Racism Let Cricket: Cricket is popularly called the gentleman’s game. But the sport too hasn’t been spared when it comes to racism. The objective of sport being a unifying factor has often been challenged on different occasions. It is not just the players who have played spoilsport but it has been the fans too who have contributed to the hostile atmosphere. The game has evolved largely for any missteps not being welcomed but it wasn’t the case always.
We look at 5 times when Racism in Cricket let it down:
#5 Dean Jones’ remark
The late Dean Jones was one of the finest batsmen of the game. He was credited for pioneering how ODI cricket was played in the 80s. Post his playing days, Jones took up cricket commentary. He was one of the most energetic commentators whose booming voice filled up the room.
But Jones landed himself in a big soup when he made a damaging remark albeit unintentionally. Jones likened South African batsman, Hashim Amla to a terrorist. This episode in 2006 saw him being evicted from the job right away. The late Jones apologised and was widely regarded for his passion and tactical acumen.
#4 Jofra Archer’s ordeal
New Zealand is regarded as the most beautiful country to be playing cricket in. The crowds are largely gentle and the players feel welcomed. But England’s pacer, Jofra Archer had a troubled time. He was fielding near the boundary when he heard a spectator spouting racial jibes. Archer took to Twitter to express his displeasure over the episode. The New Zealand cricket board immediately barred the spectator from attending any of the fixtures that were played in New Zealand.
#3 Mohammad Siraj subjected to abuse
India’s tour to Australia in 2020-21 wasn’t devoid of drama. The players’ injuries list kept growing with every passing day. To add to the team’s woes was an unwanted racial episode in Sydney. A bunch of spectators targeted Indian fast bowler, Mohammad Siraj to racial abuse. Siraj was quick in his response to bring this to the captain’s notice. Ajinkya Rahane, the stand-in captain reported the incident to the officials. He made his stance clear the team won’t be continuing with the game if the culprits were allowed to stay in the venue.
#2 Darren Sammy episode
In one of the most heartbreaking episodes of racism, the former West Indian skipper, Darren Sammy was subjected to racism. He didn’t realise when he was part of a racial slur during his stint in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Sammy conceded that he and another teammate of his were called ‘Kalu’. It is a term that is racially used to describe people with a darker skin tone in the conditions he was playing then.
#1 The Monkeygate scandal
It was a watershed moment in cricketing history. The seeping tension between Australia and India boiled over in the Sydney Test in 2007-08. Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Andrew Symonds – ‘Monkey’. There was a trial where members from both teams testified. Post the investigation, Harbhajan was cleared of all the accusations. This incident left Symonds feeling desolated. The Australian allrounder was never the same again.