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England v New Zealand: Party in the stands at Headingley but a backdrop of anger and angst

Fans in the Headingley stands partied as they always do, but behind the scenes there is much fear and anger…the cloud of racism over Yorkshire cannot be long forgotten and misfortune still looms over the playing team

  • Lord Patel confirmed the Headingley test was on the line until 10 weeks ago
  • Without it, Patel suggested the most decorated county would have gone bankrupt
  • This week, six people who were fired by the club last December started mediation
  • David Willey criticized the county for putting its image above the player’s well-being

For a moment, when a sun-drenched Western Terrace rose to its feet and roared approvingly at Stuart Broad’s dismissal of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, it felt like any other Headingley test.

Few crowds make more such big moments and as the western residents jumped, bounced and clapped at the same time as Broad, the scoreboard read 62 for three, the dial hit a maximum of 28 degrees for lunch and the cloud of racism that hung over Yorkshire was momentary. to forget.

England’s quest for a fourth consecutive Test win in Leeds and the background of the hosting can’t be separated for long, though, and as club president Lord Patel explained on Thursday, this match – and thus the future of Yorkshire – at stake until 10 weeks ago.

Stuart Broad's firing of Kane Williamson spawned the Western Terrace

Stuart Broad’s firing of Kane Williamson spawned the Western Terrace

Few crowds make more of such big moments and the racism cloud over Yorkshire was forgotten for a while

Few crowds make more of such big moments and the racism cloud over Yorkshire was forgotten for a while

“When I walked in this morning, it really resonated,” Patel said in an interview with the BBC’s Test Match Special

“Until I walked in and saw the ground, it didn’t register. To be completely honest, going back to November this seemed like a very remote opportunity. It seemed a bit of a utopia.’

For it was only on the eve of the 2022 season that Yorkshire met the demands of the ECB’s governance reform, vowed to address historic bouts of racism and showed a commitment to diversity and inclusion that allowed them to keep this test match.

Without it, Patel suggested, the most decorated shire of the English game would have gone bankrupt.

But Lord Patel said this match - and the future of Yorkshire - was at stake until 10 weeks ago

But Lord Patel said this match – and the future of Yorkshire – was at stake until 10 weeks ago

‘In simple terms, yes. I think we would have,” Patel continued. They wanted absolute proof that we had put things in their place that we were going to change and move. We had to fight really hard to get it back.”

As the stands celebrated, there is much fear and anger behind the scenes.

This week, six people who were sacked by the club last December – as part of the changes Patel approved – began mediation after Yorkshire accepted a assent that their claims of unfair dismissal were ‘founded’.

Unhappiness is prevalent in the squad, to the extent that David Willey, the club’s Twenty20 captain, has publicly criticized the county for putting image above the well-being of their cricketers.

David Willey publicly criticized the county for putting its image above the player's well-being

David Willey publicly criticized the county for putting its image above the player’s well-being

Oddly enough, given that they got in a personal message on social media the day it was announced that he was returning to Northamptonshire, Patel said Willey’s words were unrelated.

Somerset-bound Tom Kohler-Cadmore is also on the move at the end of the season, but long-serving Adam Lyth is said to have been given a three-year contract and Dawid Malan another extension – following on from another England international, Harry Brook, in committing long term.

Patel estimates that 90-95 percent of the club’s supporters have agreed to the necessary regime change, but in a worrying development he was found to have collected a bag of “phenomenally racist” letters that “if I went to the police I think that people would be persecuted’.

As sports post revealed that Azeem Rafiq, the whistleblower whose harrowing testimony led to seven people plus the club being charged by the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission last week, will be a guest in Yorkshire on Saturday.

England international Dawid Malan would have received an extension

England international Dawid Malan would have received an extension

Patel said, “Azeem’s role has been very clear from day one. He said, ‘I want people to apologize and I’ll draw a line under it. If you don’t walk the walk, I challenge you.” And he has.

‘That’s a nice role. I’ve probably done more than anyone expected, but I’m getting old, so it has to be done quickly.”

How long Patel will remain in the post of chair remains uncertain. Paul Hudson, the acting chief executive, will be replaced by the fall.

“We will be advertising a chief executive of this great club in the coming days. I hope people will line up around the corner to get here,” Patel added. “It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to really make a difference and we should take advantage of it.”

As revealed by Sportsmail, whistleblower Azeem Rafiq will be a guest in Yorkshire on Saturday

As revealed by Sportsmail, whistleblower Azeem Rafiq will be a guest in Yorkshire on Saturday

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