New Delhi: "The issue of colour discrimination is not new in cricket. I too faced it in life, in my own country," says former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.
Sivaramakrishnan, who played nine Tests and 16 ODIs for India, was reacting to a Twitter post on Saturday that hinted at online trolling faced by commentators.
"I have been criticised and colour discriminated all my life, so it doesn't bother me anymore. This, unfortunately, happens in our own country," he wrote on Twitter.
In the past, several Indian cricketers, namely Abhinav Mukund, have raised this issue with social media posts. In 2017, Mukund wrote a long post describing how he faced colour discrimination in the country.
Mukund posted his statement on Twitter, saying, "I have been playing cricket since the age of 10, and I am gradually climbing up the ladder where I am right now. It is an honour to get a chance to represent the country at the highest level."
"I am writing today not to garner sympathy or attention but with the hope to change the mindset of people on an issue I feel strongly about. I have been travelling a lot within and outside our country since I was 15. Ever since I was young, people's obsession with my skin colour has always been a mystery to me," Mukund said.
"Anyone who follows cricket would understand the obvious. I have played and trained day in and day out in the sun and not even once have I regretted the fact that I have tanned or lost a couple of shades. It is simply because I love what I do and I have been able to achieve certain things only because I have spent hours outdoors. I come from Chennai probably one of the hottest places in the country and I have gladly spent most of my adult life in the cricket ground," he further wrote.
Mukund got support from former Indin medium-pacer Dodda Ganesh, who too had opened up about his experience of colour discrimination.
"This story of @mukundabhinav reminded me of the racial jibes I went through in my playing days. Only an Indian legend was witness to it. It only made me strong & didn't deter me from playing for India & over 100 matches for Karnataka," Dodda Ganesh had posted on social media.
However, Ganesh said that he did not understand racism or colour discrimination back in 90s. Ganesh now wished that no Indian goes through "such ordeal" in the future.
"Well TBH (to be honest), I didn't even know the seriousness of racism back then in the 90s. And there was no platform to express it as well. Hope no Indian in the future goes through such ordeal," he said.
Racism or colour discrimination in cricket has come to the fore after Azeem Rafiq who played for Yorkshire allegedly accused Alex Hales and former England captain Michael Vaughan of racial slur. After Rafiq's revelation, Hales has apologised to him.