Azeem Rafiq allegation brings Yorkshire scandal to England dressing room

Rafiq is emotional about racism in Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq said it was his dream to play for England, but he didn't have much to show for it.

Rafiq's testimony to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday was the moment that the Yorkshire racism scandal hit the England dressing room.

The England men's team has wrestled with issues of diversity, inclusion and discrimination for 18 months in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

To take the knee or not. A person is standing in a line. How to deal with offensive posts from a decade ago.

Rafiq's allegations were being made in parallel. Yorkshire's mess. Not England's problem.

There was still some distance between the national side and the unfolding shambles at Headingley as details dripped out, but England players from the past were implicated or named.

In a single day, that all changed.

One of Rafiq's claims was confirmed by Adil Rashid, a member of the England white-ball set-up.

Rafiq, giving evidence on a momentous day for cricket in this country, peeled back the curtain to reveal what had gone on when some of the finest players in the land were behind closed doors.

Gary Ballance, Rafiq's former team-mate at Yorkshire, is said to have used the word 'Kevin' to describe a person of colour.

Rafiq claimed that the term was so common that Ballance used it in the England dressing room during his four-year international career.

Rafiq said that Gary used to describe everyone as Kevin. That was an open secret within the England dressing room. It was used in a negative way.

Alex Hales named his dog 'Kevin' as a joke, according to Rafiq.

He said that Gary and Alex Hales were close when they played for England. Alex named his dog Kevin because he was black. How much of a joke it was is disgusting.

Hales denied that the name his dog was given was racist.

Ballance is at the center of the Rafiq story and it's not good for England's Test captain.

No one has played with Ballance more often for England than Root.

In a statement that hurt Rafiq, Root said he never witnessed incidents of racism at Yorkshire.

Rafiq said that Root is a good man. He's never used racist language.

Rafiq said that before he became an England player, he had been involved in a lot of those socializing nights out when a racist term was used towards him.

Rafiq said that it shows how normal it was in that institution that a man like him wouldn't see it for what it is.

It's not going to affect Joe, it's something I remember every day. I don't think Joe will.

England's stance on inclusion, tolerance and showing cricket can be for everyone has been led by Root. Growing into his role as captain, Root has had to lead on difficult issues.

This is the man who called out Shannon Gabriel when he used a gay slur in the middle of a Test.

The England men's team that won the World Cup was celebrated for their diversity.

One of the greatest moments in British sporting history was revealed by white-ball captain Eoin Morgan after their victory in the final.

Morgan said that Adil Rashid said Allah was with them.

It shows our team. Guys that grew up in different countries have a diverse background.

The England dressing room is in question.

Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, was asked about the 'Kevin' term and what would happen if it was found to have been used among the England team.

The DCMS select committee chair said that they were quick to ban Ollie Robinson.

Rafiq's claims will be hanging over the England team as they prepare for the Ashes.

There are seven other members of England's international cricket squad that played with Ballance. At some point, these players will be asked if they ever heard the 'Kevin' term while on international duty.

Change in English cricket will only be felt when the national teams present a fair reflection of society.

The last British-born black man to play for England was in 2010. Four non-white women have never played for England.

Rafiq was keen to stress the difficulties non-white players have transitioning from academies to the professional ranks, as England teams can only draw on talent from the domestic game.

The agenda is important, not just racism, but diversity and equity.

Getting our first-class game to wake up has been a problem. We are approaching an emergency if we are not in one.

Dressing room culture needs to be looked at across the country.

England's changing room culture is about to come under scrutiny thanks to Rafiq.