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Ex-England star Alex Hales accused of naming black dog after Yorkshire racial slur ‘Kevin’ in Azeem Rafiq testimony

ALEX HALES named his black dog ‘Kevin’ after a Yorkshire racial slur, Azeem Rafiq has alleged. The former England opening batsman was close friends with team-mate Gary Ballance during their time at Yorkshire. Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport committee in Parliament this morning, Rafiq named both when talking about the racist culture […] ...

ALEX HALES named his black dog ‘Kevin’ after a Yorkshire racial slur, Azeem Rafiq has alleged.

The former England opening batsman was close friends with team-mate Gary Ballance during their time at Yorkshire.

PA

Azeem Rafiq recounted his experiences in Parliament this morning[/caption]

Alex Hales poses with his dog

Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport committee in Parliament this morning, Rafiq named both when talking about the racist culture within Yorkshire CCC.

He said: “Gary’s conduct was so disgusting I raised it with a shared agent we had.

“I felt isolated, humiliated at times. On tour, Gary Ballance walked over and said: ‘Why you talking to him?’ Going past a corner shop, I was asked if my uncle owned it.

“Kevin was something Gary [Ballance] used for people of colour in a derogatory manner. All the time.

“Gary and Alex Hales got very close to each other playing for England but I understand Alex went on to name his dog Kevin because it was black.

“It is disgusting how much of a joke it became.”

Hales has repeatedly referred to his dog as ‘Kev’ on Instagram, writing in 2018: “Shoutout to big Kev on national pet day! #nationalpetday.”

Rafiq, 30, also opened up about the ‘inhuman’ lack of compassion he received after his wife’s tragic stillbirth in 2017.

He said: “At the end of 2017, we went through a difficult pregnancy.

“The treatment I received from Yorkshire CCC was inhuman. They were not bothered, they didn’t care when I got a call to say there was no heartbeat.”

After pausing to compose himself, Rafiq spoke of how Martyn Moxon – the current director of cricket – ‘tore him to shreds’ on his first day back.

He also added he had never heard Moxon speak to anyone like that before.

In response, Rafiq met with his personal development manager, where he ‘cried his eyes out’.

Rafiq also said: “Around the loss of my son, the attitude of Andrew Gale [current head coach] was saying I’m making it more than it was.

The way I was treated was not right – there was a problem not just at Yorkshire but across the country

Azeem Rafiq

“After the loss, hardly anyone asked, ‘Are you alright or is your wife alright?’ It was more about, ‘He raised bullying last year let’s get rid of him.’

“I carried my son from the hospital to the graveyard.

“The way I was treated was not right – there was a problem not just at Yorkshire but across the country.”

Just five years after moving to Barnsley from Karachi aged ten, Rafiq was forced to drink alcohol – despite his Muslim faith.

He revealed: “My first incident of drinking, I was 15, I got pinned down at my local cricket club and had red wine poured down my throat.”

Asked if there is institutional racism in professional cricket in England, Rafiq added: “Yes, I do.

“It’s scary.

“It’s clear the problem is there. Everyone has known it for a very long time. It’s an open secret. I’ve seen that if you speak out, your life is made hell.

“There’s been denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing.

“Until 2017, I didn’t really know for what it was. I was in denial.

“I reported it as bullying. For me to believe I was treated in this way because of my colour is difficult to digest.”

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