Pujara was called ‘Steve’, racist reference to people of colour, reveals former staff

Leeds: English county side Yorkshire finds itself in the centre of a raging issue with their former players and employees backing cricketer Azeem Rafiq’s claims of “institutional racism” at the club, including reference to India’s Cheteshwar Pujara with a generic name.

Former West Indies international Tino Best and Pakistan’s Rana Naved-ul-Hasan provided evidence in support of Rafiq as part of an ongoing investigations into his allegations.

According to ESPNcricinfo, two former Yorkshire employees — Taj Butt and Tony Bowry — have also given evidence against the club which has institutionalised racism.

“(There were) continuous references to taxi drivers and restaurant workers when referring to (the) Asian community,” Butt, who was employed within the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation as a community development officer, was quoted as saying by the cricket portal.

“They called every person of colour ‘Steve’. Even (India batsman) Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name.”

Butt tendered his resignation within six weeks of joining.

Having worked as a coach until 1996, Bowry was the cultural diversity officer at the Yorkshire Cricket Board from 1996 until 2011, before he was appointed as a cricket development manager to develop the game for black communities.

“Many youngsters struggled to make progress, and the few that did found the environment of the dressing rooms very difficult and unwelcoming, as a direct result of racism they faced,” Bowry said.

“It affected performance… they were labelled trouble-makers.”    — PTI


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