Former Pakistan cricketer, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has publicly come out to say he was racially abused when playing for Yorkshire in 2008-09, by the club’s supporters.
Rana’s comments echo those expressed by by the Pakistan-born English spinner Azeem Rafiq, who earlier this week claimed that he was close to committing suicide during his tenure at Yorkshire as he was subjected to racial slurs while on the field. Rafiq also accused the club of being ‘institutionally racist’.
"I fully support what Azeem said and this has been the case with me as well," Rana told ESPNcricinfo in an interview. "I never spoke about it because, as foreigners, we were temporary and somehow I managed to accept the way it is.”
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"There was systematic taunting. To us as overseas players from Asia, when you are not able to perform, the home crowd which should be supporting us, instead started hooting and would taunt us with racist slurs like ‘Paki’,” the 41 year old said. "If you are performing then you get all the space but, in case I am not taking wickets, the attitude suddenly started to change.
"They started to give us a tough time, giving me a smaller hotel room and there used to be a clear case of discrimination," said Rana.
Rafiq, is a former England U19 player who also captained Yorkshire said that in his time at the English county, due to his religion, he was made to feel like an outsider. He also said his reports of racism were disregarded by the club.
"Yorkshire told me they would look after me professionally and personally. But all I heard after that was a short email. I was told I was being released. I felt it was used against me, really. The way it was done was horrible,” Rafiq told ESPNcricinfo earlier this month. "It killed me for a while. I lost all trust in anything and anyone. I'd spent the best part of a decade around those people. I thought they had my best interests at heart. I lost faith in humanity."
Rana, also represented Sussex and Derbyshire, but specified that he only faced this treatment in his time at Yorkshire. "This only happens in Yorkshire," he said. "I played several years for Sussex and they were tremendous; they treated me like their own family. Those two years were absolutely great. Even my first year in Yorkshire was okay but the trouble started in the second year.
Yorkshire asked an independent law firm to investigate the allegations of racism made by Rafiq and Rana, saying it found the allegations very concerning and were committed to resolve them.
"As the Yorkshire County Cricket Club have previously indicated, it takes the matters aired by Azeem Rafiq very seriously," the club said in a statement. "YCCC have asked the independent law firm, Squire Patton Boggs (Squire) to lead an investigation and review of these matters. Squire has extensive expertise and has begun the work to ensure a thorough investigation and review is conducted."
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