Former Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir called for stricter rules against racism in cricket in order to curb the racial abuse sportsmen have to face across the globe.
During the Sydney Test, Indian bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah alleged racial abuse from the Australian crowd while fielding near the boundary rope. It resulted in six men being removed from the Sydney Cricket Ground, but Gambhir feels the action has to be stronger.
“This is something which is absolutely not acceptable in any sport. Not only cricket but in any sport and that’s where I think there need to be stricter laws,” Gambhir was quoted as saying on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“You do get abused, in places like South Africa, Australia, when you are playing in a Boxing Day Test match but it depends what kind of abuse that is and what all has been said to you. It is something on your colour of skin and the abuse as well, it’s not acceptable and must be stopped,” he added.
India lodged an official complaint to the ICC on the matter and the international body was quick to condemn it.
Moving on from the incident, India put up an extraordinary battling display on the fifth day to eke out a famous draw and keep the series level going into the fourth Test at Brisbane.
Chasing 407 in fourth innings, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant started the fightback for the Indians before Hanuma Vihari and Ashwin Ravichandran’s rearguard action kept Australia at bay.
Gambhir praised the mental strength of the team he felt was not too far away from a victory at the SCG.
“It just shows the character of the team. Rishabh Pant batted really well. Yes, people might just say that there was no need to play that shot, but he kept playing and kept India in the game. Had he batted a bit more longer India could have actually gone on to win the Test match, which probably would have been the most historic win ever,” Gambhir said.
The former opening batsman also heaped praise on Pujara who has been frequently criticised for a slow run rate recently.
“When we talk about Cheteshwar Pujara, you can talk as much as you can and as much as you want about his strike-rate, but there are very few batters going around in world cricket who can actually play time and session and he’s one of them,” he said.
“One might just think that you are only been able to draw the Test match, but these kinds of draws, are probably as big as winning in Australia. You can actually go on to win the series as well if you play good cricket, probably in the fourth Test match and you can come back winning the series which is again, going to be historic,” he added.
India though face a daunting task in Brisbane, where they have never won a Test, due to a growing injury list. With Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari, already ruled out, Jasprit Bumrah was the latest player to join them on the sidelines.
With Virat Kohli on paternity leave and Mohammed Shami also leaving due to injury, the current situation is going to truly test India’s bench strength.
India play Australia in Brisbane in the fourth Test starting on January 15.