Last week, former West Indian captain Darren Sammy went on social media calling out his teammates at Sunrisers Hyderabad for using racist slurs to address him. He took to social media after watching the latest episode of Hassan Minhaj’s show.
Then Twitter uncovered a picture that Indian pacer Ishant Sharma had posted on Instagram where he had referred to Sammy as ‘Kaluu’.
Many fans of India cricket unsurprisingly defended Sharma and India players giving reasons behind the slur that was a nonsensical as most TV debates these days.
What was surprising, however, that not a single Indian cricketer came forward to speak about the issue, let alone apologise for it.
Frankly not much is expected of Indian cricketers in terms of social messaging. So apologising for a racist slur, that half the country doesn’t recognise as racist was out of the question.
But since Indian cricketers, especially the captain, Virat Kohli has shared a locker room and by his own admission, great friendship with Chris Gayle, another black West Indian player, one would at least expect a statement.
And while I dare mention his name and incur the wrath of followers of the great one, Virat Kohli is not the only Indian cricketer that seems to have shared a special bond with black cricketers. Former captain MS Dhoni has also shared the CSK locker room with Dwyane Bravo, Dwyane Smith and even South African legend Mkhaya Ntini for years.
Indian Vice-captain Rohit Sharma and allrounder Hardik Pandya, who by his own admission likes Caribbean players and their style, have shared the MI locker room with the likes of Keiron Pollard.
Even Sachin Tendulkar is known to have been ‘good friends’ with the great Brian Lara. Hell, Sir Vivian Richards is known to have convinced Sachin to not retire after the 2007 World Cup debacle.
Cricket has always been a close-knit fraternity, given that a handful of countries actually play it. So could anyone explain why the Indian cricket fraternity which has a history of close personal relationships with West Indian cricketers, has kept mum on the subject of racial abuse against a former captain of the West Indies?
Hell, one might even have expected them to stand in their own players’ corner! I mean, it’s a team and nobody rats out the locker room that bleeds blue.
But as far as memory serves, Irfan Pathan also used to bleed blue. In fact, just a few years ago, he bled so much for the team by batting a no. 3 that he got dropped from the team.
But hey, before he did that, he played a key role in the test victory against Australia in Adelaide in 2004, then got a hat-trick against Pakistan, then won the man of the match in the T20 World Cup 2007, and the ‘revenge’ game in Perth in 2008.
So, it’s fair to say that he’s played a key role in some of India’ most memorable victories. So why has no one from the entire Indian cricketing fraternity come to his corner as he’s still being abused after posting about Islamophobia in India?
Every prominent Indian cricketer knows exactly what @IrfanPathan means but they will dare not utter a word in support. https://t.co/hgqO6BJBJL— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) June 12, 2020
Irfan Pathan only spoke the truth when he said communal discrimination is same as racism. But none of his former teammates came out and stood with him. Not one of them stood with Darren Sammy or even responded to what he’s said. https://t.co/BldaUyCAM4— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) June 12, 2020
Irfan Pathan is having his Kaepernick moment. As a fan of cricket & gridiron football, I can predict the next steps. He’s raising a valid multi-generational inequality, bias in our society. Craven players will ignore him like cravens do. Media will hope he goes away quietly.— Gaurav Sabnis 🇮🇳🇺🇸 (@gauravsabnis) June 12, 2020
We all know he ain’t lying. Muslims have been lynched in India and still are. A lot of societies and buildings do not give out flats of them. I mean, just check the replies to his very tweets and tell me he was wrong.
Irfan have some gratitude, you got every thing from this nation, love,name,fame, money everything and you giving this Gyan shows your true character, just if you want to know what is racism you check with nearly 30 Million left over Hindus in Pakistan.— Shriraj Nair (@snshriraj) June 9, 2020
Hi Irfan, can forcing certain type of certified food on people of other faith be considered as part of racism ???— नंदिता ठाकुर (@nanditathhakur) June 9, 2020
because safety of family is everyone’s priority.— Dr. Vedika 🚩 (@amritkanyaaaa) June 9, 2020
So why has no one come to his aid then? Or shown moral support or shared artwork showing solidarity? Isn’t he a part of that locker room? So how does this work?
Because from the looks of it, just like Irfan or Darren Sammy, we have put our faith in the wrong people. Maybe the heroes we worship are not heroes after all. Maybe, we need to find heroes who would stand for their own brothers, much less stand for us.