As Azeem Rafiq outlined the details of institutional racism at Yorkshire on Tuesday (November 16), a clip of India stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara from his time with the English county club back in 2018 has fallen under scrutiny.
The clip is being looked at a lot differently now to how it was perceived when it first came to light as Pujara revealed he was nicknamed “Steve” by his teammates.
Initially seen in fun and games, the clip from an interview of Pujara is being looked at as a case of casual racism against the Indian cricketer, with similarities found from one of Rafiq’s own experiences at the club.
Also Read – Deliberate Or Inadvertent: There Should Be No Room For Racism In The Sport
Cheteshwar Pujara’s Yorkshire nickname revelation resembles one of many incidents Azeem Rafiq faced
In an interview, Cheteshwar Pujara confirmed that he has been nicknamed “Steve” by his Yorkshire teammates because they find it difficult to pronounce his first name. Pujara grinned and laughed about it but quietly let it be known that he prefers to be called Cheteshwar only.
They call me Steve! Cheteshwar Pujara jokes about how his Yorkshire team-mates struggle to pronounce his real name pic.twitter.com/X1EsxnqMiJ
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) April 6, 2018
Similarity here is in Azeem Rafiq’s revelation during a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday that his teammate Gary Ballance used to describe his non-white colleagues as “Kevin” inside the dressing room. Rafiq also confirmed that Alex Hales was one of the first players to pick up on it and named his dog “Kevin” because of his dark shades, something he personally found “disgusting”.
Like Rafiq, Cheteshwar Pujara said the name “Steve” was started by Jake Brooks before others made it a norm. But he made it clear, he “would personally prefer Cheteshwar”.
Pujara is fondly called “Puj” or “Puji” in the Indian dressing room, which he said is the name even Yorkshire teammates referred to him with for a bit but they ultimately revert to calling him “Steve”.
In his testimony for the case pertinent to institutional racism at Yorkshire to Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee hearing, one of many revelations that Rafiq made concerned the Asian cricketers of the club being referred with English nicknames by their teammates.
At one point in the hearing, Rafiq alleged that former England skipper Michael Vaughan had looked at a set of Asian players and said “there are too many of you” at the club. Vaughan denied making any racist comments to a Yorkshire cricketer, including Rafiq, in his column for The Telegraph. But the allegation by Rafiq has since been corroborated by two other Asian cricketers, namely Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Adil Rashid.