It’s not banter, it’s racism


This is the story of how one cricketer in Yorkshire started a nationwide conversation, putting a spotlight on a society riddled with bias. Green grass, blue skies, white flannels and the gentle thwack of leather on willow: the quintessential image of Englishness that heralds the start of the cricket season. A so-called gentleman’s game developed with the principle of fair play at its heart. All well and true – unless you’re a person of colour living in Britain today. Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer and England youth captain, learnt this the hard way. When, on 16th November 2021, Azeem stood up and courageously spoke out about his experiences of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club he was coolly dismissed, told that it was ‘friendly banter’ and that he was a troublemaker. The case blew up, and millions of people voiced their support for Azeem.

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Azeem’s first legacy – a legacy carved at great personal expense – was to expose how cricket works. His second gift may be to expose how this country works, too.’ Jonathan Liew

When Azeem Rafiq was a young boy playing cricket near his home in Pakistan, he could never have foreseen that this sport would change his life forever. He fell in love with the game quickly and it wasn’t long before the white flannels and green grass felt like home to him. When he moved to England, he became the youngest man to captain a Yorkshire side and the first person of Asian descent to do so. His talent was undeniable, and doors were opening for him.

But there was something Azeem was bottling up and it was about to explode out of him and shake the whole cricket world, and wider society, out of their slumber. It’s Not Banter, It’s Racism is the never before-told truth behind the racism accusations that shocked a nation, from the moment Azeem spoke up to the resulting events that have altered his world entirely.

With heartbreaking honesty, Azeem reveals why he will always use his voice in a society that would prefer him to be voiceless.

‘Azeem has stood up to the world, spoken back against evil. He has had victories. He has failed. He extends charity to others and he says no: no to racism. Because we must be better than our worst.’ Stan Grant

‘Azeem’s dream was to help England win the Ashes. That wasn’t to be. But maybe, one day we’ll reflect that his legacy to the game is far greater than winning any amount of Test series.’ George Dobell

‘A principled whistleblower who stood up for what was right, Azeem has changed cricket forever.’ Jennifer Robinson

Additional information

Weight 0.38 kg
Dimensions 23.6 × 15.8 × 2.4 cm