Azeem Rafiq slams Mike O’Farrell’s ‘Lack of Diversity’ Comments

Azeem Rafiq has criticised Middlesex chair Mike O’Farrell’s comments on the lack of diversity among young people in cricket.

Azeem Rafiq slams Mike O'Farrell's 'Lack of Diversity' Comments f

"Overachieving? Am I hearing this?"

Azeem Rafiq has criticised Middlesex chair Mike O’Farrell’s comments around the lack of diversity among young people in cricket, saying it confirmed an “endemic problem” the sport has with racism.

Rafiq opened up about the racist abuse and bullying he suffered during his two spells at Yorkshire.

It has now resulted in the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee investigating the governance of the sport.

The committee, which has previously warned of funding cuts if cricket fails to “clean up its act”, held a meeting on January 25, 2022, during which O’Farrell attempted to defend his county’s record on diversity and inclusion.

He said: “The football and rugby world becomes much more attractive to the Afro-Caribbean community.

“And in terms of the South Asian community, there is a moment where we’re finding that they do not want necessarily to commit the same time that is necessary to go the next step because they prefer, not always saying they do it, they sometimes prefer to go into other educational fields and then cricket becomes secondary, and part of that is because it’s a rather more time-consuming sport than some others.”

Rafiq seemed to directly address the comments himself.

He tweeted: “This has just confirmed what an endemic problem the game has.

“I actually can’t believe what I am listening to.”

Guardian journalist Barney Ronay criticised O’Farrell for using the existence of a women’s section at Middlesex as an example of diversity.

Rafiq replied to the point and said:

“Painful listen and just shows how far removed from reality these people are.”

The meeting also saw evidence given by the chairs from Yorkshire, Glamorgan and Hampshire, with the latter’s Rod Bransgrove criticised by Rafiq for claiming Hampshire were “overachieving” in their efforts to improve diversity.

He had said: “In some areas, I think we’re already there and probably overachieving in some area.

“I think that we’ve identified what the issues are in our particular area and we are addressing them, and we’ve accelerated that process.”

An angry Azeem Rafiq tweeted in reaction: “Overachieving? Am I hearing this?”

Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent also slammed O’Farrell’s comments.

She said: “Honestly these outdated views in the game are exactly why we are in this position.

“Unfortunately the decision-makers hold onto these myths. ‘The Black community only like football, and Asian community only interested in education’. Seriously the game deserves better.”

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”