Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan told a hearing on racism allegations in Yorkshire on Friday that it was “inconceivable” that he would make the comment attributed to him by ex-team-mate Azeem Rafiq.
Vaughan and a number of other former County Cricket Club players face charges of using racially discriminatory language.
Pakistan-born Rafiq, 32, first went public in September 2020 with allegations of racism and bullying linked to his two stints at the club.
Rafiq claimed Vaughan told him and three other Yorkshire players of Asian descent before a 2009 Twenty20 game between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge: “There are too many of you, we have to do something about it”.
Cricket Board Counsel Jane Mulcahy asked Vaughan at the ongoing Cricket Discipline Commission hearing in London whether the words “there are too many of you plenty” were “totally unacceptable” and “racist and discriminatory”.
“Absolutely,” said Vaughan, 48, who said in his testimony, “I find it inconceivable that I would use the words used in the allegation.”
During cross-examination on Friday, Vaughan insisted, “I’m very clear in 2009 that I know I didn’t say the words I said I said.”
The skipper, who was awarded Ashes in 2005, added: “If you go through my history as a player, I don’t know when I would have walked onto a pitch and said something to my teammates that would have put them in a bad state of mind, to play cricket.
“That statement, which I allegedly made, would have put my teammates in the position of not being able to perform at their maximum.”
He added: They have three or four Asian players in the team at once (Yorkshire), I couldn’t have been prouder.”
Mulcahy also referenced a 2010 tweet by Vaughan about a directory assistance service.
He wrote, “Why when you call 118 118 all the people who answer strange…can’t understand what they’re saying…is annoying.”
“Is that your tweet?” asked Mulcahy.
“It certainly is, and it’s unacceptable,” Vaughan replied.
– “Terrible Look” –
Mulcahy asked Vaughan why he arranged to meet Rafiq in November 2021 if nothing unusual had happened.
Vaughan replied, “I felt like it was getting too big and hurting too many people. It wasn’t easy for anyone.
“I don’t think this is the right process to deal with a word-for-word lawsuit from 14 years ago. Whatever happens, that’s a terrible view of the game, a really bad view of how cricket handled this situation.”
The ECB indicted seven people and Yorkshire in June last year, with the club admitting to four charges.
Vaughan is the only former player to personally challenge the charges.
“Having my name and involvement in this matter made a lasting impact on me,” the former Test batsman said. “My health and personal well-being have suffered greatly.”