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It was a nasty place to play: Sir Viv welcomes shake up at Yorkshire

Sir Viv Richards is flanked by Joel Garner (right) and Sir Ian Botham (left) during a County cricket match for Somerset.

By Neto Baptiste

Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, labelled Yorkshire as “a nasty place for you to play” as he recounted the racial abuse he and other West Indies players endured during their professional careers in County Cricket.

Sir Viv, who represented Somerset between 1974 and 1986, said that others like Joel Garner and Hallam Moseley experienced similar abuse.

“We used to go to Yorkshire and Headingly and people used to throw banana skins and stuff like that at [us] so I am very pleased and glad that it has come to light and more so than anything else, it is something that, in my opinion, has always been embedded in that particular cricket club,” he said.

Sir Viv’s statements comes as Yorkshire is being investigated over claims of racism experienced by former player Azeem Rafiq. An investigation found Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” – but the club said it would take no disciplinary action.

Yorkshire have since been suspended from hosting England matches as the England and Wales Cricket Board delivered a devastating rebuke over the club’s response to the findings of the report.

Sir Viv welcomed the actions while recounting once incident in which he fought back with the bat.

“It was just a nasty place for you to play and I took it upon myself and because of some of the nasty names we used to be called that we were playing a Benson & Hedges match and I think it was a quarterfinal and normally when I nick a ball I would walk. I think we need something like 70-plus runs to win and when I met this team I think it was David Bairstow behind the stumps but I knew I hit it but I just stood there. The umpire looked at me and never put his hand up and I said thank you. I decided I was going to bat on and just flared them to all parts of the ground. Got a hundred and knocked off the runs in whatever quick time,” he said.

Yorkshire’s investigations began in September 2020 after Rafiq, who played for Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018, claimed “institutional racism” at the club left him close to taking his own life.

After more than a year – and having been asked to do so by MPs – Yorkshire released the findings of an independent report in September which upheld seven of the 43 allegations made by Rafiq.

But the club said no players, coaches or executives would face disciplinary action following the club’s own investigation into the report’s findings.