The Independent

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Vaughan says it is ‘inconceiva­ble’ he made a racist comment

Michael Vaughan insisted it was “inconceiva­ble” that he would make the racist comment he has been accused of by Azeem Rafiq. Former England captain Vaughan began his defence against an England and Wales Cricket Board charge of using racist and/or discrimina­tory language in London yesterday. Vaughan said the entire process was a “terrible look” for cricket and that he had tried to meet with Rafiq to reach an amicable resolution. The charge was read out to Vaughan by ECB lawyer Jane Mulcahy KC, who said: “You agree the words ‘there’s too

many of you lot, we have to have a word about that’ are totally unacceptab­le?”

“Absolutely,” replied Vaughan. “And racist and discrimina­tory?” asked Mulcahy. “Absolutely,” said Vaughan, who in his witness statement said: “I consider it to be inconceiva­ble that I would use the words contained in the allegation.” Vaughan was crossexami­ned in front of the public Cricket Discipline Commission hearing into Rafiq’s claims of racism at Yorkshire. The 48-yearold was alleged to have made the “you lot” comment to four Asian team-mates; Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Ajmal Shahzad, moments after a team huddle prior to a T20 match in 2009.

“I have a very clear mind about, back in 2009, that I know I didn’t say the words I’ve been alleged to have said,” said Vaughan. “If you go through the history of me as a player I don’t know any time I’d have gone onto a pitch and said something to my teammates that would have put them in a bad state of mind to play cricket. Vaughan and fellow former Yorkshire players Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah all face charges related to the use of racially discrimina­tory language. But Vaughan is the only one to contest the charges in person.

Hoggard has already admitted using the word “P***” towards Asian players and Mulcahy asked Vaughan if he thought the term was racist. “Absolutely,” Vaughan replied. There was a less jovial tone to Vaughan’s witness statement in which he referenced the toll being accused of making a racist remark had taken on him. “Being named and implicated in this matter has had a profound effect on me,” he said. “My health and personal wellbeing have suffered badly.” PA

Firmino to leave Liverpool at end of the season

Roberto Firmino will leave Liverpool on a free transfer when his contract expires in the summer. The Brazilian has decided to bring his eight-year stay at Anfield to a close rather than looking for a new deal. He had been in talks with Liverpool about an

extension, with Jurgen Klopp hoping to keep the forward who had been a key part in his success, but Firmino informed the manager he will instead opt to go elsewhere.

Firmino will turn 32 in October and could have been the sixthchoic­e forward had he stayed at Anfield as Klopp remodels his forward line. Since the start of 2022, Liverpool have bought Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo and given long-term contracts to Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota. The Brazil internatio­nal scored nine goals before the World Cup but was then injured and has only featured as a substitute since then.

Roy and Rashid lead dominant England to beat Bangladesh

Jason Roy’s 132 off 124 balls and Adil Rashid’s four-wicket haul the day after giving testimony into alleged racism at Yorkshire helped England seal an accomplish­ed ODI series win over Bangladesh. Roy struggled in tricky conditions in Dhaka but bloomed as his innings progressed, recording his first ton in the subcontine­nt and 12th overall, moving up to joint third in the all-time England list.

He shared a 109-run stand with Jos Buttler, who scored 76 off 64 balls, while there were late cameos from Moeen Ali (42 off 35) and Sam Curran (33no off 19) as England surged to 326 for seven. After Curran took three wickets in five balls at the outset of the reply, Rashid ripped through the middle order to finish with four for 45, as Bangladesh subsided to 194 all out, and a 132-run thumping guarantees their first ODI series loss at home since 2016 as England went 2-0 up with one to play.

Rashid’s performanc­e was all the more impressive given he spent the previous evening being grilled via video link at a Cricket Discipline Hearing, in which he repeatedly corroborat­ed Azeem Rafiq’s claim that former England captain Michael Vaughan had allegedly made a racist remark at Yorkshire in 2009. PA

All Blacks player makes slit throat gesture during game

New Zealand back row Ardie Savea could find himself in disciplina­ry trouble after making a slit-throat gesture towards another player during a game. Savea, captaining the Hurricanes against the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby Pacific, had just received a yellow card but continued an argument with home scrum-half, Ryan Louwrens. The 29-year-old appeared to threaten Louwrens verbally as he left the field, drawing a thumb across his neck. One of New Zealand rugby’s highest profile and biggest stars, Savea apologised after the game for what he described as a “heat of the moment” incident.

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 ?? (PA) ?? The former England captain has begun his defence against an England and Wales Cricket Board charge of using racist and/or discrimina­tory language
(PA) The former England captain has begun his defence against an England and Wales Cricket Board charge of using racist and/or discrimina­tory language

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