The English cricket county of Yorkshire has grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons recently as former Asian employees of the club have alleged that there have been regular occurrences of institutional racism in the team. Taj Butt, a former Yorkshire Cricket Foundation employee has disclosed that even Cheteshwar Pujara was referred to as a 'Steve' during his stint at the county.
"They called every person of colour 'Steve'. Even [India batsman] Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called a Steve because they could not pronounce his name," Butt, who resigned within six weeks of joining as a community development officer, told ESPNCricinfo.
"[There were] continuous references to taxi drivers and restaurant workers when referring to [the] Asian community," Butt added.
Pakistan-born English cricketer Azeem Rafiq had also spoken up about instances of racism at Yorkshire last month. The 29-year-old mentioned that he was close to committing suicide after being bullied and targeted because of his race.
It is pertinent to note that former West Indian fast bowler Tino Best and former Pakistan pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan have backed Rafiq in the matter. An investigation into the allegations is currently underway, with the individuals closely associated with this development being interrogated.
Cheteshwar Pujara is not the first Indian cricketer to deal with racism
While Cheteshwar Pujara has not formally talked about this issue yet, it is not the first time that an Indian cricketer has been targeted in the sport because of his race. Former India batsman Aakash Chopra had stated that some of his teammates called him 'Paki' during his time in England.
Besides, even Irfan Pathan shared stories about the racism he faced when he was a domestic level player.