Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi says respecting the views of everyone was his key takeout from the recent culture camp held in Skukuza.
An extended 32-man, High Performance squad featuring nationally contracted players and the South Africa A team, as well as players who have been identified as in the plans for the near future, concluded on 22 August.
An updated values system that held Respect, Empathy and Belonging were highlighted as the prevailing top pillars from the gathering.
“I think for me, the biggest thing was that as a group we realised that there’s a lot of strength in being able to communicate, rather than just sitting and assuming,” Shamsi said. “Once we air out our views and understand things from the other persons perspective, then things become a lot clearer and a lot easier for us to understand where people are coming from, where their hurt is coming from, where their happiness is coming from.
“Overall, that was the biggest thing that I took away. Instead of making comments without understanding where the next person is coming from, it’s better to just sit back and listen to what their viewpoint is and then come up to a conclusion yourself.”
The race debate and grievances from former players over discrimination have been making headlines over the past month. Shamsi acknowledged that what happened to those players cannot be ignored.
“I think it was very important for us as a group to have a discussion regarding racism and race,” he explained. “Because as hard as it is to speak about things like that, the fact is that it’s a big part of South Africa due to our history. We were divided in the past and it’s important for us as a group to speak about those things.
“In the Proteas environment, I’ve never personally experienced any racism. The past players have spoken about it and how things were not equal and stuff like that. I think even the players that did make it, had to go through some hurdles that they shouldn’t have had to experience if there was a level playing field.
“That’s the biggest thing that we need to acknowledge and understand. We need to ensure that kind of stuff is not tolerated and taken away from the system. As a group of players, we need to create that bubble and ensure it doesn’t happen.
“We need to understand that we are one and we are going out there to fight as a team, to fight for each other and to fight for our country. We must understand where we’re coming from.”
The 30-year-old, who has 49 wickets in 46 matches across all formats for the Proteas, is also optimistic about the future of the South Africa despite the team currently going through change following a spate of senior retirements.
The likes of JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn all retired in the recent past, but Shamsi feels the young players coming through have the ability to step up.
“We always want to improve and get better,” he added. “We’re in a unique position at the moment where most of our senior players retired in a big clump and experience is something you can’t buy.
“It leaves a massive gap yes, there aren’t natural successors to some of these players, but the way I look at it is that we’re a young group with many players that can step in.
“I am a positive person and this leaves us in a unique position. We’re now an unknown package and because there are so many new players, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We all know each other having played against each other in domestic cricket for so long so I think we can look forward to a bright future.”
Proteas team culture camp squad:
Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Beuran Hendricks (Imperial Lions), Bjorn Fortuin (Imperial Lions), Daryn Dupavillon (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Dean Elgar (Momentum Multiply Titans), Dwaine Pretorius (Imperial Lions), George Linde (Cape Cobras), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors), Junior Dala (Momentum Multiply Titans), Kagiso Rabada (Imperial Lions), Keegan Petersen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Kyle Verryenne (Cape Cobras), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Lutho Sipamla (Imperial Lions), Pieter Malan (Cape Cobras), Pite Van Biljon (VKB Knights), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Imperial Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Imperial Lions), Rudi Second (Warriors), Senuran Muthusamy (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Sisanda Magala (Imperial Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Temba Bavuma (Imperial Lions), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Theunis de Bruyn (Momentum Multiply Titans).
Faf du Plessis was unable to join the team due to the birth of his second daughter.