Former Australia leg-spinner has landed in hot water after he made a reference to one of Cheteshwar Pujara’s nicknames ‘Steve’ while commentating on day one of the ongoing first Test between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval. Pujara was given the name by his former Yorkshire teammates.
It was recently revealed that the name ‘Steve’ was a racist term coined by the players at Yorkshire to call the players of colour. And Shane Warne raised a number of eyebrows by making a casual reference when he was on air for Fox Cricket along with his fellow commentators.
The legendary spinner said that Cheteshwar is not the easiest name to pronounce and the India star was called Steve by his teammates in the English side. He probably seemed to have missed that fact the issue is in the news, and certainly not as a joke.
And while Shane Warne shared a laugh with his colleagues after making the reference, it has not gone down too well with the fans. This is not the first time, something like this has happened with Pujara. During India’s last tour of Australia, Kerry O’Keefe had faced the flak for his remarks surrounding the pronunciation of the batsman’s name.
Earlier, former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq had filed a case against Yorkshire, claiming he was discriminated against on the basis of race at the club. Later, two former Yorkshire employees – Taj Butt and Tony Bowry – had provided evidence against the club which has institutionalised racism. Butt had said that the Yorkshire players called Pujara Steve.
“(There were) continuous references to taxi drivers and restaurant workers when referring to (the) Asian community,” Butt was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“They called every person of colour ‘Steve’. Even (India batsman) Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, Shane Warne’s comments has not gone down well with the fans who have not only slammed him but have also asked him to issue an apology:
Here are some reactions to Shane Warne’s comment:
Hey @ShaneWarne, the story behind the "Steve" nickname for Pujara.
"They called every person of colour 'Steve'. Even [India batsman] Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name." This is as of Dec 2020.
— Prashant Kondi (@PrasKon) December 17, 2020
Goes on to show what is the importance of reading at least about the sport that earns you bread and butter. @7Cricket commentators @ShaneWarne and others are laughing about Pujara's nickname 'Steve' and I am optimistic that they're naive about the racist context of that name. https://t.co/yyWbFrqpJI
— Mayank (@kmayank9) December 17, 2020
Referring to Pujara as ‘Steve’ is:
Learn to say his name
— Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee) December 17, 2020
Appears fox sports aus isn’t aware the nickname of pujura was raised in the recent Yorkshire racial inquest. @MarkHoward03 @ShaneWarne @juniorwaugh349 .. I’ll sit tight for the apology from @FoxCricket @FOXSportsAUS pujara has said it caused offence and hurt him at the time.
— alastair turner (@thedockers2011) December 17, 2020
— broskijo (@broskijo2) December 17, 2020
@FoxCricket commentators calling Pujara as Steve again on air and giggling shows once more how racist these people are. Morons of the highest order! @ShaneWarne @gilly381 @bcci @ICC#AUSvIND #Cricket #Adelaidetest #AUSvsIND #INDvsAUS #INDvAUS #racism #Australia #India
— MoodKaDude (@rajas_alshi) December 17, 2020