Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy says his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates in India called him "kalu" (black man in Hindi) in Twenty20 tournament in 2013 and 2014.

Daren Sammy says top cricket body must raise awareness of the fight against racism.
Daren Sammy says top cricket body must raise awareness of the fight against racism. (AFP Archive)

Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy says he has accepted a former teammate's explanation of a potentially racist nickname he was given at the Sunrisers Hyderabad and hopes the issue can be used to educate players about racism.

Earlier this week, the 36-year-old sought clarification from his former teammates over the nickname used for him when he was part of the Indian Premier League franchise from 2013-14.

Sammy has dropped the idea of an apology, after hearing that the word can be used as a friendly nickname as well as an insult.

'Looking at ways to educate'

Sammy said he did not know the meaning of a Hindi word that some unnamed Sunrisers teammates would call him and only became aware of its racial connotations after watching a TV show that discussed the issue.

"I'm please(d) to say that I've had a really interesting conversation with one of the guys and we are looking at ways to educate rather than focusing on the negatives," Sammy tweeted.

Racism in sport

"My brother reassured me that he operated from a place of love and I believe him."

But he said "it doesn't take away the fact that certain words that are being used could come across as degrading because of the colour of your skin."

"Why must my people endure 400 years of slavery and still have to adapt? Why is it always the people of colour that have to adapt to oppression?" Sammy told ESPNcricinfo.

Several athletes have spoken out about racism in sport and society after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a white policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis.

Raising awareness

Sammy urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to raise awareness of the fight against racism, giving it the same attention as its anti-corruption drive.

"We have always had the anti-racism in the code of conduct of the ICC. You hear it every time it has been recited," said Sammy.

"But to make it a subject of discussion – like match-fixing and all these things are a subject that is given special attention."

ICC said it will take a "common-sense approach" to on-field protests over the killing of Floyd when international cricket resumes next month in England.

"Just like George Floyd been murdered and the world witnessed it and the uprising and the movement that it has caused is the bigger picture," Sammy said.

"Right now people of colour, the minorities, feel for once they could say something and be heard."

'Racism comes from ignorance'

The Sunrisers Hyderabad and Indian cricket board (BCCI) officials Reuters contacted declined to comment.

While none of India's frontline cricketers have commented on the issue, soccer captain Sunil Chhetri stressed the need to confront any racist behaviour.

"Racism comes from ignorance," Chhetri said in a statement issued by the country's football federation.

"If I see someone being racist, I would get hold of them and explain to them why what they are doing is wrong," said the striker. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies