Yorkshire turns to Gough amid rebuild after racism scandal

Former England bowler Darren Gough was appointed as director of cricket at Yorkshire on Monday and vowed to rebuild the club that recently got rid of its entire coaching staff amid a racism scandal.

Gough spent 15 years at Yorkshire across two spells and has become a leading figure in broadcasting since retiring in 2008.

Yorkshire, English cricket’s most successful team, turned to Gough after announcing the departure of 16 people — including Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket since 2007, and head coach Andrew Gale — on Friday. They followed the resignations of club chairman Roger Hutton and then chief executive Mark Arthur in the wake of criticism of Yorkshire over its handling of racism allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq.

“Like many, I have followed how the club handled the recent racism allegations with sadness and anger,” Gough said. “I want to play my part in rebuilding cricket in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to working with the exceptionally talented group of players here.

“I am also aware of my wider responsibility to listen to everyone and ensure that every person who is associated with this club feels welcome, instilling values we want associated with the White Rose: honesty, straight talking, hard work, integrity and excellence.”

Gough, who will be in the role until the end of the 2022 season, will relinquish his media duties and one of his immediate priorities will be overseeing the recruitment of a new coaching team.

Kamlesh Patel, who replaced Hutton as chairman, has said “significant change is required” for the club to regain trust.

“I share Lord Patel’s vision for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and the collective determination to face the issues head on with a series of positive actions,” Gough said. “Change will not happen overnight, but I am certain that we can make Headingley roar again.”

A report found Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” at Yorkshire.

“I speak to Azeem on a regular basis, I’m friends with him and I call him [to check on his] wellbeing because I know what he’s been through,” Gough had told Talk Sport last month. “Honestly, he has hit rock bottom time and time again in this and every time I speak to him he gets emotional.I try to stay away from what’s going on [at Yorkshire], but I call him as a friend to ask how he is because I know he had a lot of suicidal thoughts.

“I’ve had two close friends in the last 12 months that have took their own lives so I understand and I’ve been calling him on a regular basis just to make sure he’s okay because this has taken a lot out of him.”

Gough was also critical of Yorkshire, the ECB and the PCA over their handling of the case: “You have to look at what Rafiq’s been through since 2017 when he first filed a complaint for bullying. “He’s had to then deal with this case for 18 months, denial after denial after denial. They got an independent panel together which, when I look at it, wasn’t very independent at all. Then Yorkshire marked their own homework and released bits of it, admitting ‘inappropriate behaviour’ but classing racism as ‘banter’. It’s just been dealt with [poorly] by Yorkshire County Cricket club and there’s been mistakes from the PCA and the ECB and it’s led to this,” Gough had said.

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