Irfan Pathan has become the latest name to join the list of cricketers alleging that racism exists in the sport. The Baroda-based all-rounder recalled the racism he faced during the early days of his cricketing career.
During his recent interview with Mirror, the former India player spoke about Darren Sammy, who brought up an incident from IPL 2014. Irfan Pathan was a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team that year, and in his opinion, Sammy was good friends with everyone then. Still, there was no discussion about the issue within the group.
My team members started calling me a particular slang: Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan feels that racism is not only about skin colour but also related to several other aspects like caste, religion, and language. Sharing an experience from his U-16 days, the left-arm fast bowler 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."
He further pointed out that the crowds even target the Indian team's players. Pathan believes that the only way to eradicate racism from the sport is to educate people about diversity.
Lastly, Irfan Pathan gave the example of Sonu Sood:
"Look at Sonu Sood. He didn't ask about religion or caste or colour. He just helped. So people who want to help and spread love will keep doing that, they are not bothered about such things."
Earlier in the day, Chris Gayle and DJ Bravo also supported Darren Sammy's allegations of racism in cricket.
With Irfan Pathan also publicising the fact that he has faced racial discrimination, it will be intriguing to see what happens next in this regard.