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Le sport

Hales denies any racial connotation in naming his dog

Alex Hales
Alex Hales has played 11 Tests, 70 one-day internationals and 60 T20 games for England but has not played for the national side since 2019

Former England international Alex Hales says he « categorically and absolutely » denies any « racial connotation » in naming his dog, following allegations made by Azeem Rafiq.

On Tuesday, ex-Yorkshire player Rafiq told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that former team-mate Gary Ballance used the name ‘Kevin’ as a « derogatory » term to refer to any player of colour.

Rafiq said that Hales, 32, named his dog Kevin « because it’s black ».

« Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog, » Nottinghamshire’s Hales said in a statement.

« I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.

« There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold. »

Nottinghamshire say they have « commenced the appropriate internal process » following Rafiq’s testimony about Hales.

Hales, who last played for England in 2019, has posted pictures on Instagram of himself with a Doberman called Kevin.

Rafiq, 30, detailed his experiences of racism at Yorkshire to the DCMS hearing and said that English cricket is « institutionally » racist.

Somerset launch Brooks investigation

Somerset have launched an investigation following allegations made by Rafiq at Tuesday’s hearing about their player Jack Brooks when he was at Yorkshire.

Rafiq said Cheteshwar Pujara was called ‘Steve’ by coaches, players and the Yorkshire website after Brooks began referring to the India batter using that name because he could not pronounce his first name.

Pujara said he did not like being called ‘Steve’ and would prefer his team-mates to call him Cheteshwar.

« Late on Sunday evening, Somerset County Cricket Club was made aware of allegations regarding one of our players, Jack Brooks, which occurred while he was employed by Yorkshire CCC, » the club said.

« An investigation was immediately launched and is ongoing. »

Ex-Yorkshire coach Byas denies claims

Former Yorkshire coach David Byas has denied allegations he used racist language.

Byas was named in Rafiq’s witness statement, which is part of his employment tribunal against Yorkshire and was published after Tuesday’s DCMS hearing.

Rafiq had said former Yorkshire batter Byas was « known » for using racist language.

In a statement, Byas said: « My employment at Yorkshire County Cricket Club came to an end in January 2007. Some time before Azeem Rafiq was contracted to and started to play for Yorkshire.

« I was neither coach, nor employed by Yorkshire, nor involved with them when Azeem Rafiq played for Yorkshire and I am thus at a loss to understand how he can pass comment upon my coaching methods, character or behaviour.

« I deny emphatically that I have used the phrases attributed to me in paragraph 47 of Azeem Rafiq’s witness statement and I equally categorically refute any suggestion that I was known for such.

« There is no place in cricket or in the world for racism and I condemn any such behaviour in any context. »