MCC president Sangakkara condemns racial abuse of Indians at SCG

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11 Jan 2021 | 11:12 PM
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PTI

MCC president Sangakkara condemns racial abuse of Indians at SCG

Sangakkara said he was fortunate enough to not face racism in his playing days

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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara condemned the incidents of Indian players being subjected to racial abuse by spectators during the third Test against Australia, demanding strong punishment against the offenders.

MCC is the guardian of the laws of the game.

"I did read about what happened with the crowd and the Indian team in the last couple of days," Sangakkara said during a virtual interaction facilitated by the Abu Dhabi T10.

"Racism in any country in any manner has to be condemned and those responsible should be strongly punished and stern action should be taken against them," said the former Sri Lanka captain.

Play was halted for a few minutes at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday after India pacer Mohammed Siraj complained of racial abuse from a section of the crowd, leading to expulsion of six spectators and an unreserved apology from Cricket Australia.

On Saturday and Sunday, Siraj and senior bowler Jasprit Bumrah were allegedly subjected to multiple abuses including racist slurs like "Brown Dog" and "Big Monkey".

Sangakkara said he was fortunate enough to not face racism in his playing days.

"During my time I was fortunate that I never came across any kind of racial abuse. I can't speak on behalf of other Sri Lankan cricketers but I personally have not been victimised in terms of racial slurs and that's true for every country I have toured," he said.

Influence of shorter formats has made Test cricket exciting to watch: Sangakkara

Sangakkara feels the advent of shorter formats has made Test cricket more exciting to watch as players are adopting an aggressive approach and deploying new shots in the red-ball games.

Players are increasingly seen playing shots like the reverse sweep and approaching Test matches with a mindset similar to the one seen in T20s and ODIs.

"If you see change in terms of scoring rates and different shots we see like reverse sweep, the paddles, the attacking mind sets, all are the result of the shorter versions. You can see the trend continues in Test cricket and it is much more exciting to watch," Sangakkara said.

Rishabh Pant's brilliant counter-attacking 97-run knock studded with 12 fours and three sixes off 118 balls in the third Test against Australia on Monday and Ben Stokes' victory-snatching 135 not out at Headingley in 2019 Ashes series could be seen as examples of the influence shorter formats are having on Test cricket.

The former wicketkeeper-batsman also highlighted the "beautiful" contrast between the batting styles of Pant and and the rock-steady Cheteshwar Pujara.

"You have batsmen like Pant really upping the ante and it's great to watch along with the traditional types like a Pujara," said Sangakkara, who will be mentoring Team Abu Dhabi in the Abu Dhabi T10, starting January 28.

"It is great to see how beautifully two different players with different mindset and technique can co-exist in one team. It is the same for formats as well," he added.

Recently, there has been a lot of debate around the wicketkeeper's slot in the Indian Test team. While Pant is explosive with the bat, Wriddhiman Saha has proven to have a safe pair of hands behind the stumps.

Asked how one should approach the twin responsibilities, Sangakkara said: "Practice. If your keeping is not up to standards, work hard on your keeping, improve it. There is no way around it. You just have to spend a bit more time, plan better and be smart about your practice

"It is the same for a specialist keeper who has to support his team by batting whatever number he bats. Improve your batting and do the job for your side."

The 43-year-old said if a player is not willing to be "mediocre" in any of the two departments of batting and keeping, he should put in the hard yards and correct the technique.

Sangakkara also weighed in on the debate surrounding the use of a short-pitch bowling, saying he would love to have an additional bouncer as it would keep the batsman guessing and spice up the proceedings.

"Another bumper, short ball in T20 cricket will be extremely exciting. There have been debates whether the bouncer will go completely out of the equation. But a second one really keeps the batsman guessing and will be a great addition and more exciting," he said.

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Kumar Chokshanada SangakkaraIndia tour of Australia, 2020/21

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