By Aakash Kumar
New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes racism is an important subject which needs to be talked about and discussed in open in order to ensure that it is eradicated from all quarters of the society.
Ever since the killing of African-American George Floyd in the US in May, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ has gained prominence across the world and various sports personalities have been lending their support to it. Sammy has been at the forefront of the movement from the cricket fraternity ever since the BLM movement started and has been talking about the issue without mincing words.
“If there’s an issue I’ve been affected or my team has been affected, I will stand up and speak about it. Some people are not as brave as others and that’s why those who are, should be a voice for those who cannot be heard,” Sammy told IANS in an exclusive interaction facilitated by his Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise St Lucia Zouks.
“I think it’s a massive and an important subject that needs to be discussed. Because it’s not about institutional or systemic racism, it’s one-on-one where people of colour get the racial slurs being thrown at them. I think it’s about time that we really take the bull by the horns.
“We need to try to eradicate it because every human being deserves to be treated equally,” he added.
The former West Indies skipper further said that the International Cricket Council (ICC), besides focussing on anti-corruption, should also focus upon racism issues.
“I think there should be some education. I said once all the emphasis that ICC puts on anti-corruption, the same type of energy should be put on for anti-racism and educate the players about racism.”
Sammy had alleged that during his time with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014 and 2015 editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL), he was often referred to as ‘Kaalu’ (Black) by his teammates. The racist word’s meaning he understood only recently.
Talking about the same, the all-rounder said that he has moved on from that while informing that no apology has been issued to him by the franchise.
“No, I don’t think an apology has been given from the franchise. I also don’t think the franchise even looked at it but then that’s on them,” said Sammy.
“For me, it’s a situation I addressed and those who know me, if there’s an issue, I’m going to talk about it. But I’ve moved on in my life.
“I am a very proud black man. And there is no way any human being could make me feel less than other human being. I am not saying that treat us highly but treat black people as equals. But still, we have to continue to channel in the fight on the cause against racism,” he added.
Sammy, who has played in the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League, also pointed out the distinct features of each of the T20 leagues.
“Well, all three present different types of pressures. I think they have their own brand to it. In IPL just the pressure of the league in itself is something that could really work on your mind. You tend to score more runs down in IPL,” said Sammy.
“What I have seen in PSL is that it’s not that easy to score runs because of the quality of bowlers in Pakistan. Local bowlers have been really good and as batsman you really have to grind in to score runs there. Definitely the standard of bowling in PSL is the best when compared to all the leagues.
“CPL presents a type of atmosphere that once you mix, you want to go out and entertain. We have some of the best T20 cricketers and to see all of them compete against each other, it brings out that competitiveness and that entertainment that makes CPL the most exciting league in the world,” he added.
Zouks, this year, are without the services of Chris Gayle and Sammy feels those are massive boots to fill in. However, he is impressed with the performance of Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. Nabi has so far taken nine wickets, including a five-wicket haul, in six matches he has played. Besides, he has also scored 120 runs.
“It’s very difficult to replace Chris Gayle. But once we got the news of him not participating, I think it created an opportunity for someone else. And so far that someone has been Mohammad Nabi. We have seen the impact he has had in this league for St Lucia Zouks,” said Sammy.
The two-time T20 World Cup-winning former captain further said that after 2016, he knew he would not be playing for the West Indies again and that’s why all now that he is focussing upon is to end his career on a good note.
“I last played a game in 2016, but I knew after 2016 there was a chance that I would not be playing for the West Indies again. And that was a decision I was quite happy about,” said the 36-year-old, who played 232 international games for West Indies.
“I believe everything happens for a reason, I am in a very happy place right now in my life. I have enjoyed playing for the West Indies. I’ve enjoyed playing cricket wherever I go.
“And this year, my focus is solely on doing well for St Lucia Zouks. I’m closer to the end of my career. So it’s about finishing on a good note, and my dream would be to bring silverware to the St Lucia Zouks before I’m done,” he added.