I have seen racial jibes in domestic cricket, we've to educate our people: Irfan Pathan

I have seen racial jibes in domestic cricket, we’ve to educate our people: Irfan Pathan

Darren Sammy recently claimed that he and Thisara Perara were called Kalu in the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp.

Irfan Pathan, Parthiv Patel and Darren Sammy
Irfan Pathan, Parthiv Patel and Darren Sammy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has created a debate about racism across the quarters. Many people have gone public with their stories about facing racial discrimination by other people. Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy had also pointed out that racism also exists in cricket.

The situation also escalated after Chris Gayle also voiced his opinion echoing the sentiments of Sammy. The all-rounder then went on to claim that during his stay in the Indian Premier League, he was subjected to racial slurs. The two-time World Cup-winning captain of West Indies first appeared in the IPL in 2013. He was signed up by the then newly formed franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad. He played two seasons for the side before moving to Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Sammy through his social media claimed that he and fellow cricketer from Sri Lanka, Thisara Perera faced racism during their stay with the Sunrisers’ camp. He said that he and Perera were called ‘Kalu’, which is a racial slur used by many Indians to point out the skin colour of a black man. It comes from the Hindi word, Kala meaning black.

After these claims were made by the former captain, a few players from the Sunrisers Hyderabad batch of 2013 and 2014 reacted to it. Most notable comments came from Parthiv Patel, Venugopal Rao and Irfan Pathan.

Patel, who was with the franchise in 2013, claimed that he never heard any sort of racial abuse by any player. However, he was with the franchise for only the 2013 season before moving to Royal Challengers Bangalore for the next season.

“I don’t think I have heard anyone using those (derogatory) words,” wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv told The Telegraph.

After this, former India cricketer Venugopal Rao also claimed that he wasn’t aware of anything like that. Rao joined Sunrisers in 2014. “I’m not very sure… Not aware of it,” said Venugopal, director of the Andhra Cricket Association.

We need to educate our people: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan made it clear that this incident had not happened in the camp. He pointed out that had this happened, people would have talked about this. However, the former Indian all-rounder stated that such kind of racial slurs is often heard in Indian domestic cricket. He claimed that South Indian cricketers often face such kind of words.

“I was there with him (Sammy) in 2014. I feel had this really happened, the matter would definitely have been discussed. So I’m not aware of such things as nothing was discussed in a larger way. But at the same time, we need to educate our people because I’ve seen them (racial jibes) in domestic cricket.”

“Some of our cricketers from the south, especially, have faced that in the northern and western parts of the country, though I don’t want to name anyone. What happens is among the crowd, someone tries to act like a jester. It’s not because people are racist, but it’s like someone trying to be popular by saying something seemingly funny that amounts to crossing the line on certain occasions,” Pathan said.