Yorkshire County Cricket whistleblower Azeem Rafiq has been accused of sending a series of ‘creepy’ and ‘vulgar’ messages to a teenage girl six years ago.
Rafiq received widespread support after detailing his experiences of racism and bullying at Yorkshire during an emotional testimony in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last week.
But Rafiq’s past behaviour has since come under scrutiny, with the 30-year-old issuing an apology on Thursday after a series of antisemitic slurs he made on Facebook over a decade ago came to light.
The ex-England Under-19 captain is now facing fresh allegations referring to an apparent WhatsApp exchange he had with a 16-year-old girl back in December 2015.
The Yorkshire Post claim they have uncovered screenshots of the conversation which show messages sent from Rafiq’s phone number toGayathri Ajith, who has come forward with her explosive revelations.
Ajith claims to have met Rafiq – who was then aged 24 – three months earlier on a flight from Manchester to Dubai when she told the former spin bowler she was 17 in order to seem ‘a bit older’.
According to Ajith, she said yes to a vodka-coke with Rafiq on board the plane but rejected his invitation to meet up over dinner in Dubai.
‘U know what I wanted to do on the plane?’ the screenshot read according to the damning report.
The text continued: ‘I want to grab you push u up against wall and kiss you’.
The publication suggestsAjith responded, ‘Do you realise that I’m only 17?’, to which she received the reply, ‘Does tht [sic] mean it not allowed to want to kiss me’, and later, ‘Wud [sic] u have let me kiss u?’.
Ajith labelled the messages she got back from Rafiq’s number ‘creepy’ and subsequently posed the question: ‘How do I know that you’re no [sic] some absolute pervert?’
Reflecting on the exchange, she told the Yorkshire Post: ‘I was just kind of shocked by the crudity of those messages. They were just so vulgar.’
Ajith stressed that she was not out to dispute Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism in English cricket, but suggested his apparent behaviour towards her ‘contradicted’ some parts of the testimony he made last Tuesday.
‘I’m not disputing any of his racism claims, because I’m sure they’re very true experiences. But certain aspects of what he said just don’t really sit right with me,’ she said.
‘If he was being forced to drink by his team-mates then surely that wouldn’t then mean he would be drinking alone on a flight and encouraging a 17-year-old girl to be drinking with him?
‘His behaviour towards me was a direct contradiction really of what he said in his testimony.
‘He’s calling for equality and respect, but why is he not embodying that in all aspects? Especially in his tone towards women. It’s hypocrisy.
‘He is being put on this pedestal for inciting systemic change, but he’s really contributing to the problem of the vulgar attitudes towards women. The whole nature of that doesn’t sit right with me.’
In the wake of Rafiq’s powerful testimony made to MPs, English cricket issued an unreserved apology and vowed to take swift measures to restore trust in the sport.
‘Racism and discrimination is a blight on our game,’ a joint statement from the ECB, first-class counties and the game’s other key stakeholders said.
‘To Azeem and all those who have experienced any form of discrimination, we are truly sorry.
‘Our sport did not welcome you, our game did not accept you as we should have done. We apologise unreservedly for your suffering.’
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