Racism whistleblower Azeem Rafiq has issued an apology after it was revealed he had sent anti-Semitic messages to a fellow player more than a decade ago.

Former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq has won widespread praise for his resolve in highlighting the issue of racial discrimination in cricket and appeared before a parliamentary select committee this week to lift the lid on his own bitter experiences.

He pointed the finger at a number of high-profile individuals during his Westminster appearance, but on Thursday he was forced to confront his own past shortcomings when The Times uncovered an exchange with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid.

In it, Rafiq makes offensive remarks about an unidentified person.

Having reviewed the messages, Rafiq has confirmed they are authentic but that he is furious at his own actions.

“I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today.

"I have gone back to check my account and it is me – I have absolutely no excuses,” he said on Twitter.

“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence.

"I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.

"I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”

The development is likely to be a source of deep embarrassment to Rafiq, now 30.

Board of Deputies of British Jews president Marie Van Der Zyl said in a statement: “Azeem Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket so he will well understand the hurt this exchange will cause to Jews who have supported him.

“His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere.”

And Claudia Mendoza, co-chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said on Twitter: “There’s no doubt that this is massively awkward for Azeem Rafiq but he’s taken full ownership, apologised, and undoubtedly – through his own experiences – learnt a lot about racism since then.”

Rafiq this month settled an employment tribunal with Yorkshire but has vowed to stand alongside other victims of abuse and use his platform to become the “voice of the voiceless”.

Speaking to BBC Sport after his appearance in front of the parliamentary DCMS committee, he told victims of discrimination: “Whether anyone else stands by you or not, I’ll stand by you. Hopefully people will be believed and heard a lot more and people can take confidence from that.”

He also predicted that his case would lead to the “floodgates” opening.

  • In another development on Thursday, Jack Brooks was officially reprimanded by Somerset for historic use of racist language.

The veteran seamer was investigated by the club for offensive tweets dating back to 2012, the year he left Northamptonshire for Yorkshire, as well as his use of the name ‘Steve’ for his former White Rose team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara.

Brooks’ habit of not using Pujara’s given name against the India batter’s wishes was discussed by Azeem Rafiq during his testimony to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

Concluding their probe into Brooks’ past behaviour, Somerset said: “The club has decided to reprimand Jack, remind him of his responsibilities and require him to participate in extensive training on equality, diversity and inclusivity.”

Somerset praised Brooks for his co-operation and contrition on the matter but made it clear his prior conduct fell short of the required standards.

“The club have spoken with Jack at length about the nature and content of his comments. There is no doubt that these comments are unacceptable,” said a statement.

“Somerset CCC condemn the use of language which has any racist connotations. Jack agrees with this sentiment and is embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people and he has acknowledged that, whilst they were made nearly a decade ago when he was less mature, the content of the posts was wrong and not in accordance with his personal values.”

England bowler Tymal Mills, who was the recipient of an offensive tweet from Brooks, said he had accepted a personal apology and that the pair enjoyed a good relationship.

“Jack and I have spoken about it and I know how much he regrets having used the language he did,” said Mills.

“I believe it is right that both as a sport and as a society, we must go through a thorough process of reflection and introspection regarding the language we use towards each other and how we treat each other. Jack has apologised to me profusely and sincerely, which I have accepted, and I still consider him to be a good friend. I consider this matter to be closed and do not wish to comment on it any further.”

Somerset went on to reveal that Brooks and his partner had been sent “threatening posts on social media”, which have subsequently been reported to the authorities.