Azeem Rafiq racism claims: Notts batsman Alex Hales denies 'racial connotation' behind calling his dog 'Kevin'

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Nottinghamshire cricketer Alex Hales has denied there was any "racial connotation" behind naming his dog Kevin.

Ex-Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq alleged he had picked up the nickname from Gary Ballance, who he said used it as a derogatory term to describe ethnic minorities.

Rafiq told MPs the use of the word was "an open secret in the England dressing room".

He further alleged Hales had named his dog Kevin because it was black.

Hales says he will "gladly co-operate" with an investigation which has been launched by his club.

In a statement, the former England batsman said: "Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog.

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"I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.

"There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co operate with any investigation the game's authorities choose to hold.

"Neither I nor my representatives will be making any further comment on the matter."

Rafiq made the claim as he spoke to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee about his wide-ranging allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Rafiq told MPs he felt "isolated, humiliated at times" due to the bombardment of racism he suffered and the "constant uses of the word p***'" during his time at the club.

After giving evidence in Westminster, he told Sky News the entire leadership team at Yorkshire CCC should resign if the club is to rebuild its shattered reputation.

"It's pretty clear there needs to be a total clear-out," he said.

"The 14 people who signed the letter to the board to discredit me because I don't share 'white rose values' according to them, it's clear the environment is so embedded in there that they can't see what they've done wrong."

Rafiq also revealed he had spoken to Sky commentator and former cricketer David Lloyd, known to cricket fans as "Bumble" who apologised on Tuesday for messages he had sent which made comments about the Asian cricket community.

Rafiq said: "David Lloyd reached out and apologised. I told him how I felt about the stuff that he said and the fact he didn't know me.

"He was clear that it hadn't come from him. He'd been briefed by someone that was close to Yorkshire CCC, so it was disappointing, I told him exactly how I felt.

"But he apologised, I accepted his apology, and he's put a commitment there that he's going to help this game and society in the direction that we want it to go in."

Sky said it had started an investigation into the messages.

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