The Essex chief executive, John Stephenson, is “extremely shocked and saddened” by allegations the club’s former batter Zoheb Sharif received racist abuse that included being called “bomber” by his teammates after the September 11 attacks.
Sharif, whose parents were born in Pakistan, played for Essex between 2001 and 2004 and also claims he was called “curry muncher” during his time at the county. He told the Mirror: “It was a day after the September 11 attacks. People started calling me ‘bomber’. It was normal to be called ‘curry muncher’.
Sharif, now 38, added: “I didn’t say anything at the time. I was a teenager in a dressing room with big characters. To them it was banter. To me it wasn’t, but you don’t want to do anything to block your chance of getting into the first team.”
Sharif’s revelations are the latest in the storm engulfing cricket with Yorkshire still dealing with the aftermath of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism at Headingley.
John Faragher resigned as Essex chairman on Thursday following a claim he used racist language at a board meeting in 2017, which he strongly denied. Stephenson said in a statement: “I am extremely shocked and saddened to hear of historic racial allegations involving a former player, dating back to 2001.
“There is absolutely no place for discrimination of any kind at Essex County Cricket Club and we have a zero-tolerance policy towards racism. I immediately reached out to the former player to offer him my and Essex County Cricket Club’s full support and to encourage him to come forward and talk to myself and the club about his experiences.
“We will put the right care in place for him and we applaud his bravery and courage for speaking out on such a sensitive issue after all these years. There has never been a place, nor will there ever be a place, for any kind of prejudice at Essex County Cricket Club.”