“I was made to feel more like a slave”
Qasim Sheikh has admitted his experiences of racism within Scottish cricket have made him “feel more like a slave”.
An independent report has found overwhelming evidence of institutional racism at Cricket Scotland.
The organization will be placed in special measures by sportscotland, the national sports agency, after the discovery of 448 cases of institutional racism.
Consultancy firm Plan4Sport was commissioned by sportscotland in December after former Scotland players Majid Haq and Sheikh made allegations of racism following revelations about Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Sheikh, who has represented his country 27 times, told talkSPORT: “I went to South Africa to compete in the World Cup qualifiers, something I worked very hard for, and I practically carried drinks throughout the tour.
“I was made to feel more like a slave. More of a token gesture there.
“I went to the 2017 World Cup and said that if we played in the preparation matches, we would have the possibility of playing in the main matches.
“I played in the warm-up against Zimbabwe and the first game of the World Cup was against Pakistan in South Africa and I was so hopeful, and many people in the team told me that I would play, but I haven’t played.
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“It didn’t just happen to me. If you go through all the World Cups that Scotland have been to, there will be a story of a South Asian player in that World Cup which is a sad story. .
“I now look at the white counterparts who have played 100 times, I don’t think some of them have had one or two hundred in their 100 games.”
Sheikh also revealed how Azeem Rafiq, who helped expose Yorkshire’s shocking culture of racism, was an inspiration to speak out on the issue.
He said: “Azeem has become a very close friend of mine. I didn’t know him very well personally before he spoke.
“I got in touch with him about a day after he spoke. I have developed a friendship with him over the past two years.
“Everything he went through, I felt I had to see it all because of everything he went through.
“He is a hero to many, a role model to many, and the courage he has shown and continues to show is quite remarkable.
“He was a driving force and he’s the reason we’re having this conversation in Scotland. I don’t think the conversation would have even happened without Azeem Rafiq.
“We’ve raised issues in the past and we’ve just been ignored and thrown into the wilderness.
“I thank Azeem Rafiq because he has made a difference for future generations, not just in cricket in Yorkshire, but all of England I hope and as far as Scotland as well.”
Sheikh said his time as an international cricketer was over and that was no reason to talk about it.
He gave huge credit for handling the independent report, which spoke to more than 1,000 people.
The 37-year-old added: “Myself and Majid spoke out on this issue six months ago. The review has been completed. It’s a bittersweet moment.
“I hope this will lead to a bright future for current and future generations.
“My day is over. I will not play for Scotland tomorrow, it was not my driving force.
“My driving force is to see all people from all walks of life having an opportunity in the game of cricket.”
He continues: “I was skeptical at first. There were a lot of things that got swept under the rug.
“I can’t fault their work. I knew what the issues were, as did Majid, they investigated thoroughly, showed compassion to the victims.
“They spoke to everyone involved in Scottish cricket before reporting their findings. There was not much light in this report, it was rather dark.