Indian-origin Sandhu says Oz cricket fast losing 'pale and stale' image

Sydney, Sept 8 : Indian-origin Australian first-class cricketer Gurinder Sandhu has said that Australian cricket is fast losing its 'pale and stale' image with increasing cultural diversity in the team, which more accurately reflects modern Australian society.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Cricket Australia (CA) is investing strongly in expanding its cultural ties amid recent reactions that suggest many Australians could benefit from a better understanding of the value of inclusiveness.

The report said that Fawad Ahmed's desire to not wear an alcohol logo was met with widespread ignorance from many people, including prominent sports personalities, while Usman Khawaja's shelving was termed as 'Australia's experiment with their immigrant population'.

But Sandhu, a New South Wales player and a Steve Waugh medallist, said that players with non-white origins still can make it to the top in Australian cricket with enough support and considerably less racism, adding that a person nowadays does not have to be a white Australian to play for Australia.

According to Sandhu, having players from other nationalities in the team adds a bit of flavour, adding that having more involvement from different communities will make Australian cricket and other sports stronger in the long run.

Stating that his CA marketing job included attending cultural festivals and events, Sandhu also said that the important thing is to let people know that just because a person is not born in Australia and has Asian or other identities, it does not mean that he should not play for Australia.

Sandhu, whose parents are from India, had reportedly taken part in the NSW-organised three-day Country Blitz, in which players disperse across regional areas to encourage people to play and had also recently worked at an academy in India with Craig McDermott and Glenn McGrath.

Sandhu, Ahmed, Khawaja and Blues player Josh Lalor, who is indigenous, has reportedly been given marketing contracts by CA under which they do promotional appearances and there are similar deals with players from the Southern Stars national women's team.

--ANI (Posted on 08-09-2013)

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