|Full name||Azeem Rafiq|
27 February 1991 |
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
|Batting style||Right-hand batsman|
|Bowling style||Right-arm off break|
|Domestic team information|
|2008–2014||Yorkshire (squad no. 30)|
|2011||→ Derbyshire (on loan)|
|FC debut||6 June 2009 Yorkshire v Sussex|
|LA debut||30 August 2009 Yorkshire v Sussex|
|Source: CricketArchive, 16 July 2016|
Azeem Rafiq (Urdu: عظیم رفیق; born 27 February 1991) is an English cricketer. A right arm off-spin bowler with a scholarship to Yorkshire, Azeem was a short-term loan signing of Derbyshire in the 2011 season. Azeem was also captain of the England Under-15s and Under-19s, and the first Yorkshire cricket player of an Asian background to captain an England cricket side at any level. His use of a successful doosra delivery against Michael Vaughan during a nets session at Headingley drew attention of England bowling coach David Parsons, and ear marked Azeem as a possible future England bowler. Azeem was also the recipient of a Sport England award in 2006.
Azeem Rafiq attended Holgate School near his home of Barnsley, and played cricket for Barnsley Cricket Club. He was called up for the England Under-15s, which he captained, and played for Yorkshire Cricket Club's academy team, where he was named as 'Junior Performer of the Year'. At two One Day Internationals at Loughborough University against Scotland where England's spinners took 17 of the 20 wickets, Azeem took 1-5 and 2-14. Azeem has also had success as a right-handed batsman, scoring 59 against Barbados U16 again while captaining the England U15s. The team coach, John Wake, stated:
There were some wonderful individual performances, especially from the batsmen and the spin bowlers, which all bodes well for the future of England’s long-term cricket future.
Of Rafiq's England prospects, David Parsons remarked that "he's a decent bowler for a 16-year-old and is generally quite an orthodox bowler....there's no doubt he's an exciting prospect and a genuine all-rounder - not one of these bowlers seeking to improve his batting". As well as from Parsons, Azeem has received coaching and advice from Saqlain Mushtaq, a former Pakistani spin bowler.
On 7 July 2008, the proposed Twenty20 match between Yorkshire and Durham was postponed due to Yorkshire fielding Rafiq during a Twenty-20 game against Nottinghamshire in the previous round. The controversy surrounded the registering of Azeem Rafiq, who was not registered with the ECB as a full-time player for Yorkshire. As a result the ECB excluded Yorkshire from the 2008 competition and awarded the match points to Nottinghamshire, which would have meant they went through to the quarter final to play Durham. However at an appeal with the ECB, heard on 14 July 2008, Yorkshire were handed a reduced punishment. The result of the match stood, but Yorkshire's two points earned were deducted. This meant that neither Nottinghamshire nor Yorkshire went through, instead Glamorgan progressed to the quarter finals.
Rafiq was a recipient of a Brian Johnston Memorial Trust Scholarship to give young cricketers financial support, and was awarded the Yorkshire CCC Academy Player of the Year in 2008. Rafiq was captain for the England U-19 squad in the 2010 World Cup, but was dropped for the second England Under-19 Test against Sri Lanka for breaking mid-match curfews; he responded by publishing a strongly worded attack against coach John Abrahams on his Twitter account, deleting them once he realised they were made public. On 26 July 2010, he was given a one month ban from all cricket by the ECB.
In June 2012, Rafiq captained Yorkshire in a Twenty20 match against Durham becoming the youngest captain in the county's history.
- "Azeem Rafiq: academy: players: 2008 season". YorkshireCCC.com. Archived from the original on 28 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- Oliver Brett (26 June 2007). "Barnsley's teenage spin sensation". BBC Online. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- "Azeem Rafiq | England Cricket | Cricket Players and Officials". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- South Yorkshire Sports Partnership. Impact Report 2007 available here  retrieved 27 June 2007
- ECB News England spinners wreak havoc against Scotland retrieved 27 June 2007
- Sussex Cricket Sussex Under 15s player Machan helps clinch England win retrieved 27 June 2007
- News about former Johneers scholars, www.johnners.co.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- Andrew Strauss warns players about using social media, 29 July 2010, BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- "Twitter tirade lands Azeem Rafiq one-month ECB ban". BBC News. 4 August 2010. Archived from the original on 4 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-04.