RACISM can take many different forms. Within the confines of Scottish cricket Paul Reddish believes it is best measured not by the number of racial slurs aimed at Asian or black players on a matchday but by what he believes is a lack of diversity among those filling key roles throughout the sport.

Azeem Rafiq’s brave decision to blow the whistle on his experiences at Yorkshire CCC has prompted those involved in the sport north of the border to also question whether more could be done to promote racial equality in this country.

Former Scotland players Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh’s claims about historic mistreatment got the ball rolling, prompting sportscotland to launch an investigation into racism in Scottish cricket that will begin in January. A report is expected to be published in July.

Reddish awaits that outcome with interest. A former Cricket Scotland director and the current chair of Edinburgh CC, the 40 year-old has been moved by Haq and Sheikh’s testimonies to contribute to Running Out Racism, a campaign that hopes to eradicate discrimination in Scottish cricket.

Reddish has been encouraged by sportscotland’s intentions but believes progress can only be measured by tangible changes, implemented sooner rather than later, rather than just words.

“It’s an interesting thing, racism in sport,” he says. “Because a lot of people think it’s racial slurs but it’s a lot more deep-rooted and subtle than that.

“I’ve been in and around Scottish cricket for the best part of two decades. And the vast majority of the issues centre on how the whole thing is set up, the lack of representation at decision-making levels and the fact that most of the committees are made up of the same sort of people.

“The playing base is not reflected in where the decisions are made. When that happens it leads to all sorts of challenges and that’s what we’re seeing.

“People have known about this for a long time but it’s just been quietly accepted by those affected that it’s harder if you’re Asian or black. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

“Institutional racism is when systems and processes are set up in a way that actively discriminates against particular groups  - but not intentionally. So I don’t think people in Scottish cricket have actively set out to repress Asian players but they have been anyway due to the structures in place.

“For example, you look at the photos of the men’s team at the recent World Cup. There are a couple of Asian players but you look at the support staff and coaches and there’s not a single non-white face anywhere. It’s the same down the age groups.

“Cricket Scotland has looked at inclusion and diversity but they’ve not looked at equality. Nobody within our campaign is looking for heads to roll. Far from it. But things need to change quickly. We’re not just up for scraps from the table and being slow-walked to progress.

“The review is set to be published in July but we hope work will start right away and not wait until then. We don’t need a review to tell us the entire sport lacks diversity at decision-making levels. We know that much already.”

Abtaha Maqsood, the Scotland bowler who came to prominence during The Hundred last summer, has tweeted her support of the Running Out Racism campaign but noticeably she is so far the only current international of either gender to do so.

Reddish, though, reveals that many more players have agreed to submit their experiences of racism to the investigators even if they are reluctant to do so publicly.

“Qasim and Majid have been the two speaking in the media about this but a lot of others have been involved behind the scenes,” adds Reddish. “Running Out Racism stands at about 30-strong at the moment.

“Some are allies, like me, but the vast majority of those involved have lived experiences of racism, either in cricket or in other areas.

“There are other former players who don’t want to come forward in the media but have experienced discrimination and there are examples at club, umpiring and administrative levels who have disclosed issues to us. So it’s absolutely not just related to two people.

“It was nice to have Abtaha back the campaign but if I'm being honest we’ve been a bit disappointed at how quiet a lot of other Scotland players have been.”

Reddish was a voluntary director of Cricket Scotland from 2016 and 2019 and admits that pursuing racial equality was secondary in his thoughts at that time to achieving gender parity. But the CEO of Volunteering UK believes the racism issue can no longer be ignored.

“I’m confident in the review given who they’ve appointed and there’s a wealth of equalities experience there. The issue with these things, though, is always what happens next. The review will uncover issues but too often the pace of change isn’t quick enough.

“Once the report has been published is when our campaign will come to life. It may be that we need to hold people’s feet to the fire to make sure change is delivered and we won’t shy away from doing that.”