Racism in Aussie cricket

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Athletics -

MEL­BOURNE – Test bats­man Us­man Khawaja has said be­ing racially vil­i­fied when he was grow­ing up in Syd­ney led him to sup­port other coun­tries rather than back Aus­tralian sports teams.

The Pak­istan-born 30-year-old said in a blog post that ra­cial abuse was wide­spread on the play­ing field dur­ing his ju­nior days and blamed it for cur­tail­ing the sport­ing am­bi­tions of a num­ber of his over­seas­born friends.

“Get­ting sledged by op­po­si­tion play­ers and their par­ents was the norm,” Khawaja wrote on the Play­ersvoice web­site.

“Some of them said it just qui­etly enough for only me to hear. It still hurt, but I would never show it. Most of the time it was when I scored runs. “Some par­ents take things too se­ri­ously. “It is for this rea­son why so many of my friends, most of whom were born out­side Aus­tralia, didn’t sup­port Aus­tralia in sport­ing con­tests. I didn’t ei­ther.

“Es­pe­cially in cricket. It was ei­ther West Indies, Pak­istan, In­dia, Sri Lanka. Any­one else.”

The first Mus­lim to play Test cricket for Aus­tralia, left-han­der Khawaja has scored 1 728 runs in his 24 Tests at an av­er­age of 45.47, and is likely to be se­lected at num­ber three for the up­com­ing Ashes se­ries against Eng­land.

Lit­tle ap­peal

He said the hard-edged Aus­tralia teams of his child­hood held lit­tle ap­peal.

“In hind­sight, the fact we didn’t sup­port Aus­tralia is dis­ap­point­ing,” he added.

“Ev­ery­thing that was go­ing on in our child­hood and around us built up this re­sent­ment of the Aus­tralian cricket team. “I mean, none of them looked like us. “I was brought up to be re­spect­ful, hum­ble and po­lite. But when I watched the Aussie team, I saw men who were hard-nosed, con­fi­dent, al­most brutish.

“The same type of men who would sledge me about my her­itage grow­ing up.”

Khawaja cred­ited his “strong-willed” fam­ily and his own com­pet­i­tive na­ture for his in­ter­na­tional break­through but said a num­ber of as­pir­ing play­ers had been thwarted by racism.

“My point is this: it’s no sur­prise it has taken Aus­tralia cricket so long for coloured play­ers to come through the sys­tem,” he said.

“There is no doubt racism and pol­i­tics played a large role in se­lec­tions in the past.

“I’ve heard a few sto­ries from past An­glo-saxon play­ers where this seems to be the case. It would just be the times that they lived in. Cer­tainly cricket and so­ci­ety has come a long way. Now sub-con­ti­nen­tal par­ents can see a fu­ture for their kids, at a younger age.” (Reuters)

re­sponse time.

Com­peti­tors came from a wide cross-sec­tion of the so­ci­ety in­clud­ing the Bar­ba­dos Clay Tar­get As­so­ci­a­tion, Guards­man, Cen­tral Bank se­cu­rity guards, Royal Bar­ba­dos Po­lice Force and the Bar­ba­dos Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion.

In the team de­tail, Rod­ney Clarke, Ryan Best and Adrian Mar­shall were the top shoot­ers. In the in­di­vid­ual de­tail, Shari LayneEli­box emerged as the top fe­male marks­man while Ryan Thom was the top male.

Phillip All­sopp was the top shot in the ex­pert de­tail while Sean Banfield took the hon­ours in the Mas­ters, Michael Wat­son was the top sharp-shooter and most out­stand­ing grand­mas­ter was Ger­ard Gill.

The com­pe­ti­tion ended around 3 p.m. with the pre­sen­ta­tion of awards from vice-pres­i­dent of the BRPF, Charles Belle. (JB)

US­MAN KHAWAJA: “There is no doubt racism and pol­i­tics played a large role in se­lec­tions in the past.”

MICHAEL WAT­SON: top sharp-shooter.

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