Alex Hales ‘categorically’ denies Azeem Rafiq allegations of ‘racial connotations’ in naming his dog

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 (Getty Images)
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Alex Hales has denied that there were any “racial connotations” in naming his dog after allegations from Azeem Rafiq.

The former Yorkshire all-rounder alleged in front of the DCMS Select Committee that Hales had named his black dog “Kevin” after a term used by Gary Ballance to describe “people of colour”.

Former England batter Hales has said that he has “respect” and “sympathy” for Rafiq, but “categorically” denied the allegation.

“Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog,” Hales wrote in a statement.

“I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.

“There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold.”

Ballance, a former captain of Yorkshire who had his contract extended by the country in September, and Nottinghamshire Hales were teammates with England.

Rafiq had alleged that Ballance’s use of the term “Kevin”, of which he did not know the origins, was an “open secret” in the England dressing room.

“Kevin was something that Gary used to describe everyone of colour,” Rafiq told MPs. “And that was an open secret within the England dressing room. It was used in a derogatory manner.

“Gary and Alex Hales got really close when they played for England together, that’s my understanding. Alex went on to name his dog Kevin because he was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.”

The ECB have pledged to investigate the use of the name.

Rafiq also alleged in his witness statement that Yorkshire had “protected” Ballance and allowed him to miss drug tests.

“Over the years, YCCC protected Gary Balance with respect to his drug and alcohol issues, allowing him to miss drug hair sample tests to avoid sanctions,” read Rafiq’s statement.

“When he failed a recreational drug test and was forced to miss some games, the club informed the public he was missing games because he was struggling with anxiety and mental health issues.”

A representative for Ballance denied the specific allegations raised.

“These allegations are categorically untrue and should never have been made,” a statement said.

“Gary has never, to his knowledge, missed a drugs test and would not do so.”

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