British-Pakistani cricketer forced to leave UK over racist abuse

Azeem Rafiq, a 31-year-old British-Pakistani former Yorkshire cricketer, has been forced to leave the UK after his allegations about institutional racism at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club (CCC) last year created a storm.

He did not disclose where he has relocated to.

However, speaking for the second time to a British parliamentary select committee, Rafiq said he has “been driven out of the country” by “threats and abuse”.

He spoke of a man “defecating” in his garden. “At times, I’ve walked down the street fearing for my life,” he said.

He told MPs he now receives “27/7 security” from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and accused the Yorkshire Post newspaper of being “responsible” for the insults he and his family have experienced since first, quite sensationally, appearing as a witness before the parliamentary committee in 2021.

The Yorkshire Post told media it had “applied the same rules of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism in seeking to tell all sides of the story”.

The ECB said the latest hearing “demonstrates why widespread change in cricket is needed”.

The Indian-origin Kamlesh Patel, who was appointed chairman of Yorkshire CCC after the scandal exploded last year, remarked his job has felt “relentless” since he took over. “I don’t get where Azeem gets the strength to carry on.”

The ECB admitted it was “appalled at the level of racist abuse” received by Patel and recognised “the pain this has caused him”.

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