‘It’s hampering people of colour and Asian ethnicity’ – Tino Best opens up about ‘drinking culture’ in English cricket

‘It’s hampering people of colour and Asian ethnicity’ – Tino Best opens up about ‘drinking culture’ in English cricket

The latest to open up about the loopholes in England cricket circuit is former West Indies pacer Tino Best.

Tino Best
Tino Best. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

England cricket has been under the scanner lately with several players opening up about racism in the county circuit. Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq’s statement to a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday (November 16) has thrown light on racism in the gentleman’s game in England, as well as its drinking culture. Rafiq, who’s a Muslim, revealed that several non-white cricketers were subjected to racial abuse during his playing days.

He also recalled an unfortunate incident where he was forced to drink red wine at his local cricket club when he was 15. Rafiq also said the drink was poured down his throat by an unnamed player who played for Yorkshire and Hampshire. This scandal has cost England cricket big time with the Yorkshire club losing rights to host international matches.

People shouldn’t be pressured to go into the clubhouse: Tino Best

Several prominent cricket personalities including Michael Vaughan and Alex Hales have also come under the scanner. Meanwhile, the latest to open up about the loopholes in England cricket circuit is former West Indies pacer Tino Best. The Caribbean speedster stated that the ‘drinking culture’ in county teams was somewhat responsible for Asian and non-white players not getting substantial opportunities in English cricket.

“The culture around cricket is drinking. That is a big problem. People shouldn’t be pressured to go into the clubhouse and drink eight or nine pints to be a part of the team. If you’re not a part of the drinking culture, if you’re not a part of the boys’ club, you’re not going to get opportunities after cricket. That is something that is hampering people of colour and Asian ethnicity,’ Best said in a conversation with BBC Sport.

Best also recalled how Asian players like Rafiq, Adil Rashid and Ajmal Shahzad were mistreated at Yorkshire in 2010 and how they feared repercussions if they went public with their complaints.

“Me being a person of colour as well, I would always be with them as well. It was just astounding to hear what those guys were saying back in 2010. And there was no platform for them to really open up, because guys would have probably lost contracts, probably kicked out of the club. Guys were fearful of that,” the 40-year-old added.