Defiant Michael Vaughan offers to pay to fly home Adil Rashid for Yorkshire racism hearing
Michael Vaughan has offered to pay to fly England’s Adil Rashid home from the one-day internationals in Bangladesh to ensure he can to give evidence in person at the Yorkshire racism case.
The England & Wales Cricket Board ruled it was too expensive to fly Rashid back for the hearing next month, saying he could appear via video link after backing up Azeem Rafiq’s contested “you lot” comment.
But lawyers for the Ashes-winning former England captain want to cross-examine Rashid in person as their client vehemently denies claims against him. A letter has been sent to Rashid’s representatives, who have been contacted by Telegraph Sport for comment.
Pressure on Rashid to appear in person is mounting after the hearing was reduced dramatically in its scope once Richard Pyrah joined Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and John Blain in refusing to attend. Gary Ballance and Yorkshire now accept charges against them.
Vaughan is left as the only person willing to fight to defend his reputation, and Rashid – a business partner of Rafiq's – is now a key witness.
Rafiq was the chief witness in charges laid by the ECB against seven individuals and Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Vaughan was charged on one count and remains committed to appearing in person to defend himself.
In a statement on Tuesday, the ECB confirmed Pyrah, who played for Yorkshire between 2001 and 2015, had pulled out of proceedings. The governing body added that former teammate Ballance would also not attend, having admitted liability in response to the charge against him for his use of racially discriminatory language. The governing body also said Yorkshire, as expected, had admitted four amended charges, including a failure to address systemic use of racist and/or discriminatory language over a prolonged period and a failure to take adequate action in respect of allegations of racist and/or discriminatory behaviour. As a result, representatives of the club would also not be participating in the hearing, the ECB confirmed.
Initially, seven individuals and Yorkshire were due to appear before the Cricket Discipline Commission, which is supposedly independent from the ECB, charged with bringing the game into disrepute. The dates for the hearing have been confirmed as March 1 to 9.
The fresh names to pull out of the process come after Ashes winner Bresnan branded the Yorkshire cricket racism investigation a "circus" and said the ECB had "pandered" to Rafiq's "every need".
In an extraordinary attack on authorities, he says he and the likes of Hoggard pulled out of next month's disciplinary hearing because, under the ECB's watch, the case is a "foregone conclusion".
"I do so with a heavy heart and although I have nothing to hide, the ECB have made it impossible to have a fair hearing," he said in a damning statement calling into question the validity of Rafiq's claims. "This has been a one-sided investigation that set out to prove a particular case against me instead of objectively examining matters before any charges were brought. For this reason, I believe the outcome is a foregone conclusion."
Gale – who is Bresnan’s brother-in-law – was among 16 members of staff dismissed by Yorkshire last year. In his statement, Bresnan also launched a blistering attack on Rafiq's "well-rehearsed" dossier of claims which brought Yorkshire Cricket Club to its knees.
Last November, the CDC accepted a request from Rafiq for the hearings to be held in public, breaking with decades of precedent of cases being held behind closed doors with written judgements handed down.
Bresnan's attack on the process came after an Asian teammate of Rafiq, Ajmal Shahzad, denied many of the claims of racism, saying he did not hear Vaughan say the "you lot" comment.