AZEEM RAFIQ has denied trying to blackmail England spinner Adil Rashid into supporting him in the Michael Vaughan racism trial.
The dramatic development came as another ex-Yorkshire player, Ajmal Shahzad, claimed Rashid was involved in “things…that were quite murky” with Rafiq.
There’s been a storm in Yorkshire cricket over Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations
Michael Vaughan has denied claims of racist comment towards four players of Asian descent
Rafiq hit back: “Ajmal accuses me of having blackmailed Adil. That is categorically untrue.”
Rashid denies being pressured by Rafiq. The pair opened a fish and chip shop in October 2021 but it closed 12 months later.
Rashid, via video link from England’s white-ball tour of Bangladesh, and Rafiq were both cross-examined at the Cricket Discipline Commission hearing in London.
Ashes-winning captain Vaughan is fighting claims he said “there’s too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that” to four players of Asian descent before a T20 match against Notts in 2009.
Rashid’s confirmation of Rafiq’s story is key to the ECB’s case against Vaughan of bringing the game into disrepute.
Rashid is the only player supporting Rafiq after Shahzad said he has no memory of Vaughan’s alleged words and Pakistan bowler Rana Naved’s refusal to engage with the hearing after initially claiming he remembered the comment.
During Rashid’s 80-minute cross-examination, Vaughan’s legal team produced an interview with the ECB in which Shahzad, who played one Test for England, said: “I think Adil is being pressurised.
“So I think there are a lot of things that you guys may not be aware of that are happening and it’s quite murky.
“I spoke to Rashid and he was very uncomfortable with where this was going.
“He wanted to nip it in the bud sooner rather than later because quite frankly he was uncomfortable with how much Rafiq knew about Adil….and that at some point Rafiq was capable of, you know, using something that he knew about Rashid personally against him.”
Rashid was picked up for claiming that Vaughan said “there’s too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”
Likewise, Rafiq has made statements claiming Vaughan said the “something about it” version, later adjusting to the “word about that” version on which Vaughan is being charged.
Rashid and Rafiq maintain that “you lot” were the offending words rather than what followed. They blame pressure and dealing with an unfamiliar situation for the inconsistencies.