NEW DELHI: Former New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor kicked up a storm on Thursday by alleging that he faced racial jokes from his teammates during his playing career.
The right-hander, who has played 112 Tests and 236 ODIs, made these revelations in his book, Ross Taylor Black and White. The 38-year-old retired from international cricket earlier this year.
Talking exclusively to The New Indian, the former Indian spinner Maninder Singh said that Taylor should have reported such instances to the New Zealand cricket board at the time they took place.
“Racism in sports is unfortunate and cannot be condoned, but I am slightly confused about why he is talking about these things now. Taylor should have taken this matter up with his cricket board when such incidents happened,” Singh said.
“He was a senior player and an important member of the team. Had he reported such incidents back then, the board would have taken action. Nothing can be done now. What can the board do now except release a statement and condemn racism?” he asked.
Another former cricketer, Madan Lal, who was a part of the Indian team that won the 1983 World Cup, also echoed Singh’s sentiments.
“It would have been better if Taylor spoke about these things when he was playing. Having said that, I am dismayed that he had to go through all this. His revelations underline the sad truth that racism exists in all parts of the world,” Lal stated.
“I think the cricketing fraternity should collectively combat this scourge. The cricketers must be educated at sessions that it is completely improper to pass racial comments even in jest. There is a need to sensitise cricketers from an early age about these serious matters which have myriad ramifications,” he remarked.
“See, I have personally never faced racism in any form during my cricketing career. But I believe that those who pass racial comments must be punished,” he said.
“However, in the case of Taylor, he did not officially file a complaint when these incidents occurred. I am not sure if, retrospectively, his teammates, who cracked racial jokes, can be punished. But the New Zealand board must surely issue a stern statement which will serve as a deterrent to the current players,” he concluded.
Taylor, whose mother has Samoan heritage, disclosed that then New Zealand coach Mike Hesson once told him, “My cleaner’s Samoan. She’s a lovely lady, hard-working, and very trustworthy.”
“A teammate used to tell me, ‘You’re half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You don’t know what I’m referring to.’ I was pretty sure I did,” he has written in his book.
However, he also claimed that though his teammates were insensitive, they did not mean any malice. The sprightly batter also stated that other players in the team were also at the receiving end of such casual racial banter.
“Let me be clear: I don’t think for one minute that they were coming from a racist perspective. I think they were insensitive. They lacked the imagination and empathy to put themselves in the other person’s shoes. What to them is a bit of harmless banter is actually confronting the targets because it tells them they’re seen as being different,” Taylor added.