Michael Vaughan: Second witness accuses ex-England captain of racist comment

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan is interviewed regarding the Australian ball tampering scandal during an All Stars cricket training session at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan. (PA)

A former international cricketer has backed-up claims Michael Vaughan told Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq and two other Asian players there were “too many of you lot”.

Vaughan, the former England cricket captain and BBC commentator who is one of the most recognisable names in the game, revealed yesterday he was named in report into allegations of racism at Yorkshire cricket club.

On Friday another former player came forward and said they had experienced racism while at the club.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - APRIL 02:  Azeem Rafiq of Yorkshire poses for a portrait during the Yorkshire CCC Media Day at Headingley on April 2, 2018 in Leeds, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Azeem Rafiq played for Yorkshire for over a decade. (Getty)

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the anonymous player said he was the victim of numerous instances of racist abuse, "both blatant and sly" when he was at the club in the early 2000s.

The fallout over the Yorkshire clubs handling of allegations of racism has seen a host of sponsors desert the club and has been suspended from hosting international and major matches by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Rafiq tweeted the latest accusations made him feel "angry and sick" but said the "sad part is I'm not surprised."

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Vaughan admitted Yorkshire had dealt with Rafiq’s complaint “terribly”, said the matter had never been raised at the time or in the 11 years since the alleged incident and admitted his pain at the experiences his former team-mate had endured during his time at Headingley.

Watch: Yorkshire barred from hosting international matches over Rafiq racism claims

But he insisted he never used the phrase alleged to have been made.

“I have nothing to hide. The ‘you lot’ comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said 10 years ago will be fallible, but I am adamant those words were not used.”

He added: “I take it as the most serious allegation ever put in front of me and I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person.”

However, former Pakistani and Yorkshire player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has told ESPNcricinfo that he heard Vaughan use the racially insensitive phrase to a group of Asian players. Rana said he would be prepared to provide any evidence necessary.

File photo dated 04-11-2021 of a general view of Yorkshire County Cricket Club's Headingley Stadium in Leeds. Roger Hutton has announced his resignation as chairman of Yorkshire in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism allegations.. Issue date: Friday November 5, 2021.
The club has apologised for the handling of the crisis. (PA)

Yorkshire’s handling of an investigation into Rafiq's allegations has been heavily criticised within the sport and by politicians, with the club’s hierarchy having been called to appear before a parliamentary committee on 16 November.

The situation has escalated this week as it emerged the panel determined repeated use of the word “P***” against former off-spinner Rafiq, who represented Yorkshire in two stints between 2008 and 2018, was “friendly banter”.

Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance, who has admitted to using the racial slur against his former team-mate, has been “suspended indefinitely” from England selection.

Ballance has insisted the pair were friends at the time.

On Friday morning, Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over the club’s handling of the case, calling on the executive board to follow suit and taking a swipe at the ECB on the way out.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Rafiq. The club should have recognised at the time the serious allegations of racism. I am sorry that we could not persuade executive members of the board to recognise the gravity of the situation and show care and contrition.

“I want to be clear that when I was made aware of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations, I immediately reached out to the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry. I was saddened when they declined to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance for the game as a whole."

Watch: Azeem Rafiq - Yorkshire Cricket chairman resigns as he accuses club board of refusing to accept racism claims