Australia should use cricket clout to end racist attacks against Indian students: Roebuck

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Sydney, Feb.2 (ANI): Australia needs to start addressing the real issues.

According to cricket columnist Peter Roebuck, the killing of Indian students in Melbourne, the assault of a Pakistani player in Perth, has dominated headlines around the world, dragging the continent's reputation into the mud. This, he says, cannot continue, whether in cricket or outside of the sport.

Roebuck says in his article for the Sydney Morning Herald: "Our country has a dark side that includes a racism that cannot be denied and a fondness for grog that goes beyond taste. A lot of people drink not for pleasure but for the stories told next day. Indeed, drunkenness is glorified. What else is Schoolies Week?

"Cricket inhabits a fraught and fractured world, and every nation needs to be on guard. Australia is not alone in its dubious elements but it has a powerful voice and a strong team, and so tends to attract both high praise and harsh censure. It is a predominantly Anglo-Saxon nation, and needs to be mindful that other countries spent hundreds of years under the yoke and have emerged with acute sensitivities," he adds.

Calling on Australian cricket to put its house in order, Roebuck says Australia must understand that India is a close friend, war ally, trading partner and respected cricketing rival.

"It's no use Australians pointing out that the Indian students have been attacked by small gangs of malcontents or that they are also assaulted in Durban, or that Indians themselves are far from perfect, or that most Australians are hospitable. The attacks happen, make headlines, reinforce a caricature and need to be confronted," he says.

"Shane Warne had the right idea. Australians cricketers ought to become messengers of peace and harmony. And the same applies to Indian cricketers. They cannot sit back and watch the game implode.

Strong action needs to be taken against all racism," he adds.

"CA ought not to tiptoe around the issue. As far as the immediate incident in Perth is concerned, the issues are both national and local. Nor can the WACA escape retribution. Plain and simple, the attack on the Pakistanis was dangerous, and insufficient steps were taken to prevent it. Heads rolled when Delhi provided a rotten pitch. Heads ought to roll after incidents of this sort," Roebuck said further.

"As the strongest cricket nation in the world, with a sturdy structure and a large pool of superb players, Australia has a wonderful chance to lead the way towards the respect between races and religions that has long been the primary aim of the broad-minded," he concludes. (ANI)

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