Ian Chappell recalls his experience with racism in cricket


Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell on Sunday offered his views on the burning topic of racism in sport and even recalled his brush with the menace in cricket.

Chappell also went on to say that during his playing days, several cricketers were racially abused but they opted to stay silent.

“As racism is playing a prominent role in the current turbulent times, it`s worth reflecting on my experience of prejudice in and around cricket,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Chappell as saying.

The debate around racism has kickstarted once again as an African-American man named George Floyd passed away after having a knee pressed on his neck by an officer identified as Derek Chauvin.

“My first overseas tour was to South Africa in 1966-67 and it was an eye-opener. The apartheid regime was in power and we got a taste of its abhorrent nature after winning the second Test in Cape Town,” Chappell said.

“Why don`t you pick Garry Sobers? Then you`ll have a team full of blacks was the offensive comment directed at Australian batsman Grahame Thomas by an ignorant patron in the team hotel. Thomas has Native American lineage dating back to the days of slavery. Sensibly he walked away from any confrontation,” he added.

The former Australia skipper Chappell also said that he had given a strict warning to his players to not make any racial comments towards the opposite team during his leadership stint.

“As a captain in 1972-73, prior to commencing a home series against Pakistan and then touring the Caribbean, I spoke to the Australian players. I warned them if there were any terms of address prefixed by the word “black”, there would be trouble,” Chappell said.

“I said: “You don`t call someone a lucky white b******, so why to include the word `black` in any outburst?” I never heard any such comments from those Australian players,” he added.

Chappell also recalled his brush with racism during 1991 and said the sad reality about racism is that what is implied often cuts the deepest.

“I had another experience of the harmful effects of racism in Jamaica in 1991. At a television forum there, the moderator introduced the subject of the ICC. In answer to a question, I said the power of veto that Australia and England held over ICC decisions was a disgrace and should have been abolished long ago. I did not anticipate that many in the audience would be aware there was a power of veto, but the crowd burst into applause,” Chappell said.

“That made a mockery of the standard reply from Australian cricket administrators when that particular issue was brought up: `The power of veto has never been used, so why would it upset anyone?` This is the sad reality of racism. What is implied often cuts deepest,” he added.

Ever since the `Black Lives Matter` protest has gained momentum, many cricketers have revealed their brush with racism.

West Indies cricketers Chris Gayle and Daren Sammy said that they have been subjected to racism on the cricket field.Sammy had alleged racism within the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. 

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