Cricket is one of the first games that became widely popular worldwide. It all started in England and its colonies and then spread all over the globe. Therefore, you can encounter many nationalities and famous cricket players like Azeem Rafiq, Vitrat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and many more. Most of them have unique stories, just like Azeem’s, which we will overview in the following paragraphs.
The Azeem Rafiq Gambling Debt & Racism Court Case
Two scandals in Azeem Rafiq’s cricket career significantly submerged his reputation and the one of Yorkshire club. It is also quite strange how Azeem Rafiq’s gambling addiction became a public matter long after he was already done with it.
We need to mention many things before reaching the Azeem Rafiq gambling debts part. Don’t blame him for his mistakes because it is easy to slip when there are so many top-rated gambling sites and land-based casinos.
Azeem Rafiq’s Gambling Addiction
The whole story about the Azeem Rafiq gambling addiction became publicly known in 2018 when his ex-wife brought to the public the accusation that he owned over $500,000 to the Cosmopolitan Casino in Las Vegas. They were fighting for the custody of their newborn child. This was probably the reason why she was so harsh.
Shortly after, Azeem himself opened up and admitted that he was suffering from gambling addiction and that the Professional Cricket Association even covered his gambling debts in 2015. They also helped him find proper responsible gambling company to assist him in the process.
The total amount covered was not revealed, but Azeem Rafiq spoke openly about his struggles with sports betting and jackpot games. This brought a lot of trouble to him, the PCA and the Yorkshire club.
Actually, the PCA was quite disappointed with him because after all they did for him, he threw them under the bus. It all happened in an interview he had in 2020 with the famous Taha Hashim. He explained the racist approach of Yorkshire’s management and fellow players he experienced while he was part of the club.
All this brought a scandal of a new scale. Azeem Rafiq’s gambling addiction was not the main subject when speaking of him. He explained several times that all he seeks is a change in how Yorkshire works and treats people. He mentioned people from the highest positions to the lowest who were alleged in racist comments and attitudes toward Asian players.
Shortly after the scandal hit the public, the Yorkshire management decided to start an investigation and get to the bottom of the racism issues brought to light by Azeem. The official investigation started in 2021, while the case consisted of 43 allegations of racism. Some were dismissed due to the lack of evidence, but seven were proved true.
There is evidence showing that the former coach regularly used racist language. At the end of the trial, it became evident that it was not only the coach but members of the team too.
It was interesting to see that Yorkshire didn’t respond appropriately as the club refused to apply any sanctions to the proven cases of racism in the club. This caused a lot of trouble for the club, including the withdrawal of several of its primary sponsorships. Azeem also expressed his disappointment publicly from the lack of action and better engagement.
Not long after, the chairman Roger Hutton and the CEO Mark Arthur resigned from Yorkshire willingly. Thanks to Azeem Rafiq’s gambling debts and addiction, many dirty secrets of the professional cricket world came to light. The change was necessary, and people saw through it.
Azeem Rafiq Professional Cricket Career & Achievements
We assume that most of the readers are also into sports, and they might be looking to find more information about the exact achievements that Azeem was able to set. After all, Azeem Rafiq’s cricket career started at the age of 15, but more about his story, you will find out in the following paragraphs. Now you can check the table below with his statistics.
|Tournament||List A Cricket||Twenty20||First Class Cricket|
|Number of Matches:||32||95||39|
Even though Azeem Rafiq’s cricket career as a pro player is over, his achievements will live on as one of the best in the sport, especially under 18. He became a game-changer not only from a gaming perspective but in an industry too. His fascinating life story will discover in the following Azeem Rafiq biography chapter.
Azeem Rafiq Biography
It is time to tell you some more information about Azeem Rafiq’s personal and early life. Rafiq was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1991, and at the age of 10, in 2001, he moved to the UK with his family. He grew up in the northern part of the kingdom, in an area called Barnsley, situated right between Sheffield and Leeds.
He graduated from the Holgate school, but most importantly, he was part of the Barnsley cricket club. He became pretty popular at the age of 15, thanks to his excellent cricket skills. In the following years, he was able to win awards like Junior Performer in 2007. In 2008, he became a clubs academy member at Barnsley. Rafiq was awarded a Brian Johnston Memorial Trust scholarship.
Azeem Rafiq Cricket Career
In June 2008, he made his first debut in the senior cricket league with Yorkshire’s First XI versus Nottinghamshire. It was an excellent game for Azeem because he bowled two overs, and Yorkshire won the game. It is interesting to mention that at that time, Azeem Rafiq was not yet officially a UK citizen because he had no passport. By all means, he was not qualified as a domestic player.
According to the league’s rules, each team was allowed to acquire only one foreign player. Luckily for Azeem, he was the occupant. Shortly after he applied, his citizenship was confirmed, and he could sign a three-year contract with Yorkshire. He became a captain of the country’s club academy and led them in the matches in 2009 in South Africa and Abu Dhabi. In fact, in 2009, Rafiq proved himself as a top-class player with a bright future in the sport.
As a captain of the under 19 team, he made significant achievements against Bangladesh and Scarborough. His participation in the under 19 tours of Bangladesh in 2009 let him get a chance at the ODI series before being re-appointed as England’s captain for the following tournament in New Zealand in 2010.
He got in trouble due to the harsh language he used on social media and his decision to break curfews in Sri Lanka during the under-19 competition. First, he was dropped out of the team because of the broken rules, and then ECB gave him a one-month penalty from all cricket games because of his comments on Twitter, which were deleted, but obviously not soon enough.
Changing Clubs and Fighting Personal Demons
In 2011, Rafiq spent some time with the Derbyshire Country Cricket as a loan. He played five matches with Clydesdale Bank 40 and three Country Championship before returning to Yorkshire and the Twenty20 Cup tournament. He also signed a two years extension of his contract with the club.
After Adil Rashid dropped out of the team, Azeem returned to the Yorkshire’s Country Championship team in 2012. Rafiq led them through one good and successful season where he doubled back the skills he showed in previous years. Thanks to it, he was on for the next season too. Unfortunately, he injured his knee, which reduced his court presence to only Twenty20 matches.
In 2014, he decided to leave the club, but things didn’t go so well for him from then on. In an interview down the road, he said he was suffering from self-doubt and lack of confidence, which caused him many professional issues. Rafiq showed the many sceptics that he was still among the best players in 2016 when he proved himself at the Twenty20 Blast.
In 2017 he played entirely for Yorkshire, but at the end of the season, he was cut off due to the club’s financial struggles. Then he spent some time playing in Asia before he got hired by Lincolnshire County Cricket Club in 2019. We can’t miss mentioning that in 2018, he became a father. That brought one additional motivation to play and show his skills.
In 2020, during the pandemic, he became a volunteer and provider of food for the NHS. In 2021, he decided to open a chip shop in Barnsley. It also became evident that he will leave the pro cricket play and start coaching instead. Like many other of the most famous gamblers, he decided to help others in their journeys.
There are many things about Azeem Rafiq’s story that can easily slip your mind. Therefore, we have gathered the most frequently asked questions about him and his legacy. You will find a link in each answer that will lead you to one more detailed explanation you might want to check out.