The Yorkshire cricketer accused of calling Azeem Rafiq a ‘P**i’ is believed to be former England star Gary Ballance, sources have told MailOnline.

Mr Ballance, 31, was also accused by Mr Rafiq of telling other people ‘don’t talk to him (Rafiq), he’s a P**i, asking ‘is that your uncle?’ when bearded Asian men were in view and saying in reference to corner shops: ‘Does your Dad own those?’ 

MailOnline has reached out to the cricketer and he has not yet responded.

His wife Alex said he was not at home this afternoon and declined to comment.

Yorkshire Cricket Club is today being urged to sack him amid allegations he repeatedly abused Mr Rafiq and reduced him to tears for calling him ‘p*ki’. 

But last year’s inquiry into Azeem Rafiq’s accusations of alleged institutional racism at Yorkshire cleared a player they declined to name after concluding that regular use of the term ‘P**i’ came during ‘banter’ between the pair.  

Yorkshire reiterated their position that they would not take any disciplinary action following Rafiq’s allegations last week. 

According to reports, Rafiq made a reference to Mr Ballance, a former team-mate, in a racist, derogatory way. The panel also stated that Rafiq would have been disciplined if he was still at Yorkshire.

The cricketer has not been named by the club, but his name was widely spread on social media 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 Yorkshire cricketer accused of calling Azeem Rafiq a ‘p*ki’ is believed to be former England star Gary Ballance, MailOnline can exclusively reveal today

Mr Rafiq accused allies of the Yorkshire Cricket Club and the player he says repeatedly called him a 'P*ki' of mounting a smear campaign against him as sponsors began to desert the club

Mr Rafiq accused allies of the Yorkshire Cricket Club and the player he says repeatedly called him a ‘P*ki’ of mounting a smear campaign against him as sponsors began to desert the club

According to ESPNcricinfo, Yorkshire’s report — passed to the ECB for further investigation but never released — cleared Mr Ballance of wrongdoing as it was perceived the comments were made in a friendly, good-natured manner. 

The ex-England under 19 captain was not offended by the comments made by the other player at the time, or later. He was even seen crying.

They said that Rafiq might be ‘expected’ to respond to such comments in a context of ‘banter with friends’.  

A club statement stated that the club had conducted an internal investigation and found no misconduct or actions by current employees, players, or executives that would warrant disciplinary action. 

“We acknowledge that we have to work hard to restore trust with those who feel letdown.

“There is much that the club can learn about the independent report, and we are committed incorporating the panel’s recommendations into our diversity & inclusion plans.” 

Mr Rafiq accused allies of the Yorkshire Cricket Club and the player he says repeatedly called him a ‘P*ki’ of mounting a smear campaign against him as sponsors threatened to desert the club. 

Yorkshire have lost one of their main commercial partners over the club’s handling of the Azeem Rafiq race row

Chairman Roger Hutton is under pressure to resign and will now face Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee over the club's farcical handling of Rafiq's complaints

Yorkshire have lost one of their main commercial partners over the club’s handling of the Azeem Rafiq (left) race row. Roger Hutton, chairman, will now face Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport panel over the club’s shambolic handling of Rafiq’s claims.

Gary Ballance: The Zimbabwean-born, Harrow-educated English batsman at centre of the Yorkshire CCC racism scandal

Born in Zimbabwe, where his parents were tobacco farmers, Gary Ballance moved to England during his school years.

He was educated in Zimbabwe at two boarding school, and was part of the youth cricket set-up. He moved to England in 2006 after having been educated in England. 

He attended the prestigious Harrow School. There he was a cricket team mate with current Glamorgan star Sam Northeast.

The young batsman, who played for Harrow, showed his cricketing talent by scoring a century against Eton College at Lord’s.

He signed for Derbyshire during the 2006 season. He played exclusively in their second-XI. Wisden described him as a’real prospect.

After another season in the second team, he moved to Yorkshire where he signed an academy agreement that allowed him to start a university course at Leeds Metropolitan University.

He quit after a year.  

In 2008, he made his debut in Yorkshire as a player. He was also a roommate of Joe Root, the England captain.

He was a member of the Yorkshire first team in 2011, and impressed enough to be selected for the England Lions squad for the limited-overs tour to Australia in February 2013.   

He was the most prolific batsman in Division One in the 2013 season and debuted for England first XI against Ireland, in Dublin, in September 2013.

Ballance, a left-handed batsman, was not impressed and was caught behind without scoring a run. 

Despite this, he was selected to be part of the England team for the disastrous 2013-2014 Ashes series versus Australia, which England lost by 5-0.

Ballance was not selected for the fifth or final test. He scored 25 runs over two innings. 

Ballance’s life outside the pitch was in jeopardy while he was earning plaudits, especially at county-level.

He was seen looking sexy and topless in a nightclub, just hours after India defeated England in 2014. This was England’s ninth consecutive test match without a win.

