London: Former England cricketer and opening batter Alex Hales has categorically denied all racial allegations levelled against him by Azeem Rafiq, stating that he has heard the allegations and refuted claims on any racial connotation in the naming of his dog ‘Kevin’.

The England opener, however, went on to add that he has huge sympathy for Rafiq in terms of the stance he has taken and what he has endured over the years.

Hales released a statement on Wednesday night, saying, “Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog.”

Earlier, Rafiq told a British Parliamentary committee that he believed Hales had named his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. Rafiq added that Hales used to usually call the Asian players “Kevin”, whatever their names may be.

In his statement, Hales said, “I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.”

“There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold.”

However, Yorkshire made no official comment on Wednesday but Rafiq said that Yorkshire cannot move forwards until head coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon have left the club.

Yorkshire head coach Gale, who is currently suspended pending an investigation and was accused of constant racial abuse by Rafiq, is reportedly set to be sacked.

However, Hales’ County side Nottinghamshire said in a statement that, following Tuesday’s testimony to the select committee, they had “commenced the appropriate internal process and will continue to liaise with Alex and his advisers accordingly.”

(With IANS Inputs)