Cricketer Azeem Rafiq’s racism claims seem to have changed Yorkshire County Cricket Club for good. With international cricket under threat at Headingley, media backlash and all sponsors turning their backs in the controversy-embroiled cricket club, the Yorkshire members dialed SOS to Lord Kamlesh Patel to restore its glory.
It was an uphill task to set the house in order in eight weeks, but Lord Patel and his team managed to put the club on the right path after accepting the stringent conditions put forth by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
By voting in favour of structures put in place during the extraordinary general meeting last Thursday, Yorkshire has managed to restore their rights to host international games. “The last six months have been very difficult. We have made lots of mistakes and hopefully, we will learn from those mistakes and move forward. There will be a real change. We will look to have diversity and equality. It is a relief that we are now the foundation and it is just the beginning of the journey,” Lord Patel told mid-day on Tuesday.
“Myself and a small team of people…we literally worked 14 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week for three to four months to move this tanker around on the journey to move forward,” he added.
Lord Patel is aware that it will take time to win back the confidence of the people, but has full faith in the processes put in place. “We have done some partnerships with local communities. We have done a partnership with the ECB. We have also done some international partnerships like the tie-up with Pakistan Super League`s Lahore Qalandars, with the Titans in South Africa. And now we are about to embark on our biggest partnership with Clean Slate Filmz.
“We have got to work hard and lead by ourselves. We have got to adapt and keep listening. It will take time, but at the moment, we have got thousands of emails and letters from the people of Yorkshire and a wider audience who have said that we are on the right track and we will support you`ll. So, I am really confident that people do want to engage with us. The fact that we have attracted the likes of Darren Gough, Ottis Gibson [coach], Kabir Ali, it shows that people believe in our journey,” he said.