"The key to change is to listen and then to keep listening."
Yorkshire Cricket Foundation has recently grabbed headlines for being accused of “institutionalised racism against South Asians.”
Former Asian employees of the club have come forward to report regular occurrences of institutional racism in the team.
A former Yorkshire Cricket Foundation employee Taj Butt, has disclosed that even Cheteshwar Pujara was referred to as a ‘Steve’ during his stint at the county.
The Indian cricket team batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the key players for Yorkshire county cricket team in Tests.
Butt, who resigned within six weeks of joining the foundation as a community development officer, has disclosed:
“They called every person of colour ‘Steve’.
“Even Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called a Steve because they could not pronounce his name.”
He added that:
“There were continuous references to taxi drivers and restaurant workers when referring to the Asian community.”
Pakistan-born English cricketer Azeem Rafiq had also spoken up about instances of racism at Yorkshire in November 2020.
The 29-year-old mentioned that he was close to committing suicide after being bullied and targeted because of his race.
Former West Indies international Tino Best and Pakistan’s Rana Naved-ul-Hasan provided evidence in support of Rafiq as part of an ongoing investigation into his allegations.
An investigation into the allegations is currently underway, with the individuals closely associated with this development being interrogated.
After the revelations by Rafiq, Yorkshire announced that they will initiate measures to tackle discrimination and boost inclusion in the club.
The club will be appointing a head of equality to improve allegation of racism.
Rafiq welcomed the measures initiated by both Yorkshire and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The cricketer has sought “an urgent meeting” with the ECB in order to discuss “how we can instil cultural and racial acceptance through all age groups”.
“Part of the problem I faced was that my concerns and complaints fell on deaf ears.
“I raised complaints about racism, including with the head of diversity, and no one took action.
“The key to change is to listen and then to keep listening.”
While Cheteshwar Pujara has not formally talked about this issue yet, it is not the first time that an Indian cricketer has been targeted in the sport because of his race.
Former India batsman Aakash Chopra had stated that some of his teammates called him ‘P*ki’ during his time in England.
Besides, even Irfan Pathan shared stories about the racism he faced when he was a domestic level player.