his word alone is not enough because the allegation is serious and the accused should be given a fair hearing.

    • The Rafiq evidence goes up to 2018. The Chambers stories appear to go up to 2015. Of the people named in Rafiq’s evidence, one is still (at least as we speak) Director of Cricket at Yorks, a second is coach, a third is one of their captains, and a fourth and fifth are senior players at two different clubs

      Of the squad in Chambers’s last season, seven are still playing for Northants (one of whom is the current captain), while another four are playing for four other counties (and all of them have been in England squads in the last eighteen months, and one is a county T20 captain…at Yorks, ironically enough).

      So that’s one of the issues for me: some of the actions may not be very recent, but many of the people involved (and clearly with Chambers at both Northants and Essex we don’t know who was and wasn’t involved) are still around–either as players or as coaches, Directors of Cricket, or Chairs. That’s a lot of people of a lot of different generations wielding a lot of power over how to shape their club’s cultures and cricketing policies–and that’s not in 2011, 2001 or 1991, that’s now. And it covers people who made thir debuts as long ago as the late 70s/early 80s.

      Of course, there may also be benefit per se in finally letting people who’ve been very marginalised in various ways for a long time and who haven’t felt able to talk, finally talk.

      In passing, I’m not sure I agree with you that homophobia is a bigger problem than racism–but I’m sure it’s not a smaller one, at least in the men’s game. Football may be bad but cricket’s only just better. 400 or so professional cricketers and a grand total of one is out–yeah, right!

  • I’ve been in a number of cricket and football dressing rooms over the years and the ‘humour’ can easily turn toxic if you’ve got a strong personality with shall we say controversial views asserting themselves. Most of us go along with it for a quiet life if not actively engaging in it. It starts on the school playground where parental attitudes filter down to their kids.
    I can well imagine Root turning a blind eye to the common use of Paki, which is not just a Yorkshire thing, though I do feel he has shown poor judgment in the way he got behind his teammates, however well intentioned. In the present climate you keep your mouth shut unless you’re replying to specific accusations. This country is clearly a racist community and has been ever since I can remember, cricket is just a symptom of the wider issues in society. It’s not just Asian or Black v White either, most ethnic monirty groups express similar attitudes to each other. It’s generally what happens when a lot of different cultures are thrown together in a melting pot. You see it in the USA, the ultimate example, all the time.

    • Re Root–for me, it’s not only that “in the present climate you keep your mouth shut unless you’re replying to specific accusations”–it’s not having the gumption to realise that a) what he’s saying is incredibly implausible even if only a fairly small part of what Rafiq is saying is true and b) if you come out with this kind of bland rubbish in this kind of situation you’re not actually being neutral, you’re backing up the racists–even if, as you say, you’re doing it with the best intentions (and no-one’s doubting Root’s good intentions).

      Whilst not taking sides too readily is usually a good position for peopl,e in Root’s position, there comes a point where studiedl;y not having an opinion is not very helpful–and it’s also disingenuous if, like Root, you’re personally involved.

  • Firstly, two disclaimers: 1) I don’t follow YCCC closely 2) I’m not here to defend what went on in YCCC’s dressing room which seems at best to have been the sort of aggressively boorish “banter” that morons mistake for humour and at worse may well have been more than that.

    Looking at Rafiq’s career, there are some things that don’t make sense, especially regarding his claim that racism ruined it. Firstly, he captained England at age group level which hardly fits in with “the game” or “English cricket” having a problem (which is the way it’s been spun). Secondly, YCCC were so keen to play him once they didn’t have him properly registered and occurred a penalty as a result. Thirdly, he was appointed the county’s youngest ever captain albeit for a short time. Fourthly, he was on YCCC’s books for 8 years (in two stints) and never signed up with another county (several nearby teams have better ethnic representaion. I know on one level he shouldn’t have had to – but on another level players like Michael Carberry moved about and forged a good career as a result). Fifthly, all the time he was there YCCC were playing Adil Rashid and he’s enjoyed a top career (although the way he was turned on when he wouldn’t play in the CC decider against Middlesex had a nasty tinge to it and Root appears, at the very least, to not be a fan). Sixthly, Rafiq had been disciplined for turning on John Abrahams (a non-white incidentally) on twitter many years ago. 2-6 hardly suggests a wall of opposition to him playing. It rather adds up to a player who wasn’t quite good enough, whose early promise was sunk by injury and “action problems” (which for an OB bowler probably means the chucking issue), stitching together a series of incidents into a grand narrative with himself in the position of victim. Victimhood is a dangerous seduction, one that excuses bad luck and his own culpability that things didn’t turn out as he’d liked. Certainly the use of phrases like “a voice for the voiceless” doesn’t suggest an average Joe just speaking from the hip as the media have tried to spin it (not that I’d blame Rafiq for seeking some coaching – it’s the media spin I’m objecting to).

