'I deeply regret it' - Gary Ballance admits using racial slur against Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq

‘I deeply regret it’ – Gary Ballance admits using racial slur against Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq

The club issued a lengthy and emotional statement on behalf of him wherein Ballance regretted the language he used in the past.

Azeem Rafiq
Azeem Rafiq. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

The Yorkshire batter Gary Ballance, who was the former team-mate of Azeem Rafiq, has admitted that he used a racial slur against Rafiq. The club issued a lengthy and emotional statement on behalf of him wherein Balance regretted the language he used in the past.

Ballance, who has featured in 23 Test matches for England, pointed that he and Rafiq shared a good bond while their stint at the Yorkshire club. He added that he was unaware of the fact that his words caused him distress. The former England batter also asserted that had he known that it affected Rafiq, he would have not used any inappropriate words.

“It has been reported that I used a racial slur and, as I told the independent inquiry, I accept that I did so and I regret doing so. To be clear – I deeply regret some of the languages I used in my younger years. On the pitch, we supported each other greatly. We both captained Yorkshire at various times and we backed each other when we filled these roles.

“I regret that these exchanges took place but at no time did I believe or understand that it had caused Rafa distress. If I had believed that then I would have stopped immediately. He was my best mate in cricket and I cared deeply for him. To my knowledge, it has never been alleged that I reduced Rafa to tears,” Balance said in the statement.

The Yorkshire club has been placed under the radar for their handling of the report into allegations of racism. The club’s player Rafiq had reported serious allegations of racism on his teammates but there was no serious action taken. However recently it has been reported that he is all set to provide the evidences to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee.

The chair of the DCMS select committee, Julian Knight was extremely disappointed with the club’s response to this issue. He took it to his Twitter account and wrote, “Given the endemic racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. I struggle to think of any reason why that the board should remain in post. This is one of the most repellents and disturbing episodes in modern cricket history.”