Follow Us:
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Shane Warne draws flak for ‘casual racism’ against Cheteshwar Pujara

Shane Warne, on commentary during India's innings on the opening day of the 1st Test vs Australia, referred to Cheteshwar Pujara's 'nickname' at Yorkshire, which has been brought up in an ongoing investigation into racism at the club.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: December 18, 2020 8:59:37 am
pujaraShane Warne made the comment on air for Fox Cricket when Cheteshwar Pujara was batting. (Screenshot/File)

Cheteshwar Pujara put on a dogged show of resistance on the opening day of the 1st Test between India and Australia in Adelaide on Thursday, but was directed to ‘casual racism’ from commentator Shane Warne during his knock, according to fans.

On air with Fox Cricket during the first session, Warne referred to the nickname given to Pujara during his county cricket stint with Yorkshire. Cheteshwar Pujara’s name was “not the easiest to pronounce” and so his English teammates referred to him as ‘Steve’, the former leg spinner said, sporting a cap which he said was a “tribute to Peaky Blinders”.

The matter of Pujara being referred to as ‘Steve’ is a controversial one — on December 5, former Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq had filed a legal complaint against the team for discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race. The charges are under investigation, with Pujara’s stint at the club also having been mentioned as evidence by former employees.

Pujara had said earlier that it was a nickname given to him by his Yorkshire teammates because they could not pronounce his first name.

“Well I would prefer Cheteshwar, but it’s difficult to pronounce so the guys have come up with Steve,” Pujara is quoted as saying by in 2018.

Warne also took a dig at Pujara after the batsman stopped play, with Mitchell Starc steaming in, to adjust the sightscreen.

READ | Yorkshire and its history of racism against Asian cricketers

Shane Warne said in commentary for Fox Cricket: “Look how wide the sightscreen is. Come on, that (cover) can’t be putting him off. Are you for real? That can’t be it! That’s not serious.”

India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat in the opening day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday. Indian openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal departed in the first session, but Pujara and Kohli put on a show of resistance then onwards.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App.