Michael Vaughan has said he is “sorry” for the pain Azeem Rafiq has experienced amid his former Yorkshire teammate’s allegations of racism at the club.
Rafiq told MPs earlier this month of the “inhuman” treatment he suffered during his time at Yorkshire, with Vaughan among a number of figures implicated in the case. In an interview with BBC Breakfast shown on Saturday morning, Vaughan denied making racist comments.
“I’m sorry for the hurt he [Rafiq] has gone through,” the former England captain said. “It hurts deeply, hurts me that a player has gone through so much [and] been treated so badly at the club that I love.”
“I have to take some responsibility for that because I played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club for 18 years and if in any way, shape or form I’m responsible for any of his hurt, I apologise for that,” Vaughan told BBC presenter Dan Walker.
“Time I don’t think can ever be a healer in the situation that he’s gone through,” Vaughan added. “But hopefully time can be a way of us making sure that Yorkshire never goes through this situation again and never puts themselves in a position of denial that they treated a player so badly.”
Vaughan denied Rafiq’s claims that he said “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” to Rafiq and three other Asian players before a Yorkshire match in 2009. Rafiq’s account was backed by former Pakistan bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and England leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who said they heard the comment.
When Walker asked Vaughan if the trio were lying, he replied: “We’ve got too much ‘he said, she said, did they say’ – and I think we’ve got to move on from accusations of conversations from many years ago. There’s a bigger picture here.”
Asked if he ever made any racist comments during his time at Yorkshire, Vaughan said: “No I didn’t. No.” The 47-year-old also admitted he was embarrassed by historical tweets he posted which have been widely shared in recent weeks.
Vaughan has been left out of the BBC’s commentary team for the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia because “his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest”, according to a BBC statement.
“I won’t be doing the Ashes which I understand, the editorial at the moment is all about Azeem Rafiq and racism in the game of cricket. I get that,” Vaughan said. “I just hope in time I get that chance to come back.”