Racism in Cricket

International cricket while being focussed in the sub continent is still very much a racist sport. Most Umpires and Match Referees are afraid to punish 'white' cricketers especially those from South Africa, Australia and England.

Moreover, we see that bowlers from the subcontinent (this includes India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) are the ones whose bowlers get called for 'chucking'. (this refers to an illegal bowling action and can lead to a cricketer being temporarily being banned from the game till he corrects his action). Bowlers with suspect action from Australia, I refer to Brett Lee, have gone scott free.

Further, it is players from these countries who do not receive any punishment for violating the Code of Conduct set down by the International Cricket Council while players from smaller countries are often punished for the smallest of offences. Even Match Referees from the sub-continent are afraid to punish white cricketers. This perpetuates an unequal system where those countries which generate most of the revenue, don't get the respect they deserve.

A good example of this was the Mike Denness affair when India was touring South Africa, which received a lot of media coverage. It showed how biased the match referee was in dealing with the Indian players. In past South African tours, Alan Donald, their premier fast bowler has gotten away with outrageous behaviour on the field.

A recent example of 'racism' was the Darren Lehmann controversy. Lehmann is an Australian cricketer who recently served a three match ban for racially abusing the Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya. What was especially galling was the fact that a number of former cricketers argued that it must have been said in the 'heat of the moment', which I find an incerdibly naive justification for racial villification. Even if he was terribly angry at his own performance, I find it shocking that Lehmann chose to comment on the skin colour of the Lankans and then there are others who seek to excuse him for that. It merely sets a bad precedent for professional cricketers that there are those around who are willing to condone such actions.

A further amusing incident involved an allegation by Australian wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist that he had been racially abused by the Pakistani wicketkeeper Rashid Latif. Ultimately, after examining the available evidence, the Match Referee threw out the allegation and Latif, for a while, threatened to sue Gilchrist.

I shall keep documenting the evidence of disparity and injustice in the cricketing world as the 2003 World Cup progresses.