    One big issue here is that most counties get too many players from a very restricted background – elite public schools topped up by Kolpaks. Anyone not from those backgrounds would have been on the receiving end of “banter”. How many working class children faced a wall of being called “chav” and endless “jokes” about their cultural background? How many think it hilarious to call David Warner a “bogan”? Does anyone take the knee for them? Do rich corporations and the media campaign for them? Or ar they told they are examples of white privilege?

    One of the most disturbing parts of the testimony for me was about alcohol being poured down a player’s throat. English cricket has had a drinking problem forever but many of those now wringing their hands have been apologists for that all along. Flintoff, Panesar, Stokes… the list isn’t a short one.

    The allegations about a cover-up for Ballance and recreational drug use are no surprise. That the leading performer in one of the year’s major sporting events (not cricket) had his cocaine use covered up is an open secret in the game.

    If those who run the game and their overlords are serious about this, let’s see some money put where their mouth is. Give a ton of money (starting with three-quarters of Tom Harrison’s salary) and fixtures to Bangladesh whose recent shambles at the T20 WC was the inevitable culmination of the game’s failure to nurture the game there. I’m not holding my breath because I don’t think this is really about racism at all, it’s a weapon for other goals – specifically making everyone too terrified to say anything except from an approved script and tanking county cricket to replace it with all-modern, all-singing, all-dancing, all-corporately-owned franchises.

    P.S. Somebody mentioned Mark Alleyne. Other one-day specialists got dumped too early e.g. Adam Hollioake, Dougie Brown. It was the shambles surrounding the 1999 WC that did for them. England convinced themselves that an early summer tournament meant going back to longer form specialists and the main beneficiary was actually Nasser Hussain. There was also some extremely dubious umpiring (Thorpe’s LBW against India stands out) so I suspect we don’t know the half of what went on there (or in most WCs to be frank). As for Glos, well… Kim Barnett and Mike Smith were big parts of their success too and they got fewer chances than Alleyne. Glos developed a method that worked very well on their slow, low wickets – but it wouldn’t have transposed to the international stage with different pitches.

    • I watched Rafiq’s testimony and found it very convincing. But let’s just put aside the specific individual involved for a second. It’s quite clear that not enough people of colour are represented in English cricket across the board. It therefore seems to me that there’s a problem.

      Look at it this way. It was revealed by the panel in the DCMS hearing that approximately 80% of those who attend public net sessions at Headingley are of Asian origin. What’s more approximately 50% of Yorkshire’s academy cricketers are Asian. But how many are represented in the actual Yorkshire first XI? I think Adil Rashid is the only one. And even he’s been in dispute with the county over the years.

      This, to me at least, suggests that there’s something rotten at the very top. Let’s not forget that Andrew Gale is currently suspended while they investigate an alleged anti-semitic tweet. This isn’t just about Rafiq. What’s more, there are less black cricketers in our professional game now that there have been for decades (I don’t have the exact figures but think there’s been a 40% reduction over the last decade). Why is this? There are many, many, black players in other sports.

      Consequently, I don’t think this can be dismissed as a failed cricketer’s fantasy. Nor can it be attributed to outside sinister forces manipulating the populace. It’s real. Cricket needs to become more accessible and make it clear that racial taunts and prejudice simply won’t be tolerated any more.

      I don’t consider myself to be particularly woke but even me, from my computer in middle-class predominantly white Tunbridge Wells, can see that there’s a problem that needs addressing. I have been absolutely shocked by some of the revelations. There are some things that decent people just don’t joke about. And someone’s race / sexuality / gender are off limits in any setting, especially in a professional one. The sheer number of people coming forward the week surely demonstrates that Rafiq’s experiences were not a one-off.

      • Good point James. When I was coming up through the youth ranks at Warwickshire in the 60’s and 70’s there were plenty of black and Asian youngsters but somewhere along the line most disappeared, not only from the county sides, but club sides as well.
        If you read biographies of Yorkshire cricketers you find the young up and comings were generally treated with mistrust whatever their colour and given little help as they posed a threat to the established order, their attitude being, we didn’t get a leg up why should you. Don’t know how far this white rose macho went with the other counties but I suspect it was more widespread. The old school tie has always had a strong link with cricket.

        • This is an issue with a lot of team sports but particularly cricket the “team” game where a lot of participants spend an inordinate amount of of time fretting about their individual batting and bowling statistics, their place in the batting order or whether they get invited to bowl in favourable or unfavourable circumstances. It is quite easy for senior players with the captain’s ear to limit the opportunities for up and coming cricketers by simply manipulating the possibilities for them to perform in circumstances where they can show the talents to the best effect. And this is not just a problem at professional level but runs right down to the lower levels of the game and can impact young players from all backgrounds. Coming from the right school and playing for the right club has often been a key to getting selected at county level and it hardly a secret that playing for certain counties has historically improved an individuals chances of playing at international level as some of the more bizarre selections by the England selectors down the years have proved.

      • When you say “plenty”, Marc, what kind of percentages are you talking about? And do you know how that compares with the situation today at Warks?

