Former India opening batsman turned cricket pundit Aakash Chopra has excluded West Indies batsman Chris Gayle from an All-time XI IPL squad, opting in favour of a more ‘consistent’ David Warner.

Gayle, the big Windies left-hander, has his name etched on a host of IPL records and accomplishments at the top of the order in the IPL.  The opening batsman has the tournament’s highest individual score (175), most sixes (326), fastest century and the most 100s (6).  The Australian, however, has 222 more runs overall, in one more match than Gayle, and has also scored the most 50s with 44.

While acknowledging Gayle’s explosiveness as an opener, Chopra explains he chose Warner based on consistency.

“My first pick is David Warner, the first overseas player as an opener. You will also think of Chris Gayle, but he is not more consistent than David Warner,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.

“He [Gayle] has been explosive but Warner is not behind anyone. So, Warner as one of the overseas players. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen ever.”

Mystery spinner and sometimes pinch hitter Sunil Narine was the only West Indian to make Chopra’s XI, with the former opener also finding no place for another big hitter and fan favourite Andre Russell.

 

Aakash Chopra’s All-time IPL XI

  1. David Warner
  2. Rohit Sharma

       3. Virat Kohli

  1. Suresh Raina
  2. AB de Villiers
  3. MS Dhoni
  4. Sunil Narine
  5. Harbhajan Singh

      9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

  1. Lasith Malinga
  2. Jasprit Bumrah

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy had every right to be angry with former Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates after their use of a racial slur to refer to him, even in jest, someone’s ‘blackness’ should never be the butt of a joke.

As such, it was a major disappointment to see some fans of the sport, not only accuse the player of seeking attention but also going on to further insultingly claim that he has no right to be upset.

The word used to describe the West Indian, Kalu, by one of its definitions on a list of ethnic slurs is itemized as literally meaning ‘blackie, generally used for black-skinned people in India, can also have racist overtone when referring to Africans.’ 

In a region with a long history of racial discrimination, it's hard to buy the excuse that the use of ‘blackie’ to refer to a black West Indian was used as a term of endearment. In all likelihood, it might have been used mockingly and in jest but why should that be accepted as normal or ok, how can the colour of a person’s skin be a source of even casual, 'harmless' ridicule.

If there were a bunch of roses would it be funny that one rose was redder than the rest?  It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Of course, it does.  Perhaps the reason Sammy is being told to lighten up may come from the fact that some of us, at some deep subconscious level, believe being darker than someone else is somehow misfortune. 

To some Asian and Caribbean societies that have had their mentalities warped by the negative effects of slavery and/or by the oppressive regime of colonialism, perhaps such a thing seems casual or normal. The time is right though to call some of these things what they are, even if we don’t expect them to change, or are not necessarily offended by them. Let us not insist that someone else does not have the right to do so.

After all, we haven’t heard about any nicknames given to Brendan Taylor, Dale Steyn and Aaron Finch some of the white teammates who would have been on the squad with Sammy.  If there was, I stand corrected but would love to hear the light-hearted or playful joke or nicknames for how ‘white’ they were. If it is that jokes about standing out for having different colour skin is funny or is deserving of cuddly nicknames, then it should surely fall on both sides of the colour spectrum.

It is also disingenuous to suggest that because the West Indian captain has referred to himself as black, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  

Surely we don’t mean to associate Sammy’s reference to himself as a proud or confident black man with being called the equivalent of a ‘blackie’.

What would have been more hurtful for the player was the fact that he even laughed along with it, only to find out later on that he was in fact, the subject of the joke.

Coming out in support of Sammy, however, former West Indies teammate Chris Gayle rightly pointed out ‘it’s never too late to fight for the right cause’.  In this case, Sammy is well within his right to demand an apology and he should get one.

 

West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo has joined the growing throng of celebrity voices calling for an end to racism, saying all people of colour want is equality.

West Indies star Chris Gayle has come out in defense of former captain Darren Sammy who recently expressed anger and frustration with incidents that might have been deemed racist during his time India Premier League (IPL) club Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Sammy recently accused several of his former teammates of a racist gesture after realizing the nickname he given, ‘kalu’ did not mean what he thought.  The West Indian cricketer has insisted he believes the world meant strong and admits he was hurt that he later called himself by that name and expressed hope that he had not been the butt of a joke.

 By various definitions the term literally means blackie and is on occasion used to describe black-skinned people in India.  Although the incident happened in 2014, Gayle insisted that it was never too late to right a wrong.

It's never too late to fight for the right cause or what you've experienced over the years! So much more to your story, Darren Sammy. Like I said, it's in the game," tweeted Gayle who has played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

 Both Gayle and Sammy have spoken out in support of the racial injustice protests currently sweeping across the globe.

A few cricket fans on social media have criticised former West Indies captain Darren Sammy for what they believe is some amount of hypocrisy, over recent accusations of racism leveled against IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Earlier this week, Sammy reacted with anger after finding out a word he was referred to by his teammates, during his time at the club, kalu, did not mean what he thought.

"I just learnt what that kalu meant. When I played for Sunrisers in the IPL, they called me and Perera by that name,” Sammy said in a tweet over the weekend.

"I thought it meant strong Stallion. My previous post tells me something different and I am angry."

The West Indies star later explained in the video, posted on Monday, that he was later told the term was not one of endearment.

"I was listening to Hasan Minhaj talking about how some of the people in his culture view or describe black people,” Sammy said.

"Instantly I remembered when I played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and 2014, I was being called the exact same word that he described.

"I will be messaging those people - you guys know who you are. I must admit, at the time in which I was being called that, I did not know what it meant.

"Me being a team man, I thought, hey, team-mates are happy, it must be something funny. You can understand my frustration and my anger when it was pointed out to me that it wasn't funny at all, it was degrading.

"So, I'm going to be texting you guys, and asking you guys, when you repeatedly called me that word over and over again to the point that I was even saying that's my name, did you all mean it in any way, shape or form as a degrading word to me.”

Some, however, insisted that the player knew what the word meant after referencing a 2014 tweet in which he called himself ‘Dark Kalu’.  Others insisted the term simply meant black and had no negative connotations, while others pointed to Sammy tweeting ‘Black Bros’ followed by the fire emoji on his IG page.  Others wanted to know why it was not ok for the Ishant Sharma to refer to Sammy as kalu, when he often referred to himself as black.

Interestingly there was no mention as to whether there were skin colour references or nicknames for Dale Steyn, Brendan Taylor or Aaron Finch, white teammates of Sammy who represented the club at the time.