South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi said on Monday that he has never experienced personal racism, and respecting everyone’s opinion was his main takeaway from the recent culture camp in Skukuza. An expanded team of 32 members, including a High Performance team with nationally contracted players, the South African A team, and players identified as in the near future plans, were part of the culture camp. An updated value system involving respect, empathy and belonging were highlighted as the main pillars of the meeting.
“I think the most important thing for me was that as a group we realized that there is a lot of power in being able to communicate, rather than just sitting and taking it,” Shamsi said in an official release released by Cricket South Africa ( CSA). .
“Once we air our views and understand things from the perspective of the other, things become a lot clearer and a lot easier for us to understand where people come from, where their pain comes from, where their happiness comes from.
“In the Proteas environment, I have never personally experienced racism. The players from the past have talked about it and how things weren’t equal and things like that.
“I think even the players who made it had to go through some hurdles that they shouldn’t have experienced if there was a level playing field,” he added.
The spinner also said that racism and discrimination should not be tolerated and that the threat should be eradicated once and for all.
“That’s the most important thing we need to recognize and understand. We need to make sure that things like this are not tolerated and taken out of the system,” Shamsi said.
“As a group of players, we have to create that bubble and make sure it doesn’t happen.
“We have to understand that we are one and we go out to fight as a team, fight for each other and fight for our country. We have to understand where we come from,” he added.
The 30-year-old, who has 49 wickets in 46 games in all formats for the Proteas, is also optimistic about the future of South Africa, despite the team currently undergoing changes following a wave of senior retirements.
The likes of JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander have all retired in the recent past, but Shamsi thinks the young players who come through have the opportunity to step up.
“We always want to improve and get better,” he said. “We are currently in a unique position where most of our senior players have retired in a large group and experience is something you cannot buy.
“It leaves a huge gap, yes, there are no natural successors for some of these players, but the way I look at it is that we are a young group with a lot of players who can intervene.
“I am a positive person and this leaves us in a unique position. We are now an unknown package and with so many new players, that shouldn’t be a bad thing.”
“We all know each other because we’ve played against each other for so long in domestic cricket, so I think we can look forward to a bright future,” he said.
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