ECB to launch probe into Kevin slur after Azeem Rafiqs damaging allegations

The ECB have pledged to launch a probe into the 'Kevin' slur that Azeem Rafiq raised during the shocking DCMS committee hearing on Tuesday amid the race storm that has engulfed cricket.

Rafiq told MPs on Tuesday under parliamentary privilege that former Yorkshire teammate Gary Ballance used the name 'Kevin' in a derogatory manner to refer to those of black and Asian backgrounds.

The former spinner alleged that Ballance had introduced the term to the England dressing room.

According to the 30-year-old, the name allegedly took hold to such an extent that even opening batsmen Alex Hales named his black dog Kevin.

"Kevin was something Gary (Ballance) used for people of colour in a derogatory manner. All the time," Rafiq said.

"Gary and Alex got close to each other playing for England, but I understand Alex went on to name his dog Kevin because it was black. It is disgusting how much of a joke it became."

The MailOnline have reported that Hales is understood to have denied the allegation and said he named his dog 'Kevin' after comedian Kevin Bridges.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison later claimed that he had not been aware of the abuse until Rafiq’s witness statement was published, but vowed to investigate it further.

"The first time I became aware of the slur was reading the report," he said. "It will now form part of the ECB investigation."

Harrison is also of the opinion that English cricket is nearing an emergency over its failure to address diversity issues and institutional racism.

He was also questioned by members of a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

"We’ve been aware of the importance of this agenda – not just racism, but diversity and equality," Harrison said.

"What we’ve struggled with is getting our first-class game to wake up. If we’re not in an emergency, we’re approaching one."

Rafiq, who is of Pakistani descent and is a former captain of the England Under-19s, said in September 2020 that he had received racist abuse and was made to feel like an outsider at Yorkshire and that he had even contemplated suicide.

The cricketer claimed racists slurs within the club made his life 'hell', and frequent racist comments left the bowler feeling 'isolated and humiliated'.

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