England cricket has been under the scanner lately with players opening up social injustice in the county circuit. While former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq’s claims have bagged maximum limelight, several other non-white cricketers have also opened up about the issues they faced. Former West Indies pacer Tino Best is the latest to point out a loophole in the English cricket circuit.
The former West Indies international, who spent the 2010 season at Yorkshire and played alongside Azeem Rafiq, stated that the ‘drinking culture’ in county teams was somewhat responsible for Asian and non-white players not getting substantial opportunities in English cricket. Notably, Best even recalled an instance when former South African batter Hashim Amla, who’s also a Muslim, was forced to drink.
Tino Best recalls how Hashim Amla was mistreated
“There was a guy at Hashim Amla’s table who pressurized him for three to four hours to drink. Every minute, he’s like, ‘drink this, drink that.’ Hashim, in a very humble way said, ‘Sir (with a big smile) I don’t drink.’ However, this guy kept on forcing him. I then went to that guy and said: ‘Hashim is a Muslim and Muslims don’t drink. Can you please stop forcing him? It’s unbearable brother’,” recalled the 40-year-old in a conversation with Sky Sports.
For the unversed, Amla is known for his strong belief. He even refused to endorse alcohol brands in his jersey while for South Africa. Hence, this revelation by Best is indeed massive. Besides this episode, Best also explained how the entire drinking culture has an impact on the English district circuit.
The culture around cricket is drinking. That is a big problem. People shouldn’t be pressured to go into the clubhouse and drink eight or nine pints to be a part of the team. If you’re not a part of the drinking culture, if you’re not a part of the boys’ club, you’re not going to get opportunities after cricket. That is something that is hampering people of colour and Asian ethnicity,’ Best told BBC Sport.
Best also recalled how several non-white cricketers were mistreated at Yorkshire in 2010 and how they feared repercussions. “Me being a person of colour as well, I would always be with them as well. It was just astounding to hear what those guys were saying back in 2010,” he asserted.