Former Pakistan pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has revealed that he was a subject of systematic racial abuse along with another endured overseas player during his stint with English county club Yorkshire.
The 42-year-old became the second player from Yorkshire to raise their voice against racial abuse in county cricket after Azeem Rafiq who earlier revealed that he wanted to commit suicide after going through similar circumstances.
Naved, while talking to ESPNCricinfo, claimed that home supporters used to hoot him and there was “a clear case of discrimination” in the club.
“I fully support what he [Azeem] said and this has been the case with me as well,” the former Pakistan pacer said. “I never spoke about it because, as foreigners, we were temporary and somehow I managed to accept the way it is. So, I just focused on playing cricket. I never wanted to jeopardize my contracts.”
He added, “There was systematic taunting and it's tough to do much about it. To us as overseas players from Asia, when you are not able to perform, the home crowd which should be supporting us, instead they started hooting and would taunt us with racist slurs like 'Paki'.”
The former Hobart Hurricanes' fast-bowler further went on to say that the crowd treated him well provided if the performance was good. "If you are performing then you get all the space but, in case if I am not taking wickets, the attitude suddenly started to change. They started to give us a tough time, giving me a smaller hotel room and there used to be a clear case of discrimination.”
Naved said that he decided to ignore the incidents because he wasn’t going to stick with the team forever. “I decided to ignore it because I knew I was not going to live there permanently but I know what Azeem went through. He did share his frustration in my playing days. The way he was released by the club wasn't ideal and says a lot about them, but I had been advising him to stay strong and take it as a challenge."
The former Sialkot Stallions' pacer also claimed that Yorkshire is the only club in the county circuit to treat its players in such manner. “I played several years for Sussex and they were tremendous; they treated me like their own family. Those two years were absolutely great. Even my first year in Yorkshire was okay but the trouble started in the second year.”
Yorkshire, in its statement, said that the statements made by the former Pakistan player were “very concerning” and expressed their commitment of investigating the issue.