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Ashar Zaidi demands apology for racist behaviour

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Jannatul Naym Pieal

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Former Sussex cricketer Ashar Zaidi, who is now playing for Mashrafe Bin Mortaza-led Comilla Victorians in the ongoing third season of the BRB Cables Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), has recently demanded an apology from Craig Overton after it emerged the promising English seamer had told him “go back to your own fucking country” during a county match last season.

The 34-year-old all-rounder has been an integral of the Victorians in the BPL-3, having scored 199 runs alongside taking 16 wickets from 10 matches so far. His team Comilla will take the field for the BPL final tomorrow at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium against Barisal Bulls, who beat Rangpur Riders in the Qualifier-2 by 5 wickets on Sunday.

As first revealed by the Guardian, Overton, who came close to selection for England’s winter Test tour to South Africa, was reported to have made the remark to the Pakistan-born batsman by both the umpire Alex Wharf and the non-striking batsman Michael Yardy during Somerset’s four-day Division One match at Sussex in September.

Describing the incident, Zaidi, who did not hear the remark at the time, told the Telegraph: “When I heard what had happened [afterwards] I was fuming especially as that guy didn’t have the decency to come and apologise. At the next day’s play he didn’t look me in the eye and didn’t warm up with the rest of his team. He owes me an apology. I’ve played all over England and never experienced such racist behaviour. I’m not in a position to say if he was treated leniently, but I was very surprised. What he said was too much. It was surprising also as he played alongside Abdur Rehman at Somerset.”

In the meantime, Jason Gillespie, the head coach of Yorkshire and also the former Australia pacer told the Guardian: “As a club we are not commenting but speaking personally, I would be surprised if the ECB didn’t look into this a bit further.”

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