Majid Haq feels rare optimism about the future of Scottish cricket

Former Scotland international Majid Haq is rarely optimistic about the future of his sport following the appointment of Anjan Luthra as chairman of Cricket Scotland.

Luthra is the first person appointed to the board since the mass layoffs that preceded the release in July of a damning report on racism at the organization.

Public comments from Haq and former Scotland team-mate Qasim Sheikh had prompted the independent review, which uncovered 448 instances of institutional racism.

The two former players met with interim chief executive Gordon Arthur on Friday to express concerns that progress on governing body reform had been too slow.

A positive meeting followed and both were particularly pleased about the new appointment.

Luthra is a former Scotland youth international of both tennis and cricket who qualified as a chartered account and has worked in venture capital. He now runs the London-based global media company RAMP, which he founded himself.

He is also a former Haq Ferguslie team-mate, who told the PA news agency: ‘This is one of the first days I’ve been quite positive about Scottish cricket in a long, long time. I hope he can carry that hope on in the years to come and I’m pretty confident he can.

“He is young, very ambitious and has already achieved a lot in his life. He comes from a good family, has good morals, is extremely competitive and wants the best.

“He will strive for the top and we need that in Scottish cricket because there is a lot of potential there.”

Luthra previously stated that he was honored to be appointed.

He added on Twitter: “I was deeply upset by what the victims went through. It’s not acceptable. There are huge fundamental problems to solve. I will work tirelessly to rebuild the organization. Excited for an ambitious future.”

Attorney Aamer Anwar also attended the meeting and raised concerns that victims of racism would have to repeat the often traumatic process of taking evidence to the independent groups investigating the 68 complaints originally filed with the report’s authors.

“We have raised significant concerns about the robustness of the investigation being conducted, they must have access to all of Plan4Sport’s evidence,” he said.

“Importantly, Gordon has pointed out that Plan4Sport is still taking complaints and the door remains open.”

Anwar welcomed the plans to set up a body on conduct in sport, calling it “an important step in ensuring consistency in discipline, equality and eliminating the old boys’ network”.

But he added: “It is clear that Cricket Scotland remains hugely underfunded and it is up to Sportscotland to realize that the massive hole in cricket funding needs to be closed if the promises that given to victims of racism will not be betrayed.”

Haq will continue to push for change.

“They need funding and a little bit of help, but they also need to use their resources a lot better than they have in the past and just really expand,” he said.

“Obviously it’s been a tough few months for them, but it’s also been a tough few months for us. We’re looking for cricket in Scotland to succeed, we’ll be watching them at the World Cup.

“After the investigation, we could have left it there, but we’re still fighting. We want the best for the next generation that comes forward.”

Sheikh added that they had received assurances from Arthur.

He added: “We have spoken about how, as much as this is a dark moment, this could be a great opportunity to lead the way in Scottish sport when it comes to institutional racism.

“Another reason why I am happy about the appointment of Anjan, he has a good business sense, has good contacts. There is an opportunity to contact other firms and companies that might be interested in investing.

“The Scottish women’s team has no contract players. There must be resources to support equality in this area as well.”

Arthur described it as a “really constructive meeting”.

He added: “Progress is being made in Cricket Scotland but there is still work to be done and we are really committed to working with Running Out Racism, with Aamer, Qasim and Majid and everyone else to ensure it is a welcome sport for all and is a robust and leading governing body for sport in Scotland.” Majid Haq feels rare optimism about the future of Scottish cricket

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