Cricket: 'We were all bloody Indians to them, since IPL they are licking our boots' - Farokh Engineer reacts to England's racism row

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jun 09, 2021, 01:04 PM(IST)

Cricket: 'We were all bloody Indians to them, since IPL they are licking our boots' - Farokh Engineer reacts on England's racism row Photograph:( AFP )

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Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer has expressed his shock after England PM Boris Johnson disagreed with Ollie Robinson’s suspension from international cricket by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over racist and sexist historical tweets. Engineer further revealed how he faced racism during his time with Lancashire in County cricket as he said that it is due to the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) that many overseas cricketers have mellowed down their tone towards Indians.

Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer has expressed his shock after England PM Boris Johnson disagreed with Ollie Robinson’s suspension from international cricket by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over racist and sexist historical tweets. Engineer further revealed how he faced racism during his time with Lancashire in County cricket as he said that it is due to the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) that many overseas cricketers have mellowed down their tone towards Indians.

“I am reading in the papers about Boris Johnson. I think it is absolute rubbish for a prime minister to lend his name to such a statement. Punish the fellow (Robinson). I think the ECB has done absolutely the right thing by suspending him. He has committed an error of judgement, he should pay for it. It will be a deterrent,” Engineer told The Indian Express.

The 27-year-old English pacer Ollie Robinson had made racist and sexist remarks on Twitter when he was 18-year-old. While many have supported Robinson’s heartfelt apology during the Day 1 of the first Test between England and New Zealand when the controversial tweets resurfaced again on the social media platform, Engineer said that 18 is an age at which an individual is responsible.

Engineer further revealed that he was also subjected to racist remarks when he first came to play County cricket with Lancashire back in the day.

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“It is a real shame when you say he was a youngster who was 18 (when he tweeted). It is an age at which an individual is responsible. If they (cricketers) can get away with it, then things would be worse. People will make all sorts of comments against us (Asians). It has to be nipped in the bud. To talk about Asians like that in such a context or make other comments reflects on the upbringing,” Engineer, who played 46 Tests for India, says.

“I am not saying ban them for life, but certainly give them a hefty fine where it hurts their wallet and suspend them from Test cricket for a series or from First-Class cricket for a while. Be strict about it.”

“When I first came into county cricket, there were question marks like ‘he is from India?’ I did face it (racist comments) once or twice when I joined Lancashire. Nothing very personal, but just because I was from India. It had to do with making fun of my accent. I think my English is better than most Englishmen really, so soon they realised that you don’t mess around with Farokh Engineer. They got the message. I gave it back to them straightaway. Not only that, I proved myself with my bat and gloves as well. I was simply proud I put India on the map as an ambassador for the country.”

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Engineer, in a recent podcast with Cyrus Broacha, had mentioned how Boycott was often heard saying ‘bloody Indians’. But the former India international said that the IPL has made foreign players cosy up to the Indians just because it pays life-changing amount to them.

“Boycott’s comment… well it was a common thing. I don’t want to make an issue about only Boycott. The others, even if they didn’t say it, they thought of it. He was not the only one, there were a few others, including Australians as well.”

“We were all ‘bloody Indians’ to them till a few years ago. Now once the IPL started, they are all licking our backsides. It amazes me that just because of the money, they are licking our boots now. But people like me know what their true colours were initially. Now they suddenly changed their tunes. India is a good country to go for a few months and do some television work, if not play and make money.”

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