        Are you saying that Asian players as well as black players have disappeared from the club game in Birmingham, or only black players? And when did that start to happen (with either group) in your experience?

        • I just mean plenty I knew of and had played with and I know who’s in charge at Warwickshire today and what their backgrounds are and yes all colours, including white. It depended on your contacts in the game. Cricket clearly has a way to go to become a democratic institution.

  • Robert
    I agree with you. In principle I’m against removing posters and/or posts but this childish, puerile drivel has no place on a site like this where, for the most part, constructive people want to discuss things constructively.

  • I just wanted to add how the CC can be tanked, it’s very specific and not some woolly claim….

    Corporate entities are increasingly unable to function without an ESG rating. YCCC, the CC, the ECB all stand to have low ratings because of this (racism is certainly covered by the S and probably by the G as well). Low ratings will make it extremely difficult to attract sponsorship and investment. These ESG ratings are the brainchild of the World Economic Forum.

    A tanked CC doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t continue to exist. A hollowed-out, semi-professional shell might linger on for a while – but the big names and the attention (except of a handful of what Harrison called “obsessives”) will have long since departed.

    Supporters of other team games shouldn’t feel too smug, cricket isn’t the only one in the crosshairs. Running and cycling are the only sports with much of a long-term future because they are solitary, atomising activities.

  • Interesting article and comments.

    Most commentators are missing a major point – human beings’ tend to attack/ridicule things they don’t understand. So a lack of knowledge/understanding of another culture is compensated by attacking or joking about it.

    This is not an excuse for those making those comments/actions. It simply highlights ignorance and inability to be a fully integrated and interactive member of the human race.

  • Well, on the brighter side, after yesterday there’s a good chance that Harrison will have to go. Let’s hope he does, takes the Hundred with him !

  • We seem to have a dichotomy here; little experience of grass-roots racism but seemingly prevalent at the top. Its no surprise to me though. I was brought up up in the colonies where my Quartermaster father would regularly select a Malaysian for the RAF cricket team but also forced him to carry the kit. None of the British were asked to do so. The elitism and public school attitudes are a hangover of Empire and the sway we once held over countries where folk were regarded as inferior. This has got even worse as cricket has disappeared from many state schools thus removing a natural levelling up agenda. However, I would say that I would have questioned the wine down the throat incident – in my experience these ‘initiation’ ceremonies are not confined to the colour of one’s skin. It was also embarrassing to see Joe Root ordered to give a video interview and say nowt and even more so when Rafiq’s ‘friend’ Darren Gough on Talksport radio was not even asked if he was aware of the various incidents alleged but just waffled about how awful it all was.

    • I do think this offers a genuine opportunity to draw a line under the past and define how things are going to be in the future, rather than dragging up historic behaviour by people who would, with the benefit of hindsight, have done things differently.

  • Difficult to feel sorry for Azeem Rafiq when he is himself guilty of racism against Jews. The pot calling the kettle black. Racism is unacceptable but Azeen is just as guilty as anybody else. If we are going ro judge people and hand out punishments then Azeem should not be exempt.

  • For the record, I’m ready to discuss #TimPaineStumpCam whenever you guys want.

    We all know the English like to dish it out.

    • Well why don’t you submit a piece to James for consideration and, if he decides to publish it, those who wish to comment on it will do so. One thing I can guarantee is that any comments you get will be more constructive than the ones that you have posted to date.

      • I’ve made this suggestion already.

        But how do you think your comments are “constructive”? Do you think anything you post here makes a difference?

        Do you honestly think that English fans enjoying Tim Paine’s misery are being “constructive”?

        You’re kidding yourself.

  • The counties themselves in a position where they have to say “please take power away from us, we’re so dysfunctional and terrible we deserve it”.

    Be suspicious of any “crisis” where the “solution” is a centralisation of power and control.

    • Yes, I thought that was going to be the best thing that would come out of this sorry mess. If the counties hadn’t sold out the 1st Class Forum years ago they could have voted the whole lot of them out. Harrison at least could be replaced by the Government, but as he was spouting a whole load of wokey pc tosh after Friday’s meeting, probably not. By Rafiq now becoming part of the problem he has created, the bonus could have been restructuring of the whole game by the back door. And the next character who apologies for this or that from years back should probably be shot. What next, 1932s Bodyline?

  • The counties get presented with an open goal to get rid of Harrison and fluff the tap-in. Sometimes it’s difficult to care if they are wrecked.

    The observant might notice that Harrison trumpeted that he retained the confidence of “the stakeholders”. Getting the idea yet of how “stakeholder capitalism” works? Corporate sponsors and media voices matter, everyone else can go hang. It might be remembered that it was seven years ago that Ashley Giles apologised to “the stakeholders” after an England disaster and didn’t think to mention the poor bloody fans.

  • Seems like Rafiq has become part of the problem he has helped to create. Everything coming out of the woodwork now. Doesn’t excuse Yorkshire, but talk about double standards.


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