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Azeem Rafiq apologises for using anti-semitic language in messages from 2011

The former professional cricketer said: “I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today. “I have gone back to check my account and it is me – I have absolutely no excuses.”

Talking to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on Tuesday, Rafiq accused English cricket of “institutional racism”.

But the former Yorkshire all-rounder is now embroiled in a racism row of his own.

Decade-old messages, seen by the Times, show Rafiq accusing someone, believed to be another Asian cricketer, of being reluctant to spend money on a meal out because “he is a Jew”.

In another, he joked that the person referred to above will “probs go after my 2nds again ha… Only Jews do tht sort of s**t”.

In a statement posted on Twitter today, he said: “I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence.”

He added: “I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.

“I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”

Rafiq told the select committee earlier this week that “racism is not banter”.

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He said that former Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance used to use the name “Kevin” to “describe anyone of colour in a very derogatory manner”.

Balance admitted to using racist language and expressed his “deep regret” in a statement.

But he added: “The independent enquiry, having heard all of the evidence, accepted that the context of some of the language used was in a ‘friendly verbal attack’ between friends which was not intended to offend or hurt and that no malice was intended.

“Given my incredibly close relationship with Rafa over the years I am saddened that it has come to this.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was also targeted in the inquiry in which he was accused of telling players from Asian backgrounds: “[There’s] too many of your lot, we need to do something about it.”

Vaughan has denied this claim.

But Rafiq insists that the comment was made.

He said: “Michael might not remember it… three of us, Adil [Rashid], myself and Rana [Naved-ul-Hasan] remember it. He probably doesn’t remember it because it doesn’t mean anything to him.”

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