Among the international teams, Australia is home to multiple iconic cricketing stadiums and matches. The iconic Boxing Day Test matches and the New Year Tests attract millions of viewers worldwide. As the country’s summer gets underway, the fans come in to cheer for their country. However, the Indian players have had to face racial abuse at some point in their time.
A social evil like racial abuse has no room in a sport like cricket. As we move towards friendly spirit amongst the players through popular T20 leagues, these abuses act as a severe blow to the relations between the boards. The vulgar fans abuse the players personally and this leaves a bad impression of a venue and a country on the visiting players’ minds.
Speaking of Cricket Australia, they have to launch an investigation into the recent complaints of racial abuses faced by Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. Playing in this pandemic season has never been easy and the players have sacrificed many things to represent their country in these difficult times. As the frontline Indian bowlers face racial abuse, it is time to open up the books to look into the past incidents when the visiting players had to face the heat.
Have a look at 5 times when Indian cricketers were racially abused:
5. Cheteshwar Pujara facing racial abuse during his Yorkshire Stint
Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the few batsmen who are solely dedicated to Test cricket. With an outstanding Test record, he is one of the premier Indian batsmen in the toughest format of the game. His sheer determination and patience are some of the factors that make him the most vital member of the Test squad. During the T20 season in India, Pujara looks to enhance his batting skills and therefore devotes his time to County Cricket.
Unfortunately, the English county side Yorkshire found itself in the center of racism issue as former international player Tino Best and Pakistan’s Rana Naved ul-Hasan opened up about the racism that persists in county cricket. According to them, the Englishmen called every colored person “Steve”. Even though many players have cited that they called Pujara as Steve because of pronunciation issues, the above statement opens up the harsh reality the players have to face.
Adding on, an off-spinner who left Yorkshire in 2018, stated that he had been close to committing suicide after what he had experienced. The overseas Asian players are bullied and targeted because of their race and identity. For a cricket-loving nation like England, this puts up a big question mark on their ethics. As county cricket is home to multiple aspiring crickets, the English cricket board should look forward to preventing racial abuse at the county stage.
4. Irfan Pathan’s experience during U16 days
If we note down a list comprising of the finest all-rounders produced by India, then Irfan Pathan will make it to the top 5. His ability to swing the bowl both ways helped him to deceive the batsmen and his power-hitting abilities enabled him to punch some lusty blows down the order. However, things were never smooth for Irfan as he had to face racial discrimination during his U16 days.
The city of Baroda has given the Indian national cricket team amazing cricketers and Irfan Pathan is one of them. After retiring from the game, he opened up on the racism that is still prevalent in Indian society. He stated that the sportspersons in India refuse to speak their mind on social issues due to their job insecurity. This opens up a big question mark on the lower levels of domestic cricket.
During his initial days, Irfan’s teammates used to call him with a particular slang. However, after he asked them to stop, they respected his request. But, a matter of racial abuse is not healthy for a country where cricket is considered a religion. A social evil like racial discrimination should be avoided by the players and the governing body should have a look at it. Irfan Pathan’s story about racial discrimination should be enough to put up an alarm for the players who look to undermine their teammates.
3. When Aakash Chopra was called Paki
Recently, Aakash Chopra opened up on the subject of racism. He stated that the cricketers have been subjected to racism at some point in their careers. Being an overseas player in the English League adds to the number of racism allegations against the English players. It opens up a crack in which the Asian players are treated badly in the county cricket atmosphere.
Aakash Chopra had represented India for over 10 Test matches. During his stay at the English League, he was at the receiving end of the racist slur by two South African cricketers from the opposition side. As per Aakash, cricketers at one point or the other have been the victims of racism. Adding on, he said that when he was at the non-striker’s end, the opposition players were after him. They constantly called him by the word “Paki”.
Aakash Chopra elaborated the meaning of the word and stated that it is a racial slur, not an abbreviation of the word Pakistan. However, the former Indian opener stated that his team stood by him and supported him during the tough times. This incident makes Aakash Chopra another Indian who had to face racial slur. This revelation had come after megastars like Chris Gayle and Daren Sammy revealed their views against racial abuse.
2. Shane Warne draws flak for ‘casual racism’ against Cheteshwar Pujara
This is Pujara’s second appearance on this list. The Test specialist was again at the receiving end of “racism”. During the first Test against Australia in the ongoing tour, the legendary leg spinner Shane Warne referred to Pujara as “Steve”, which is a nickname given to him by his Yorkshire teammates. This might not be intentional, but it was enough to drag Shane Warne into the controversy.
After this incident, most of the fans on Twitter drew parallels between Harsha Bhogle and Shane Warne, stating that the former was qualified enough to pronounce Marnus Labuschagne’s name, while Warne was not able to pronounce “Cheteshwar”. The matter of Pujara being referred to as “Steve” has gained a lot of controversial attention.
On the 5th of December, former Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq had filed a legal complaint against the team for discrimination on the ground of race. Earlier, Pujara had stated that it was only a nickname given to him by his Yorkshire teammates as they were unable to pronounce his first name.
However, he cleared the air stating that he would prefer “Cheteshwar”. This incident adds up to the list of Indian players who were at the receiving end of racist slurs. Apart from that, this incident throws some light on the way the Asian players are treated in county cricket.
1. Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah face the SCG crowd
The Indian bowling line up comprises exceptionally talented players who had to sacrifice a lot of things to represent their country. While a few newspapers appreciate their efforts to beat the quarantine blues and work under the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Australian government, some SCG fans seem unimpressed by their presence. The SCG crowds are well known for their aggressive reception towards the visiting team.
But, this might make way for some legal actions because of few fans who were hurling abuses on the Indian pace bowling duo of Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. The two pacers were constantly abused by a certain set of drunk people. The pace bowling duo was called monkeys, wa**er, and they were at the receiving end of abuses by a particular section of the crowd.
After the end of the third day’s play, the stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane spoke to the match officials and the team management lodged a formal complaint. This brings some flashback when Virat Kohli was constantly abused by the SCG crowd in 2011 where he responded with his middle finger.
Presently, the SCG is allowed to host around 12,000 spectators during the Test match. This makes every bit of abuse audible to players as the stadium is not fully packed. Therefore, the abuses to Siraj and Bumrah were audible and the matter has been taken up by Cricket Australia. For a country like Australia, which has a rich cricket culture, this doesn’t look good at all.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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