Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has expressed confidence that the club’s suspension from hosting England matches will be lifted in time for this summer.
Lord Patel also said failure to lift the ban would create a “huge financial crisis”.
The England and Wales Cricket Council last November withdrew the right for international matches to take place at Headingley – which was awarded a test match against New Zealand in June and an international match in June. ‘a day against South Africa in July – following Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism in Yorkshire.
Former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq, writing in the Daily Mail, has said he wants to see England play on ground this summer.
Lord Patel, who said he was “so encouraged” to see Rafiq’s comments, told the BBC: “My only goal, besides dealing with all the issues we face, is to make sure that the international matches come back here as soon as possible, because everything rests on that for our future.
When asked how confident he was that it would be achieved by this summer, he said: “24/7, myself and a number of people here are just working to meet the demands. criteria that we have set and I am very confident that we will meet the criteria that have been set for us and, I hope, well beyond as well.
“There is no other option in my head – I have to have hope and I have to be more than hope, I have to be very confident.”
On Yorkshire failing to regain its international status, Lord Patel said: “There is no doubt it would be a huge financial crisis.”
Rafiq wrote in the Mail: “At first I thought international cricket should be taken away from them. But they’ve done enough to justify getting it back, at least for now.
“I want to see England play Headingley this summer. I can even go downstairs to look at myself.
“It has been a whirlwind since I appeared before MPs almost two months ago, and what Yorkshire and Lord Patel have done to bring about the change is certainly a step in the right direction.
“If we ask an institution to look at itself, then we have to recognize when it starts to show that it’s really sorry and tries to start fixing things. Yorkshire needs to be supported and helped to move in the right direction.
“The last thing I want now is the kids from Leeds, Bradford and across the county being denied the top level cricket that could inspire them.”
Rafiq gave powerful testimony on November 16 to the all-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, which is due to release its report on the matter on Friday.
Lord Patel – the face of a new Yorkshire regime after a mass cleanup in the county, with mass departures to boardroom and coaching staff – said of the report: ‘If it weren’t for not painful for the club, I would be surprised, because what happened here was unforgivable and unacceptable.
“So it will be painful for the club, but for me, I can’t wait. It was eight weeks ago when I got here, and where are we now? I am hopeful that I know where we are now.