Racism at Yorkshire CCC: Lord Patel confident Headingley will stage internationals
Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has expressed his confidence that the club’s suspension from hosting England matches will be lifted in time for this summer.
Lord Patel also said the ban not being lifted would create a “huge financial crisis”.
The England and Wales Cricket Board last November withdrew the right for international matches to take place at Headingley – which had been allocated a Test match against New Zealand in June and a one-day international against South Africa in July – following Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire.
Former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq, writing in the Daily Mail, has said he wants to see England playing at the ground this summer.
Lord Patel, who said he was “so heartened” to see Rafiq’s comments, told the BBC: “My sole focus, besides dealing with all the issues we have to deal with, is making sure international matches return here as soon as possible, because everything rests on that in terms of our future.”
Asked how confident he was that that would be achieved by this summer, he said: “24/7, myself and a number of people here are just working to meet the criteria we’ve been set and I’m very confident we will meet the criteria we’ve been set and, I hope, way beyond that as well.
“There’s no other option in my head – I have to be hopeful and I have to be more than hopeful, I have to be very confident.”
Of Yorkshire not regaining international status, Lord Patel said: “There is no question, it would be a huge financial crisis.”
Rafiq wrote in the Mail: “At first in all this I believed international cricket should be taken away from them. But they have done enough to warrant getting it back, for now at least.
“I want to see England playing at Headingley this summer. I may even pop down to watch myself.
“It has been a whirlwind since I appeared in front of MPs almost two months ago, and what Yorkshire and Lord Patel have done to bring change is definitely a step in the right direction.
“If we are asking an institution to look at itself then we should recognise when it begins to show it is genuinely sorry and attempts to start putting things right. Yorkshire need to be supported and helped to move in that right direction.
“The last thing I want now are kids in Leeds, Bradford and throughout the county being denied the high-level cricket that could inspire them.”
Rafiq gave powerful testimony on November 16 to the cross-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, which is due to publish its report into the matter on Friday.
Lord Patel – the face of a new Yorkshire regime after a mass clearout at the county, with wholesale departures in the boardroom and coaching staff – said of the report: “If it wasn’t painful for the club, I’d be astonished, because what happened here was unforgivable and unacceptable.
“So it will be painful for the club, but for me, I’m looking forward. That was eight weeks ago when I came here, and where are we now? I’m very hopeful about where we are now.”
Australia tour to Pakistan: Pace attack could be boosted
Australia are likely to include a raft of pace bowlers in their squad for the scheduled tour to Pakistan in March.
South Africa vs India: Keegan Petersen still coming to terms with stardom
New South Africa batting star Keegan Petersen has not quite gotten his head around his newfound fame.
Ashes reaction: Kevin Pietersen backs Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has backed current captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood to remain in charge of the team.
England Test team: ECB investigating after police called to Ashes drinks following Hobart Test
Players and staff from both the Australian and English teams were at the event.
Rassie van der Dussen relished India banter in tough Test series
The series between South Africa and India rode on a knife-edge.
India in South Africa: Jasprit Bumrah philosophical on leadership changes
Coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli have departed recently.
Broad and company: It’s our combined Ashes comedy XI
Everyone loves a combined XI at the end of the series; ours is a little different/better.
England Test team: Coach Chris Silverwood unsure what future holds after Ashes
England lost 4-0 Down Under.
Racism in cricket: ECB to give update to DCMS committee in January
The DCMS committee has recommended public funding to cricket be limited if it does not make sufficient progress on racism.
Women’s Ashes: Lisa Keightley admits England are ‘still rusty’ ahead of bid to regain the Urn
The multi-format series was brought forward by a week and will start with three T20 matches at the Adelaide Oval.