AZEEM RAFIQ says the ‘floodgates are opening’ as thousands of victims report racial abuse in cricket.
The former Yorkshire all-rounder’s astounding evidence to MPs on Tuesday has led to a new Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket receiving more than 1,000 calls in the past week.
Whistleblower Rafiq said: “I feel now it’s going to be the floodgates opening and a lot of victims of abuse will come forward.
“We need to listen to them, support them and work out a plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“I’ve heard more than 1,000 people have come forward already.
“A lot of people are fearful of speaking out. Clearly, I’m not and I can make a big difference.
“All I’d say is you’ve got to be honest, come forward and get it off your chest.
“Hopefully, now people will be believed and heard a lot more and can take confidence from that.”
There have been three allegations of racism at Essex in the past week, while Notts, Middlesex and Leicestershire were named during the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport hearing.
Counties are setting up whistleblower hotlines and encouraging current and past members of staff to talk.
On Tuesday Rafiq told MPs the use of ‘Kevin’ to describe people of colour was an ‘open secret in the England dressing room’ and accused former England batsman Hales of giving his Dobermann the name because it was black.
But Hales insisted: “I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in naming my dog.
“I respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.”
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison is facing a growing revolt from counties following his unconvincing performance before the DCMS.
Some counties want him out but the ECB are without a chairman following the departure of Ian Watmore last month, so Harrison’s exit would leave a power vacuum at the top of cricket.