County news August 21, 2008

Azeem Rafiq available for Yorkshire

Cricinfo staff

Azeem Rafiq, the 17-year-old Yorkshire offspinner, who was at the centre of the club's elimination from the Twenty20 Cup when he was found to be ineligible, has been given special dispensation by the ECB to play first-team cricket for the rest of the season.

The Yorkshire Post reports that the board have allowed Rafiq to be available for Yorkshire while his application for British citizenship is processed. He recently completed the first stage and passed an ECB interview.

Rafiq, who has already captained England at Under-15 level, is not eligible for any representative cricket at national level until his application is completed, which Yorkshire hope will be in time for next season.

Rafiq was handed his Yorkshire debut for their Twenty20 group match against Nottinghamshire and bowled just two overs in the match. However, it later came to light that he hadn't completed the registration process and wasn't officially on Yorkshire's books.

This led to the last-minute cancellation of their quarter-final against Durham, at Chester-le-Street, which was less than half an hour from starting when the crowd was told it was off.

Initially Yorkshire were thrown out of the cup and Nottinghamshire handed their quarter-final place against Durham. However, that was overturned on appeal and instead the win points were taken away, but not given to Nottinghamshire, therefore allowing Glamorgan to face Durham.