Azeem Rafiq: England star Moeen Ali expects ‘more stories’ of racism in cricket to emerge, praises ex-bowler

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Azeem Rafiq: England star Moeen Ali expects ‘more stories’ of racism in cricket to emerge, praises ex-bowler
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Moeen Ali has admitted he is not surprised by the stories emerging in the Yorkshire racism crisis, but expects Azeem Rafiq’s allegations will lead to “big change”, as it will see others come forward to share their experience.

Moeen says he has “never felt discriminated against” in the game, but firmly believes that the language used against Rafiq – including the word “P***” is “not banter”, as Yorkshire’s report into the allegations claimed.

Moeen believes Rafiq’s bravery in raising his concerns about racism will see many others come forward, saying “sometimes you need to have a bit of a dip to really come out”.

“I wouldn't say I'm surprised but there's probably more stories out there that people haven't heard of,” said Moeen, from England’s Dubai base ahead of Wednesday’s T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

“I won't be surprised if more do come out but I think the fact it's come out, it's great because going forward you can't just come into the game or any sort of sport or walk of life, people have to think about what they can or can't say in terms of discriminating against people and knowing what people feel and go through.

“Azeem's talked a lot about his mental health and I think that's really, really important. I think the most important thing that people who do suffer with mental health are really being looked after in this situation.

“I think people that probably didn't feel like they could speak previously, what Azeem has done he is not doing it for any personal gain, I think he wants change and that's what he's pushing for.

“Sometimes you need to have a bit of a dip to really come out and that's from Yorkshire's point of view as well. As a whole cricket community, culture, there is going to be big changes. I know one thing the ECB have always [done] since I've been playing is to try and really push those boundaries and open up those avenues for everybody, really.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Moeen believes the diversity of the England team can help accelerate that growth.

“A lot of people do think the game does need change, and certain areas that we’ve been pushing, coming from an England point of view,” he said.

“If you look at our team we’ve got a lot of diversity and everyone gets on well, we’ve been pushing it for a while now and hopefully for the future it’ll be good.”

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