Former Sri Lanka legend and Team Abu Dhabi mentor Kumar Sangakkara condemned the racial abuse in sports and urged stern action against the offenders.
Sangakkara is regarded as one of the greatest wicket-keeper batsmen to have graced the game with more than 12,000 runs in Tests and 10,000 in ODIs under his belt.
Sanga was addressing the media through a Zoom conference on Monday.
He joined Team Abu Dhabi as a mentor ahead of the fourth edition of the AD T10. The former Sri Lanka great poured his heart out in a candid conversation, giving an unbiased view on a range of subjects.
“I read what happened to Indian players in Australia in the last two days. Racism in any country in any form is not acceptable. Culprits should punished and stern actions should be taken against them,” said Sangakkara.
Few Indian players were racially abused by the Australian fans during the third Test. The issue has snowballed with BCCI getting involved.
However, Sangakkara ruled out himself being a victim of racism during his playing days.
“I have been lucky in that regard. I never had to face any such issue. I can’t speak on behalf of other team-mates but I personally have not been victimised in terms of racial slurs and that’s true for every country I have toured,” said the president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the rules of the game.
Sangakkara’s then team-mate and another Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan was allegedly abused racially Down Under several times.
He even skipped the Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia in 2004 because of the same reason.
Sangakkara also asserted to be relishing the role of a mentor at Team Abu Dhabi. Team Abu Dhabi are relatively new entrants in the tournament as they joined the league only when the tourney was moved to Abu Dhabi.
“It is all about a bit of shoulder tapping and holding the hands to encourage the players at the back stage. Encouraging them to do even better and bringing the best out of them,” apprised the former wicket-keeper.
He also said they are confident of winning the title and they will go into the tournament with a positive frame of mind.
“We have a very strong squad and world class players in our line-up.
We will be one of the most serious contenders for the title this time around,” he stressed.
Team Abu Dhabi have swashbuckling West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, England’s Alex Hales and Kiwi Chris Morris in their star-studded line-up.
MCC chief also stressed that it would interesting to see a little tweaking in the bouncer rules to give some reprieve to the bowlers, who have been reduced to mere cannon fodders with advent of the shorter formats.
He also said in this format of the game, players have to come out with an aggressive mindset to dominate the proceedings from the word go.
“In T10 cricket, you have to be aggressive from the beginning as there is cushion of settling down like T20 matches. It is all about hitting the ball and scoring runs as quick as possible,” he concluded.