Premier Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has endorsed the idea of having more conversation on racism whether it’s in the sports field or in the world in general and also feels that better parenting and awareness about the subject can bring the change.
There have been several instances in the past where cricket, which is called a gentleman’s game, has been rocked by racist slurs and comments that have brought the sport to disrepute. Many have been punished for their offences as well but it keeps taking place from time to time.
“I think we should all have the conversation as a world, it’s not just cricket or any other sports. I don’t think it has anything to do with a particular section of people in any particular country. Everywhere people do believe that they belong to a majority sort of a thing and they want to have a go at somebody else. And I think racism is one of the parts of it where they believe that is a way of differentiation with someone,” said Ashwin on the sidelines of trailer launch event of ‘Bandon Mein Tha Dum’, a documentary on that Test series which India won 2-1 in dramatic circumstances, which will air on streaming service Voot Select later this month.
Ashwin also suggested a few things which can lead to the improvement in the present conditions.
“I think the only solution on this is better parenting and better awareness, just by talking about it at the stage or on an event like this, we wouldn’t necessarily make a difference but with awareness and talking about it on a regular basis and better parenting from the childhood we can make a difference,” he said.
Notably, Indian pacers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were racially abused by spectators during that famous Sydney Test in their 2021-22 Australia tour. The veteran spinner feels Siraj showed courage in making people aware of what was going on.
“I think it’s not about a certain country or certain ground. Yes, it’s happened at a certain ground (SCG) and that place (Australia) a lot more. But, it was courageous of him (Siraj) to bring it up so at least a wider section of the people know and probably the people sitting next to such people in that ground do a lot better from the next time,” he said.
“So it (racism) is something that one must condemn but I want to bring to your notice that everywhere people are differentiating people on different grounds, which is definitely not fair,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane, India’s captain then in the absence of Virat Kohli, also recalled the Siraj incident and his talk with the umpires to take action against the culprits.
After the end of the third day’s play in that New Year’s Day Test, the Indian players spoke to the match officials about the abuse that had been hurled at them, and when it continued the next morning, they alerted the umpires.
Rahane revealed that the umpires – Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson – had asked the players to go back to the dressing room if they didn’t want to play, but India insisted on getting the spectators ejected and carrying on with the Test.
The play was suspended for ten minutes, and a group of people were evicted from the stands before the game could continue.
“We insisted on getting the abusers out of the ground. When Siraj again came to me (on the fourth day, after being abused the day before), I told the umpires that (they) need to take action and we won’t play till then,” said Rahane.
“The umpires said that you can’t stall the game and can walk out if you want. We said that we are here to play and not sit in the dressing room and insisted on getting the abusers out of the ground. It was important to support our colleague given the situation he had been through. What happened in Sydney was completely wrong,” he added.