Then 24, the batsman was carried out of the bar in Nottingham after telling incredulous fans: ‘I’m not a cricketer tonight. I’m just a drunken b*****d.’  

Ballance was still a force on the pitch, though. England’s third fastest cricketer, Ballance reached 1000 Test runs in just ten Tests.

He averaged 67.93 at the time, with four hundred and five fifties.   

However, things changed quickly at the end 2015 with Ballance’s difficult tour against New Zealand.

He is the only player who has finished among the top six run-scorers of the County Championship’s top flight in each of its three seasons. 

The ex-england under-19 captain also criticised’silence’ from British Asian and Pakistani communites that he believes should support him. He declared: “Even now people trying discredit me behind closed doors.” 

Mr Rafiq demanded Yorkshire break their silence and release the name his former team-mate in an uncensored copy of their investigation into the allegations of racism and bullying he made while playing for the team.  

He tweeted: “Even now people!” [are]They are trying to discredit my behind-the scenes. Guess who they are from my community. It hurts every day! I won’t be afraid of any legal actions or comments you make about me. You all tried to end me. Still here & fighting’.

He said, “When investigating racism, transparency is essential, not only to let people know what happened but also so that we can learn from it.”

The former England under-19 captain is to be given the chance to name the Yorkshire Cricket Club teammate who repeatedly called him a ‘P*ki’ as sponsors threatened to leave the club over its ‘repellent and disturbing’ handling of the race row, it was revealed today.

MPs from the the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee have invited Mr Rafiq to give evidence in a Westminster showdown with his former bosses on November 16 where he will be able to use Parliamentary Privilege to identify his former team-mate. 

Britain’s most successful country team is under increasing political pressure. MPs summoned Roger Hutton, chairman of the DCMS hearing with Mr Rafiq, to testify before them. Martyn Moxion, Yorkshire’s director, cricket, is expected to testify. 

The former England U19 and Yorkshire captain is suing Yorkshire CCC for damages under the Equal Equality Act after reportedly turning down £100,000 from the club if he signed a non-disclosure agreement. Although the club offered him a full apology, it insists that no other employees will be subject to any further action.

Today Yorkshire’s sponsor Anchor butter, owned by dairy giant Arla, walked away from the club with Tetley’s brewery and Emerald Publishing demanding answers following the revelation that the club took no disciplinary action against a current player who regularly called Rafiq a ‘P***’, according to the independent report commissioned by the county into the former spinner’s racism allegations.   

Although the abuse occurred before he left the club in 2018, Mr Rafiq made public his feelings of suicidal despair after Yorkshire CC refused the full report into his claims that he was ‘the victims of racial harassment and bullying’ over his eight years at it. 

Last week, the report was leaked. ESPNcricinfo who reported on Yorkshire’s decision to brand the ‘P*ki’ comments as ‘banter’ and not discipline the cricketer who used it.

DCMS committee chairman Julian Knight said: ‘Why has anyone who ever used the ‘p word’ still in their job?”I struggle to see why the board should be kept in post, given the endemic racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. This is one the most troubling and repellent episodes of modern cricket history’. 

Yesterday Health Secretary Sajid Javid called for the board to resign yesterday as he tweeted: ‘P*** is not banter. Yorkshire CCC needs to be heard. If the ECB fails to take action, it’s not up to its task. Boris Johnson’s spokesperson then asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to ‘investigate it thoroughly and quickly’ and take action when necessary’.

Today Sportsmail can reveal that Yorkshire has already lost one of their main commercial partners and several other sponsors are demanding answers.

Arla Foods (the Danish food company that makes Anchor) said that they will no longer sponsor the county’s 50-over teams. Tetley’s brewery and Emerald Publishing, however, are still in contact with Yorkshire to discuss their involvement.

Anchor’s decision to walk away will increase the pressure on Yorkshire’s other sponsors to act following the revelation by ESPNcricinfo that the club took no disciplinary action against a current player who regularly called Rafiq a ‘P***’ according to the independent report commissioned by the county into the former spinner’s racism allegations. 

Headingley’s title sponsor is Emerald since 2017. Support for Tetley’s Leeds-based brewery goes back decades.

“We are dismayed at the conclusion of an impartial panel that Azeem Rafiq suffered racial harassments and bullying during his time with the club,” read an Emerald statement. 

Britain has been horrified by the way Yorkshire handled the case, with bosses being accused of trying to sweep racism underthe carpet.

Rafiq spoke out about the decision to not take any action following Thursday’s announcement.

“It is not possible that there are currently employees who should not be disciplined. It is time that board members — for once — did the decent thing and resigned.’

The September 10 redacted report stated that the panel didn’t consider Rafiq’s evidence to be credible. Rafiq and the participant engaged in friendly verbal attacks towards one another, and neither was malicious to the other’.

