Mohsin Arif, a former Glamorgan 2nd XI player, has opened up on the racism he experienced during his time in the game in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph.
As well as recounting a racist incident involving someone currently involved in the professional game, Arif accused Glamorgan of institutional racism. The Arif interview echoes sentiments made by Yorkshire off-spinner Azeem Rafiq in an interview with Wisden.com last month.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Arif told of when he received racist abuse during a game in 2005. “I was in the pavilion and I shouted out in Hindi just a couple of words [to an Indian teammate who was a student at Cardiff University]: ‘don’t try and hit it, just look for ones and twos,'” said Arif. According to Arif, an opposing player, who had a contract with Glamorgan at the time, fired back at Arif, saying: “Shut up you P***. Why are you speaking like that? Haven’t you got your corner shop to go to?” Arif did not report the incident to Glamorgan at the time.
Arif also accused Glamorgan of being institutionally racist during his time at the county. He added: “Yes. There was definitely not enough support there for Asians. Glamorgan didn’t give a damn about me.
“I never really felt comfortable, even though I’m Cardiff born and bred, and I never got the opportunities. If the coaches saw you [a non-white player] do something, they’d just let you carry on. But if they saw a kid of non-brown colour or non-coloured skin, they would be happy to talk to them, giving tips. There should have been more Asian coaches so they could understand that people’s backgrounds are different.”
Glamorgan released a statement responding to Arif’s claims. It read: “We are deeply concerned to learn of Mohsin’s experience within our game in Wales.
“Recent societal events have led us all to evaluate our roles in being inclusive and diverse and we all in cricket recognise the need to change our sport for the better. Cricket is not where it should be and we are obviously saddened that Mohsin’s experience confirms that.
For us, this begins on our own doorstep and we are actively taking steps to engage with diverse communities in Wales to make cricket more accessible, inclusive, and diverse for all.
“BAME-focused programmes such as ‘Beyond the Boundary’ aim to provide opportunities to play cricket, providing access to the cricket pathway and giving players across Wales the chance to achieve their potential. We also provide free tickets for Glamorgan matches to BAME communities to watch, follow and attend cricket.
“Over recent years it has also been very positive to see two British Asian, Cardiff-born players in the Glamorgan 1st XI, while the Glamorgan board is now represented by two British Asian members, giving the board a wider awareness and perspective.
Central to the future of cricket in Wales is our strategy ‘Inspiring Generations in Wales’, which has a vision of ‘cricket capturing the imagination of Wales.’
“A key part of this strategy is for cricket to become a game for everyone and a BAME working group, created to improve our insight and impact into traditionally harder-to-reach communities, are tasked in supporting our ambition to become a truly inclusive sport for everyone in Wales.
“Whilst we are proactive in our efforts to take the game of cricket out to a more diverse society, we know that we must do more, and we are open and listening to ways we can further improve.”