The “drinking culture” in county teams was partly responsible for Asian and Black players not getting enough opportunities in English cricket, former West Indies international Tino Best has said. Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday has thrown a spotlight on racism in the sport in England, as well as its drinking culture. Rafiq, a Muslim, recalled how he was pinned down at his local cricket club when he was 15 and had red wine poured down his throat by an unnamed player who played for Yorkshire and Hampshire. The scandal has shaken English sport, cost Yorkshire sponsors and the right to host England internationals, seen the club’s top brass quit, and embroiled some of the biggest names in English cricket. Ex-UK cricketer says racism in game drove him to contemplate suicide Best, who played with the Pakistan-born Rafiq at Yorkshire, told the BBC: “The culture around cricket is drinking. That is a big problem. People shouldn’t be pressured to go into the clubhouse and drink eight or nine pints to be a part of the team.” “If you’re not a part of the drinking culture, if you’re not a part of the boys’ club, you’re not going to get opportunities after cricket,” he said. “That is something that is hampering people of colour and Asian ethnicity.” Racism in football: South Asians feel brunt of discrimination in England’s lower leagues Best, 40, said he recalled how players with Asian heritage such as Rafiq, Adil Rashid and Ajmal Shahzad were treated at Yorkshire in 2010 and how they feared reprisals if they went public with their complaints. “Me being a person of colour as well, I would always be with them as well.” He said they would complain every day about what they went through. “I would be like, ‘wow’,” he said. “It was just astounding to hear what those guys were saying back in 2010. And there was no platform for them to really open up, because guys would have probably lost contracts, probably kicked out of the club. Guys were fearful of that.” On Wednesday, former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent revealed she had received hate mail with racist abuse where the sender had asked her to “leave our country”. Rainford-Brent, the first black woman to play for England when she made her debut in 2001 aged 17, shared an image of the handwritten letter on social media. It contained a number of expletives and asked the 37-year-old, “Who invited you to my country?” and described her as “illiterate, primitive” and being found “naked in Africa”. “Interesting … Born in South London but apparently I was found naked in Africa as a primitive. Had some letters in my time but this one (is) up there,” Rainford-Brent wrote on Twitter. Rainford-Brent, now a commentator, played for England for nine years and was awarded the MBE in the queen’s birthday honours list this year for her services to the sport and charity.