Following the death of George Floyd, the issue of racism in cricket has been doing rounds across the internet. Many international cricketers including Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy have raised their voice against racial discrimination in the sport. Sammy even revealed that he was addressed as ‘Kalu’ during his stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.
Racial discrimination is something which has been prevalent in the sport since its inception. There have been many instances where a player has been treated indifferently on the basis of his ethnicity and skin colour.
Former India international Lakshmipathy Balaji also opened up on the issue and said that nobody should be discriminated against on any grounds, be it children or adults. According to the pacer, there is a tendency among people to target someone’s perceived weakness. Balaji also pointed out that this issue can’t be solved until people realize the seriousness of the problem.
“At all levels be it school, college, or any industry for that matter there is a tendency among some people to target someone’s perceived weakness,” Balaji said in a chat show Homerun with AV with sports commentator Arun Venugopal.
“A bully goes after easy targets. There are plenty of rules and regulations that seek to prevent that. However, until and unless people of different classes, races, and nationality recognise the seriousness of the problem – like they have in the case of Covid-19 pandemic – this can’t be solved.
The fear for our lives has led to a greater emphasis on social hygiene. However, which mask can hide the virus [of racism and discrimination] that is affecting our minds?” he added.
I was 12-13 when I was failed in class 7: Lakshmipathy Balaji
Balaji also talked about his growing up days and shared the time when he felt humiliated after failing in class 7. Luckily, Balaji’s parents accepted the situation and handled it well. Balaji said that children should not under pressure by parents for their performance in school.
“I was 12-13 when I was failed in class seven. If you ask me, repeating a class at a certain age can be incredibly humiliating. I felt it acutely because of social pressures and the realisation that I had let down my parents and caused embarrassment to them. That particular phase affected me a lot psychologically,” said Balaji, who donned the Indian jersey in 8 Tests, 30 ODIs and 5 T20Is.
“Luckily, my parents were able to accept the situation and handle it well. Otherwise, such social stigma and humiliation at such a young age could even lead to children taking extreme steps. I survived the phase thanks to my parents’ awareness, but not all parents have such awareness. So, please don’t discriminate anyone be it, children or adults, on any grounds,” he added.
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