English Cricket is at its lowest point after the story of Azeem Rafiq has hogged the spotlight on ‘racism’ and brought his former club Yorkshire to its knees.
The ramification of this episode now extended well beyond the borders of the most successful clubs in the country game. Many renowned players from past and present have been forced into apologies or denials.
In the same light, several other non-white cricketers have opened up about the incidents during their days at Yorkshire.
Former West Indies pacer Tino Best is the latest player to point out unfair practices in England. According to him, the drinking culture in the country was a big problem. Non-white players were forced to drink whether they were interested or not. If they didn’t drink, they were not part of the boys’ club. And this was the major reason behind non-white cricketers getting fewer chances in the English team.
Best, who was part of Yorkshire in 2010, recalled an incident when South Africa veteran Hashim Amla was forced to drink alcohol by his teammate.
“There was a guy at Hashim Amla’s table who pressurized him for three to four hours to drink. Every minute, he’s like, ‘drink this, drink that.’ Hashim, in a very humble way said, ‘Sir (with a big smile) I don’t drink.’ However, this guy kept on forcing him. I then went to that guy and said: ‘Hashim is a Muslim and Muslims don’t drink. Can you please stop forcing him? It’s unbearable brother,” Tino said during his conversation with Sky Sports.
Amla was a part of Nottinghamshire back then. He was signed as a cover for Australian batsman David Hussey.
“The culture around [County] cricket is drinking. That is a big problem. People shouldn’t be pressured to go into the clubhouse and drink eight or nine pints to be a part of the team. If you’re not a part of the drinking culture, if you’re not a part of the boys’ club, you’re not going to get opportunities after cricket. That is something that is hampering people of colour and Asian ethnicity,” Tino added.