Alex Hales denies any racial connotations in naming his dog 'Kevin'

Alex Hales denies any racial connotations in naming his dog ‘Kevin’

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Rafiq has alleged it was an “open secret” that the name “Kevin” was used to describe people of colour

Alex Hales has denied “any racial connotation” in naming his dog ‘Kevin’ after Azeem Rafiq alleged that the name was used by former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance “to describe people of colour”.

Rafiq told a parliamentary hearing into the Yorkshire County Cricket Club racism scandal on Tuesday that he believed Hales, the former England batter, had named his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Hales said: “Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog.

“I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.

“There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly cooperate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold. Neither I nor my representatives will be making any further comment on the matter.”

Hales’ county club, Nottinghamshire, said it had “commenced the appropriate internal process” following Rafiq’s claims.

“Following on from the testimony provided to the DCMS Select Committee regarding Alex Hales, we have commenced the appropriate internal process and will continue to liaise with Alex and his advisers accordingly,” a club statement said.

The club also encouraged “anyone who wishes to share concerns or discuss their experiences to come forward and speak freely” either directly or through the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC).

“Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club remains totally committed to making cricket in our county, at every level, welcoming and accessible for all,” the statement said. “We have always tried to create positive and fulfilling cricketing experiences for people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and we will continue to do so.

“We acknowledge that, given the experiences recently being shared within the wider game, individuals may not have felt comfortable in voicing their concerns in the past.

“We would encourage anyone who wishes to share concerns or discuss their experiences to come forward and speak freely… it is vital that individuals do so, in order for the game of cricket to learn and move forward together.”

During the hearing, before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, Rafiq was asked by Julian Knight MP, the committee chair, about references to the word “Kevin” in Yorkshire’s controversial report into Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism at the club.

Rafiq replied that it was a derogatory word used by Ballance to describe non-white team-mates. “It was an open secret in the England dressing room,” he said. “Anyone who came across Gary would know that was a phrase he would use to describe people of colour.”

Rafiq then alleged that Hales had picked up on the word and named his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. “It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was,” Rafiq added.