Three years on from my interview with Azeem Rafiq, it’s surreal to see where we and the game have ended up
Azeem Rafiq sat well outside cricket’s consciousness in July 2020. It had been nearly two years since Yorkshire had let him go for a second time and it took an interview with the Professional Cricketers’ Association, published on its website and probably read by a handful of people, to bring him back into my mind. The subject was a new business Rafiq had opened with his family, a tea shop in Rotherham. While mapping a future outside cricket, he still had ambitions to keep playing.
I arranged an interview with Rafiq because I wanted to know how a once trailblazing Yorkshire captain found himself out of professional cricket at 29. We got talking about the players he’d once led for England’s under-19s – Ben Stokes and Joe Root among them – his ambition to become an international coach and, most painfully, the tragedy that had underpinned the last couple of years: the stillbirth of his son. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, I wondered about his experiences as a British Asian making his way at Yorkshire, a side that had once excluded players born outside the county’s boundaries.
Written by Taha Hashim
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/apr/12/yorkshire-racism-saga-cricket-azeem-rafiq-the-spin under the title “The Spin | Where has cricket landed in the wake of the Yorkshire racism saga?”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.