London, November 17: Former England head coach David Lloyd has apologised to Azeem Rafiq and the Asian cricketing community after being accused of making offensive comments last year.
Lloyd, who is a leading commentator for Sky Sports and is commonly known by his nickname 'Bumble', was implicated by Rafiq in Tuesday's parliamentary select committee hearing.
Rafiq, who was found to have suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, claimed Lloyd had made offensive remarks over text message to a third party.
Rafiq, who accused Yorkshire of being institutionally racist, used Lloyd's messages as an example of how widespread the issue has become.
"It's clear the problem is there. Everyone's known it for a very long time. I think it's been an open secret," Rafiq said.
"I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what's happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing.
"High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like, 'The clubhouses are the lifeblood of a club and Asian players don't go in there'; 'Getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone'.
"Personally this guy doesn't even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.
"That was David Lloyd, he's been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that's what I got sent to me."
Lloyd, 74, who also played for England, subsequently admitted making comments about Rafiq, and apologised for his actions in a post on his Twitter account.
The statement read: "In October 2020, I had a private message exchange with a third party involved in cricket, about a number of topics. In these messages, I referred to allegations about Azeem Rafiq which I had heard from within the game. I also made some comments about the Asian cricket community.
"I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused. I am strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport.
"It is very obvious now that more work needs to be done and I will do everything I can to remove discrimination from the sport I love, and the sport that has been my life for over 50 years."
In a statement on Tuesday, broadcaster Sky confirmed it would be investigating the comments attributed to Lloyd.