Kannada actor-activist Chetan Kumar Sunday said there should be caste-based reservation in selection for the Indian cricket team.
Chetan’s statement, incidentally, came on the day when the Indian men’s team lost to Bangladesh in a one-day international (ODI). Chetan said, “In Indian cricket, 70 per cent of the players are from upper castes. If reservation is implemented in cricket as well, the team’s performance will be better,” said Kumar while taking part in a discussion on reservation in Chamarajanagar.
“Most of the players playing in the Indian cricket team are from upper castes. We need to see what is happening with the South African cricket team. The South African cricket board has made it mandatory to have a certain number of non-white players to be in their national team. In India, everyone knows how much money is involved in cricket and the influence of the media on it. If the Indian cricket team needs to perform well, reservation is also necessary. Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) reservations must be brought in for better performance.”
Kumar was referring to a 2016 rule which mandated the South African team to have an average minimum of six non-white players, of which two must be black African, in matches over a season.
His statement received a mixed response as some questioned him why he was trying to bring caste into a sport when it is only based on performance. Facebook user Hameed Borkala said, “It’s a meaningless statement, selections must be on talent base. How can reservations perform better?”
Supporting Kumar, Another Facebook user Suraj Samal said, “Those trash-talking Chetan’s statement should first educate themselves that several Countries do that already, including South Africa in Cricket to ensure Diversity & Discourage Monopoly.Sports is Not Just about winning. It teaches us to be Better Human Being with Competitive Spirit while embracing people coming from Underprivileged Backgrounds.”
Chetan Kumar alias Chetan Ahimsa was recently in news over his remarks on the popular Kannada movie Kantara. He said ‘Bhoota Kola’, a spirit worship ritual practised by people in coastal Karnataka and depicted in the film, was not part of Hindu culture. He also stood in support of a few students who were beaten by the public for alleged pro-Pakistan sloganeering.
Born and raised in the United States, Kumar is a familiar face in movements for the welfare of farmers, workers, Dalits and Adivasis. A socialist, Chetan has been an anti-establishment and pro-Kannada figure. He was associated with movements for the rehabilitation of endosulfan victims (2013), securing homes for tribals evicted from Kodagu (2016) and, more recently, for a separate religious status for Lingayats.