A statement from Azeem Rafiq

“It has been an extremely tough time for our family to endure over the last 14 months. My wife Faryal experienced a very trying and difficult pregnancy. As we approached the final few weeks of her pregnancy, things finally started to settle down, until I received a phone call from my father during our 50 over match against Warwickshire at Emerald Headingley confirming my worst fears and the devastating news that my unborn child had passed away prior to his birth.

“Throughout this traumatic time, my wife Faryal has been an absolute hero and I cannot thank my close family and friends enough for their love and support, it means so much to both of us. I feel like now is the right time to explain the reasons why I was unable to attend the ’s pre-season tour why I have played very limited cricket throughout the season. I have tried to give 100% whenever I have stepped on the field although I have found it difficult to maintain the usual standards of consistency that I set myself.

“Hopefully this addresses some of the comments or questions that I have received on social media this season regarding my situation and I am hopeful that by taking some time off with my family I will be able to return to cricket as soon as I am refreshed and equipped to get back to playing and training as normal. I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has reached out with messages of support during the season, it has been greatly appreciated by my wife and I.”

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