Yorkshire Cricket Club players 'instructed' not to talk about Azeem Rafiq scandal

Questions about Azeem Rafiq were Credit: ITV News

The captain of Yorkshire County Cricket Club says the team have been instructed not to talk about the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Steven Patterson made the comments to ITV News at the club's annual media day ahead of the upcoming cricket season.

Last night members at the club voted to approve key changes at the club in the wake of the scandal, including ratifying Lord Kamlesh Patel as the new chair.

He has promised an era of greater transparency and openness.

But, when asked by ITV News about Rafiq's experience Patterson replied: "In all honestly, we have been instructed by the club not to discuss that subject at this moment in time and just to discuss matters regarding cricket this season."

When pressed on the matter he replied: "I have answered your question, sorry."

The club is trying to rebuild its reputation and its fortunes after former Yorkshire player Rafiq prompted a major inquiry into abuse and discrimination in the game by making claims of institutional racism at the club.

An investigation found he had been subjected to racial harassment and bullying while at the club, and in November, he gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The crisis threatened Yorkshire's very survival as a raft of sponsors cut ties with Yorkshire and Headingley was stripped of the right to host international matches.

But that decision has now been overturned after last night's vote to ratify reforms at the club.

Lord Kamlesh Patel has been tasked with leading the club out of the crisis. Credit: Yorkshire Cricket Club

The team go into the season under new coach Ottis Gibson, who replaced Andrew Gale after he was sacked.

Speaking about working with a new head coach, Patterson said: "It's been brilliant. I've loved every minute of it.

"His [Gibson's] knowledge of the game is first class and he's been a really good influence on the lads.

"We're just excited, in the same way, he is, to get out there. He was clear when he came in that his focus is to win games of cricket and win competitions.

"He wants us to be the best team that we can and we're going to try and do everything we can as players to deliver for him."