Rafiq’s shocking account of his time at the club was first revealed more than a decade ago. However, recent developments caught the attention of senior Westminster figures with Javid’s strong-worded intervention after the announcement that Roger Hutton, the Yorkshire chairman, would be called before the parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Yorkshire had previously requested an independent report that determined that Rafiq was the victim of racism and bullying. Rafiq played in two matches for his county between 2008 and 2018. Although the club offered an apology, it stated that no further action would be taken against any of its employees.

ESPNcricinfo this week published alleged details of the report, including a senior player’s admission that he had repeatedly used the word ‘P***’ in reference to Rafiq, which was subsequently deemed to be ‘in the spirit of friendly banter’.

Javid, the first British Pakistani to head a government department in 2014, posted on Twitter: ‘P***’ is not banter. Yorkshire CCC needs heads to roll. @ECB-cricket won’t act if it doesn’t.

These words are a direct challenge to the game’s governing bodies, who have only recently received a complete copy of Rafiq’s report as part of their own ‘thorough’ investigation.

A spokesperson for No. 10 responded to Javid’s comments by saying: “These are very serious accusations which have clearly had an extremely significant impact on Azeem Rahiq. It’s important that they’re investigated thoroughly and promptly.

“We urge them to examine this with the greatest scrutiny and take action if necessary. Such language should never be used in any context.

Asked whether the word ‘P***’ could ever be used as ‘banter’, the spokesman added: ‘No, this is racist language and should not be used in any context whatsoever.’

The ECB issued a statement in which it apologized for the situation and acknowledged the impact on Rafiq’s well-being and the family.

The ECB stated that it would conduct a complete regulatory process that is fair for all parties and ensure that it happens as quickly as possible.

It comes after Azeem Rafiq (pictured playing for Yorkshire in 2016) claimed he experienced racism during his stint at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club

It comes after Azeem Rasiq (pictured playing in Yorkshire in 2016) claimed that he was subject to racism while working at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

A spokesperson for Arla Foods, the Danish food company who produce Anchor Butter, told Sportsmail that they will not renew their sponsorship of the county’s 50-over team

Sportsmail was told by a spokesperson from Arla Foods, a Danish food company that makes Anchor Butter, that they would no longer sponsor the county’s 50-over teams. 

“To achieve that, we have secured the services a QC and other external investigatory support in order to increase our resource. The ECB board has also reaffirmed their commitment to providing additional resources if necessary.

Hutton will now be preparing for evidence to the DCMS select panel – a session that could yield previously unpublished revelations, as it will be covered under parliamentary privilege.

Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS committee, demanded that members of Yorkshire’s board resign over what he called ‘endemic racism at the club’. 

He stated that YCCC should be more transparent – it’s time for them to address their critics. We plan to call the chair of the club in front of the DCMS Committee to get a more complete explanation than what we have received so far.

Nadine Dorries was secretary of state for DCMS. She posted: ‘Azeem Rasiq’s treatment following the racism he faced is disgusting. The investigation that followed only makes things worse. The @ECB Cricket investigation should be swift and transparent. Racism must not be dismissed as ‘banter’.

Julian Knight, the chairman of the select committee, said in a statement: 'This is extremely concerning and it's clear that Yorkshire County Cricket Club has questions to answer.'

Julian Knight, the chairman, stated in a statement, “This is extremely concerning, and it’s evident that Yorkshire County Cricket Club still has questions to answer.”

PA reached out to Yorkshire for comment, while Rafiq, the man at the heart of the matter, tweeted his response.

‘Over the last 14 months I have told both @PCA and @ECB-cricket that someone needs to show leadership & take this out of @YorkshireCCC hands. I was not believed, and no one listened. Everyone tried to protect themselves and left me to fight alone. TIME FOR ALL THE TRUTH,” he wrote.

According to the Professional Cricketers Association, the PA news agency received the full report.

Anti-racism group HOPE not Hate has also been influenced by Rafiq’s story. Its chief executive Nick Lowles told PA that in 2021, he expects racism and intolerance will be treated seriously. We cannot allow institutions to ignore these issues. We all have a role to play in refusing racial intolerance to be addressed and standing up against those who do not tackle racism.

‘Azeem Rafiq deserves justice. As with all sports, cricket unites people from many backgrounds. However, when institutions fail to protect and safeguard players from abuse, this can lead to a breakdown of the unity principle.

Commercially, Yorkshire is also feeling the pinch. Anchor, the sponsor of the county’s Royal London Cup kit, announced that it was ending its support. A tweet read: ‘There is no place or excuse for racism. We have stopped supporting YCCC.

The Emerald publishing company, which is the primary sponsor of the county and has the naming rights at Headingley Stadium’s stadium, has described its ‘dismay’ at recent reports. It expects further action.

PA received this statement: “We take any form of discriminatory or racist behavior seriously and expect all our partners in upholding our values.”

“As Headingley’s sponsors, we are shocked by the conclusion reached by an independent panel that Azeem Rasiq suffered racial harassment, bullying, and intimidation during his time at the club.

“While the club has offered its sincere apology and has made many positive changes in the intervening decades, there is clearly still much more to be done.”