Yorkshire would have been gutted by relegation; environment on and off the field needs to change

London, Oct 2 (IANS): Former England all-rounder Craig White feels Yorkshire would have been "gutted" by the side's relegation to Division Two of the County Championship following the dismal performances this season, a consequence of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Rafiq, who played for Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018, claimed that the racial abuse he suffered left him close to committing suicide and that his reports of abuse were "ignored" by the club at the time.

In the wake of the allegations, almost the entire coaching and management staff of the county side was sacked, dealing a huge blow to the team's preparations ahead of the County season.

The relegation has come at a time when new skipper, Pakistan's 32-year-old left-hand batter Shan Masood, is taking over from Steve Patterson, who announced that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season.

"It's (relegation) a disappointment, you feel like you have let everyone down, particularly at the club like Yorkshire with all the prestige," White, who played 30 Tests and 51 ODIs for England, told The Cricketer of the 32-time County Championship winners.

The former Yorkshire skipper added the relegation is like a body blow but hoped the club will try to bounce back as quickly as possible.

"When you get relegated you feel like you've let everyone down, not least yourself. They'll (players) be gutted but they've got to try and bounce back and come straight back up next year," added White, who served at Headingley for 17 years.

This is the first time since 2012 that Yorkshire have dropped into the second tier and White urged the management to focus on creating the right environment for the club's quick return to the County Championship Division One.

"I think the environment on and off the field needs a little bit of work," White added. "If they sign well over the winter, some good senior players, there is some talent coming through who will have to learn their trade in Division Two. A good environment within the club and the team and you need good players, it is as simple as that.

"You won't get to play at the main grounds, but you've got to dust yourself down, work hard and try and turn things around," he added.



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Title: Yorkshire would have been gutted by relegation; environment on and off the field needs to change

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