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More claims of racism in English cricket

English cricket is bracing itself for further allegations of racist abuse within the county game after fresh claims were made on Monday and recent ones backed up.

On the eve of a Parliamentary committee hearing into the allegations of racism made by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq, which triggered the resignations of both chairman and chief executive, another player has made incendiary accusations about team-mates at Essex and Northamptonshire.

Maurice Chambers, who also played for Warwickshire and England Lions during a decade in the game, gave an interview to The Cricketer in which he said he was subjected to racist bullying including having a banana thrown at him and being called a monkey, and a coach who read out racist jokes in the dressing room.

This followed Adil Rashid, the England leg-spinner, becoming the second player to support Rafiq’s claim that Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, told a group of four Asian Yorkshire players: “(there’s) too many of your lot, we need to do something about it”.

Vaughan, a pundit for Fox Sports Australia, again strongly denied the claim stating it ‘simply never happened’.

On Sunday another former Essex player, Zoheb Sharif, said he received racist abuse that included being called “bomber” by his team-mates after the September 11 attack.

More revelations seem likely. Chambers said he had given his interview, for which he was not paid, because he had been ‘inspired’ by Rafiq. He added: “I want other players to have the courage to speak up and share their experiences. Only by letting people know about the things that have being going on can we bring about change.”

Chambers made his Essex debut in 2005 at 17. Now 34 he described an alleged incident that happened at a house he was temporarily sharing with a team-mate.

He said: “We had a team night out in Chelmsford. The other player got pretty drunk. When I got home, he threw a banana down the stairs and said: ‘Climb for it, you f***ing monkey.'”

Chambers said the player was told to apologise, but they continued to live in the same house.

On another occasion, Chambers recounted how a coach laughed when a senior player offered him a banana. Chambers added: “It was humiliating. It was isolating. I never told anyone, but I would go home at the end of the day and cry.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board has said it is “appalled” and vowed to investigate alongside the other allegations about Essex, whose chairman John Faragher quit last week after it was alleged he had used a racist phrase at a board meeting in 2017. Faragher denies the claim.

Essex chief executive John Stephenson, who took over the day-to-day running in October, said Chambers’ allegations made distressing reading’ and would ‘be taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly’.

Vaughan, who has been stood down by the BBC but is expected to cover the Ashes for Fox Sports Australia, had denied the initial allegation. On Monday he issued a statement in which he said: “I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the ‘you lot’ comment simply never happened.”

Vaughan added: “To be confronted with this allegation 11 years after it has supposed to have happened is the worst thing I have ever experienced.”

“I fully accept that perspectives differ, and I have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has gone through, but I hope everyone understands why I cannot allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be trashed unfairly.”

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