Players could be asked to testify in the Yorkshire racism tribunal just days before England’s World Twenty20 opener, potentially throwing the team’s plans completely off course.
Adil Rashid, the nation’s top white-ball spinner, is scheduled to fly to Australia ahead of the competition at the beginning of October, making him a key witness in the case.
The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the current and former Yorkshire players accused of abusing Azeem Rafiq may both call Rashid and possibly some of his squad members to testify.
Anyone under the jurisdiction of the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC), which is hearing the case, may be required to appear.
Rashid and other England players would miss the buildup to the Twenty20 showcase if they were required to present in person, with England’s first game against Afghanistan taking place in Perth on October 22. To know more about England Vs Australia Tickets click here.
The hearing would be a significant distraction prior to Matthew Mott’s first significant competition in charge of the white-ball team, even if they were permitted to give testimony remotely.
Additionally, it would prevent the disciplinary panel and those at the centre of the matter from questioning them directly.
If the CDC allowed the ECB to make the decision about England players’ participation, it would be obvious that there was a conflict of interest between its job as manager of the national team and that of the organisation bringing sanctions.
After publicly supporting Rafiq’s claims that Michael Vaughan had warned Muslim players there: “Too many of you lot.,” Rashid emerged as a major witness in the Yorkshire case last year. We must take action in response to it.
England’s Ashes-winning skipper Vaughan has vehemently denied making the remark 13 years ago before a game.
After charging Vaughan and six other former Yorkshire players in connection with the racial controversy at the club, the ECB has already come under heavy fire.
Days after the allegations were made public in June, the county’s four most recent chairmen joined forces to criticise its handling of the situation and call for an impartial investigation.
The ECB was deemed unfit by Colin Graves, Steve Denison, Robin Smith, and Roger Hutton to reveal the whole context of Rafiq’s devastating allegations of abuse and the careless management of them.
They did so after expressing a number of issues with the disciplinary actions taken against the team and specific members, including: that the ECB inquiry had taken too long and was “putting people through even more pain”; that Rafiq had not yet received punishment for the anti-Semitic remark he admitted to using in November; that Yorkshire were being “tried twice,” having already been stripped of important matches and forced to make sweeping changes; and that the disciplinary actions against the club and individual members the ECB’s inquiry completely disregarded its own decision to not conduct an investigation almost two years prior, that the names of those accused had been leaked before the ECB announced they would not be identified, that Mark Arthur, Martyn Moxon, and other senior Yorkshire officials had escaped punishment for allegedly sparking the scandal by failing to adequately address Rafiq’s complaints, and that the charges against those accused had been dropped.
After eventually speaking out to refute “each and every” claim made against him and denouncing the ECB’s “witch hunt” into the case the following week, Andrew Gale made headlines by shockingly refusing to show up for the disciplinary hearing into the affair.
The county’s fired head coach said he had “no faith” in a “tainted” process that had been looking for “scapegoats” and that he would instead be “bound by” the findings of his employment tribunal against the club in an extraordinary 3,500-word statement released hours before a deadline of 5 pm for those charged to respond.
Then, just last week, Kunwar Bansil, a British Asian dismissed by Yorkshire in the midst of the controversy, broke his own quiet to charge the club with acting “very brutally” in response to it and claim he had never seen any racism there.
Following a seven-match tour of Pakistan starting next month, England will travel to Australia for a three-match series against the hosts at the beginning of October.
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