Cricket Scotland needs to improve its handling of racism in the game, insists Qasim Sheikh, who says he was discriminated against while representing his country.
The 37-year-old played for Scotland between 2005 and 2010, appearing in seven one-day internationals.
He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime that he was racially abused while playing as a teenager and that he and other players of Asian descent were often called “you lot” at camp in Scotland.
Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told a select committee in parliament on Tuesday that English cricket is “institutionally” racist and Sheikh shares some of those concerns.
“As someone who has played a lot of cricket in England and around the world, I can certainly relate to a lot of what Azeem Rafiq has said,” he said. “It is a pity that it has been delayed until 2021 for these issues to be aired.
“The biggest problem for me is acceptance and that these things are seen as jokes. Perpetrators of discrimination often do not realize the effect it can have on a person.
“In the last week or so, people have reached out to me and pointed out that they have denounced racism through cricket clubs in Scotland and often found that it has fallen on deaf ears. I think that’s what has to change here. “
Sheikh said he was racially abused while playing at the age of 15, but that his teammates backed him. He also insisted that “most” of the people he played with were very inclusive.
However, he revealed that there were incidents where he felt uncomfortable.
“In relation to the Scotland dressing room, it goes back to around 2010 when I and some other teammates who came from Asian descent, on quite a few occasions, we referred to as ‘you many,'” he said. said.
“I look back on that now and I don’t feel very comfortable. I don’t want him to refer to my children that way. I was born and raised in Glasgow. I have a Scottish mother, a Pakistani father and myself I am proud to be a Scottish Pakistani .
“Beyond that, there were never any other racial slurs. It needs to improve, but I don’t at all compare that situation at Cricket Scotland to what happened in Yorkshire. It’s a huge difference.”
In a statement to the BBC, Cricket Scotland said they believe the sport should “be a safe and welcoming environment for anyone who wishes to participate.”
They said they would not discuss individual cases but that they would be part of the Equality Action Plan they launched this week.
“An important part of that will be reaching out to all communities to understand their experiences of playing cricket in Scotland, both positive and negative, to better understand those experiences and inform our future actions,” they added.