Yorkshire CCC: Lord Kamlesh Patel keen for players to concentrate on their primary role

Yorkshire chair Lord Patel recognises the lingering external pressures on the club over their much-publicised cultural shift but he hopes the playing group can now focus on the season ahead.

By Phil Harrison
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 5:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 12:17 pm

Patel has overseen sweeping reforms after being parachuted into his role amid one of the most turbulent spells in Yorkshire’s history following Azeem Rafiq’s damning claims of racial harassment and bullying.

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But several institutions are monitoring the situation closely, from the England and Wales Cricket Board to a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

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Yorkshire CCC chair, Lord Kamlesh Patel

And speaking to promote a venture with the aptly-named Clean Slate Studioz – an India-based global streaming platform which has a “mission for equality” – Patel knows the club are not out the woods yet.

“We keep looking back because it informs us looking forward,” said Patel.

“But this is certainly not an overnight case. We’ve still got a lot of pressures, rightly so.

Yorkshire CCC chair Lord Kamlesh Patel

“Everybody talks about the ECB and the DCMS but what people tend to forget is had the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigated us, we would have been in the wilderness for at least a couple of years, because it’s a damning thing for a regulator who felt unlawful discrimination had taken place.

“That keeps us on our toes, it makes us do what we want but it’s going to take time, there’s no question about it.

“I just hope that we can be a beacon for others, we can be a blueprint and we’ll make some mistakes along the way but having partners like Clean Slate will challenge us.”

Several sponsors cut ties with Yorkshire and they were temporarily stripped of staging England games at Headingley, which has since been restored, after their initial handling of Rafiq’s allegations.

But while the club – as well as some current and former employees – could still face punishment from the ECB, Patel hopes the players can now concentrate on what happens on the field, starting with their LV= Insurance County Championship opener against Gloucestershire at Bristol today.

Patel said: “If I was a player with all that had happened with the media and political attention, losing international status, your career’s on the line and then in comes this ‘Lord so and so’ and we make drastic changes, I’d have been nervous and worried.

“Now we’re moving forward. Hopefully the players are going in now, keen and excited and thinking ‘we’re safe’.

“Inevitably, there’s likely to be sanctions for individuals, as well as Yorkshire. I’m trying to get everybody to put it to the backs of their minds and get on with the game. If it happens, it will.”