Ravichandran Ashwin bats for more conversation on racism, Ajinkya Rahane recalls Mohammed Siraj incident at SCG
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has praised the idea of having more conversations about racism, whether in sports or in general, and believes that improved parenting and awareness about the matter can help bring about change. Ajinkya Rahane recalls Mohammed Siraj incident at SCG.
Several times in the past, cricket, which is known as a gentleman’s game, has been tainted by racist slurs and statements, which have brought the sport into shame. Many people have been punished for their crimes, but it still happens 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 that India won 2-1 in dramatic circumstances in Australia in 2020-21.
Ashwin also recommended a few measures that could help to improve the current situation.
“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.
During their 2021-22 Australia tour, Indian pacers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah racially harassed by spectators during the historic Sydney Test. Siraj, according to the veteran spinner, showed courage in bringing attention to what was going on.
“I think it’s not about a certain country or certain ground. Yes, it 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, in the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, India’s captain at the time, recalled the Siraj incident. And his conversation with the umpires about taking action against the perpetrators.
The Indian players informed the match officials about the abuse they had received. After the third day of play in the New Year’s Day Test. And when it persisted the next morning, they informed 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.
Before the game could resume, the game halted for ten minutes. And a group of spectators ejected from the stands.
“We insisted on getting the abusers out of the ground. When Siraj again came to me (on the fourth day, after 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.