Former England star Monty Panesar has slammed Yorkshire County Cricket Club for claiming the use of the word ‘P***’ by one of its players was ‘banter’.

The retired spinner, 39, blasted the side for defending Gary Ballance over his comments towards Azeem Rafiq between 2008 and 2018.

Panesar, a representative of Essex and Sussex, claimed that chiefs have ‘completely mishandled’ the racism row which has engulfed the sport.

His comments echo Nasserhussain’s, who stated that he fears the case would send a message about racial prejudice to Yorkshire academy stars.

Hussain exhorted anyone who was in the club’s dressing room during Rafiq’s two spells to speak up for the ex-spinner.

The fresh fury comes after Ballance released a statement on Wednesday where he took responsibility for some of the claims against him.

But he reacted to his old ‘best friend’ by insisting that both men’said private things to each other which were unacceptable’.

The retired spinner, 39, blasted the side for defending Gary Ballance over his comments towards Azeem Rafiq (pictured together in 2012) between between 2008 and 2018

The 39-year-old retired spinner blasted the side for defending Gary Ballance’s comments towards Azeem Rasiq (pictured together in 2012).

His comments echo Nasser Hussain (pictured) who said he fears the case will send a message to Yorkshire academy stars that racial discrimination is acceptable

His comments echo the views of Nasserhussain (pictured), which said he worries that the case will send a message for Yorkshire academy stars about how racial disparity is acceptable

How the scandal at Yorkshire Cricket Club unfolded, and what’s next

2008-2018 Azeem Rafiq spent 10 years at Yorkshire CCC. He became their youngest captain and was the first Asian-born captain in 2012.

September 2020 Yorkshire launches investigation into Rafiq, who reveals that Rafiq was ‘close’ to suicide due to racism at the club. He said that he would often come home from training and weep all day. People accused Rafiq and his Asian team-mates of being too many.

December 2020Rafiq files a lawsuit against the county claiming that he was subjected to direct discrimination and harassment on race grounds, as well as victimisation, detriment, and other consequences of his efforts at addressing racism at the club.

June 2021: Rafiq’s lawyer claims that Rafiq’s pushbacks have ‘created a lack of faith throughout the entire process’. An employment tribunal is set up, but the dispute is not settled by the parties.

August 2021Yorkshire issues ‘profound apology’ to Rafiq after a report found that he was the victim of inappropriate behavior. But they refuse to accept Rafiq’s claim of institutional racist behavior – Rafiq accuses Yorkshire of ‘fudging’ his claims and promises he is ‘not going anywhere’.

September 2021 ECB are’very worried’ about the summary of panel’s findings. Yorkshire admitted Rafiq was the victim ‘racial harassment, bullying’. 

Yorkshire said that only seven of the 43 allegations were upheld and that they don’t intend to publish a complete report.

October 2021 Yorkshire says they won’t take any disciplinary action against any employees after the report. Rafiq wrote on Twitter that the club is “embarrassing” and that it gives a “green light” to racism.

This week: Details of the report are published by ESPNcricinfo, including a senior player’s admission that he repeatedly used the word ‘P***’ in reference to Rafiq, which was deemed ‘banter’. Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, stated that “heads should roll”, and the Prime Minister requested an investigation by the ECB. 

Yesterday: MailOnline has revealed that Rafiq was Rafiq’s ex-teammate from Yorkshire, England batsman Gary Ballance. Sponsors Anchor Butter and Emerald cut ties to the club.

What’s next?What’s next? The DCMS committee will hear evidence from Roger Hutton, RAFIQ chairman and Martyn Mxon director of cricket on November 16. Rafiq said Tuesday that it was time to find out the whole truth. 

Yorkshire is under pressure from sponsors to end their association. However, legal claims remain unresolved.

Mr Panesar told Good Morning Britain: “I think they’ve totally mishandled this matter.

They haven’t shown serious concern for Azeem Rahiq’s welfare. They’ve called it banter that sits uncomfortably alongside me.

He said, “The P word is racist and should not be defined in the banter bracket.”

‘Yorkshire believed that Azeem’s allegations were not important to them. They avoided the issues and delayed the report.

“This statement from Gary Ballance should have been released in August, when the ECB requested that report.

Hussain, an ex-captain of England who was also a commentator on the case, also participated in the handling.

He told Sky: ‘They messed it up first time when it actually happened because no one had the guts to stand up and say: ‘No, we are not doing that in this dressing room.’

They then made it worse by not picking out people who used the terminology. And they’re still messing with it, even though they had the option to say “We have changed, we won’t accept this kind of behavior.” They continue to mess it all up.

‘Almost by Yorkshire’ is not joking. They are sending a message to all age groups that it’s okay to say you lot’ and ‘that corner shop must belong your uncle’ and other similar phrases.

“They are sending the message that this kind of mickey taking is acceptable and it is not.

Hussain, who is covering T20 World Cup in Middle East, said: ‘It’s going to not be a great week, or month for cricket.

“But it’s a month cricket needs to go though so we can finally discover what that situation was, and also who was involved at that time.

“It is very difficult because it is hard to support your team-mate and have context, but I think it is important for both sides that people speak up for Azeem Rasiq.

‘If Azeem Rafiq was discriminated against racially and you were there, please speak out. He has been through so much and has waited so patiently for people who would back him up.

“Also, Gary Balance will be in a very difficult place at the moment if you believe that Gary Balance is wrong and if that is the case, then please tell Gary Balance. I think people should speak up and get some truth out of this.

