10 instances when cricket was marred by racism
Even when the entire world is dealing with a pandemic, racism has still managed to make its presence felt. And perhaps just like the pandemic itself, we keep learning about more and more individuals affected by it every day.
We have seen football, golf and even rugby failing to provide an equal playground for individuals of colour, and the latest to find itself at the centre of the discussion is cricket.
Cricket is a sport that has its roots in colonialism, but has always been believed to be a strong unifying force, irrespective of cultural differences, let alone colour.
In the light of current social events, where new developments are rearing their ugly heads to tarnish the legacy of a centuries-old sport, we list 10 instances where racism rocked the Gentleman's Game.
By far one of cricket’s worst and most talked about racism scandals of all time, 'Monkeygate' unfolded during the second Test of the 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
In a match that was rife with Australia’s boorish on-field behaviour, Aussie all-rounder Andrew Symonds accused Harbhajan Singh of calling him a monkey, a racially offensive insult.
Though the two later buried the hatchet and became teammates at Mumbai Indians, it all went south when Symonds’ 2018 interview with ESPNCricinfo rubbed Singh the wrong way.
#2 The Daren Sammy incident
This is the most recent incident that has opened up the Pandora’s Box of racism in the sport.
West Indian all-rounder Daren Sammy alleged that during his stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad, he and his Sri Lankan colleague Thisara Perera were called ‘kalu’ by their teammates- a term that is rampantly used to refer to dark-skinned individuals in India.
While he stated that he believed that the word meant ‘stallion’ in Hindi, he only got to know the actual meaning after watching an episode of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s news variety show, Patriot Act.
Sammy later took to Twitter to announce that he had ‘an interesting conversation’ with one of the guys, and seems to have buried the hatchet.
#3 Jofra Archer's encounter
Last year, during England’s tour of New Zealand, Barbadian-born English cricketer Jofra Archer was at the receiving end of racial slurs from the stands as he walked back to the pavilion during the final day of the first Test.
While he took to Twitter to express that it was ‘a bit disturbing’ to hear racial slurs, the spectator behind them has been banned from all domestic and international fixtures in New Zealand until 2022.
#4 Sarfaraz and the stump mic
Former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was caught uttering a racial slur in Urdu to South African all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo on the stump mic during the second ODI against the Proteas last year.
While he took to Twitter to apologise for the debacle, he was met with heavy criticism from fans of both teams. After being slapped with a four-match ban, Sarfaraz announced that he had ‘personally met’ Phehlukwayo and apologised for his actions.
#5 Dean Jones caught off guard
Former Aussie batsman Dean Jones may be a celebrated figure on social media now, but he found himself in hot water in 2006 when he called former South African icon Hashim Amla a 'terrorist'.
In the second innings of the final Test, Jones, who was one of the commentators on the panel, made the comment during a commercial break which aired in South Africa. Jones received massive backlash over his comment and was subsequently fired from the commentary panel.
#6 Lehmann’s racist rant
In 2003, former Australian batsman and head coach Darren Lehmann had a racial outburst as his team locked horns with Sri Lanka at the 2003-04 VB Series at The Gabba.
After being stumped by Sangakkara off Arnold's delivery, Lehmann bolted off to the dressing room in anger, shouting "black c***s". This was overheard by one of the Sri Lankan officials. Surprisingly, Lehmann issued an apology and was let go.
#7 Moeen’s unnamed perpetrator
In 2018, English all-rounder Moeen Ali made a startling revelation when he came out with his autobiography.
The World Cup-winner said that he was called 'Osama' during the 2015 Ashes series, by an Australian player whom he did not name. While the respective cricket boards carried out internal investigations, the unnamed player denied the allegation altogether.
#8 When Herschelle lost his cool
South Africa’s iconic batsman Herschelle Gibbs came under fire after he reportedly went on a racially charged rant during a Test in Pakistan's tour of South Africa in 2007.
He is alleged to have called Pakistani supporters "animals who should go back to the zoo". The Proteas star was subsequently penalised with a two-Test ban. However, in a Twitter AMA earlier this year, Gibbs clarified that he addressed the fans in such a manner after they forced his wife and son out of their seats.
#9 When Irfan faced racism close to home
Soon after Darren Sammy came out with his encounter with racism, Irfan Pathan took to Twitter to share his experience.
In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Pathan said:
“This happened with me too. During my early days in Baroda, my team members started calling me with a particular slang, which obviously I didn't like. I very politely told them to stop doing that and start calling me as Irfan. That was during my Under-16 days, and till now, no one in the team has ever used that slang to address me.”
#10 Aakash Chopra’s ordeal at the MCC
Adding to the already long list of racist episodes in the sport, commentator and former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra came forward with his experience of racism during his stint with Marylebone Cricket Club back in 2007.
In a video that he shared on his YouTube channel, he recalls the instance where players of the opposite team kept calling him a 'Paki', a racial slur directed at people of South Asian origin, especially in England.
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