Rafiq’s claims against Yorkshire are well-documented for well over one year.

The issue is now gaining momentum following revelations by ESPNCricinfo about the contents of an independent report.

According to the report, he was the victim of racism harassment and bullying during his time at the club.

But it has since emerged the panel found repeated use of the word ‘P***’ against the spinner was delivered ‘in the spirit of friendly banter’.

The Yorkshire cricketer accused of calling Azeem Rafiq a 'p*ki' is believed to be former England star Gary Ballance, MailOnline can exclusively reveal today

The Yorkshire cricketer accused of calling Azeem Rafiq a 'p*ki' is believed to be former England star Gary Ballance, MailOnline can exclusively reveal today

The Yorkshire cricketer accused of calling Azeem Rafiq a ‘p*ki’ is believed to be former England star Gary Ballance, MailOnline can exclusively reveal today

The batsman (pictured with wife Alex) issued a long and emotional statement yesterday evening

Yesterday evening, the batsman (pictured here with his wife Alex) made an emotional and lengthy statement.

Yorkshire recently concluded that no employee would be subject to any action following the report.

However, on Wednesday batter Ballance said that he used a racial slur against his ex team-mate in an emotional statement.

He wrote: ‘It has been reported that I used a racial slur and, as I told the independent enquiry, I accept that I did so and I regret doing so.’

He continued, “To be precise – I deeply regretted some of the language that I used in my youth.”

‘I don’t want to discredit Rafa with the words and comments that he made regarding me but I have to make it clear that this was a situation in which best friends said offensive statements to each other, which would be considered inappropriate outside of that context.

“I regret that these exchanges occurred, but at no point did I believe or comprehend that Rafa was in distress.” If I had believed this, I would have stopped immediately.

“He was my best friend in cricket, and I loved him deeply. Rafa has never been said to have been reduced to tears.

Rafiq hit back this morning, claiming it was well known he would cry every time he was called a ‘P***’.

He tweeted: ‘Everyone. There were many people who watched me cry every time I socialized but they weren’t contacted.

“Lots to unravel” and I really wanted to avoid getting into personal things. However, as I stated all along, if “racism” is tried to be downplayed with personal stuff I will respond.

Full statement by Gary Ballance on Rafiq affair:

“My family is deeply saddened by the allegations made against me in the press, and the misleading and selective reporting of the last few weeks. Azeem wasn’t just a friend of mine, he was also a close friend and supporter of cricket.

“Throughout this process, I have cooperated in the independent investigation and have been completely transparent with the club as well as the investigators at every stage. The media has published information and allegations that I believe give a false impression of the evidence heard during the investigation. Although I didn’t intend to make any public statements, the media reports and journalists who visited my house made it clear that I felt obliged to respond.

To be clear, I regret some of my language choices in my younger years. After hearing all the evidence, the independent inquiry concluded that some of those words were used in a friendly verbal assault between friends. It was not intended to offend, hurt, or cause any malice.

“Given my close relationship with Rafa over many years, I am sad that this has happened. Rafa and me started playing for Yorkshire around the same time, and we quickly formed a very close relationship. He encouraged me play club cricket for Barnsley CC, which was what I did. We also went on many tours together, both with England Performance Programme and Yorkshire, and we always supported and cheered each other on the pitch. We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed drinking together.

“On the pitch, we supported one another greatly. Both of us captained Yorkshire at times, and we supported one another when we took on these roles. Rafa was always a great supporter of mine. He was always there for my in the highs as well as the lows of my career with Yorkshire. I was there for him when he was first released from Yorkshire. I was thrilled when he got a new contract and a second spell at the club. He was happy for me when I was selected to represent England. I was also delighted to receive his supportive messages throughout my time in England. He was always there to support me during difficult times in my career and I am forever grateful to him.

“Because they were such good friends and spent a lot more time together drinking and on nights to party, we both said things privately which were not okay. According to the independent inquiry, I have admitted that I used a racial insult and that I regret it. I don’t want to discredit Rafa by repeating his statements about me, but I must be clear that this was an instance where best friends said offensive words to each other that would be considered inappropriate outside of that context.

“I regret that these exchanges occurred, but at no point did I believe or comprehend that Rafa was in distress.” If I had believed this, I would have stopped immediately. He was my best friend in cricket and I loved him deeply. Rafa has never been accused of being reduced to tears, according to my knowledge.

“That does not mean that the information passed between us was correct or appropriate. It was not. Rafa made comments to me that were unacceptable and I repeated the same thing with Rafa. Rafa was not offended or I said anything maliciously.

‘Rafa, my friend, and I remained close friends during the time we exchanged these inappropriate comments. One winter, Rafa and his coach, who was a bowler, were suggested by me to travel to Zimbabwe with my family. He spent his time in Zimbabwe with my family, and he also visited my parents and brothers. He would become close friends with his brother and they remained together while my brother was in England. Rafa was always grateful for the love and support he received from his family and he often expressed it to me. I was honored to be invited to his Pakistani wedding, which I unfortunately could not attend.

“I am conscious of how hurtful this racial slur can be and I regret that it was used in immature conversations in my younger years. I’m sure Rafa feels the exact same about some of his comments to me.

‘My intention was to be truthful and cooperate with the independent investigation throughout this whole process. I feel it is right that my position be made public in light of recent media reports.

“I will not make any further statements on this matter.”