The cricketer, who is a part of the CSK IPL team, was asked about his relationship with Chennai culture as he joined the commentary team for a game of Tamil Nadu Premier League.

Cricketer Suresh RainaFacebook/Suresh Raina
news Cricket Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 15:08

Former Indian international cricketer Suresh Raina has drawn flak over a comment mentioning his Brahmin caste, when asked about his relationship with Chennai culture. Raina, who has been playing for the IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) since 2008, made the comment during a game of the ongoing fifth season of TNPL (Tamil Nadu Premier League), where he was invited to join the commentary team. Thirty-four-year-old Raina, who is from Uttar Pradesh, was asked by the commentators about how he had embraced Chennai culture. In response, Raina said, “I am also Brahmin. I’ve lived in and I’ve seen (Chennai), I’ve been playing since 2004 in Chennai. I love the culture, I love my teammates.” His comment has drawn flak for conflating Chennai culture with the Brahmin caste, and has also been criticised as a display of caste pride from a member of a dominant caste. 

Raina was invited to join the commentary team on Monday, July 19 for the opening game of the fifth season of TNPL, between Lyca Kovai Kings and Salem Spartans. Speaking about how Raina has worn a veshti, danced and whistled as part of the CSK team (‘whistle podu’ being the CSK’s cheer slogan), a commentator asked Raina, “How have you embraced south Indian culture? We’ve seen you wear veshti, we’ve seen you dance a lot, we’ve seen you whistle. How have you embraced the Chennai culture?” Raina began his reply by stating he is “also Brahmin.” He went on to say he loved the culture of Chennai and his CSK teammates, and said he was lucky to be part of CSK while praising its administration. 

In April 2020, Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja was criticised for flaunting his caste pride, when he posted a video clip where he was seen swinging a sword to the background music of a song from Baahubali. The caption accompanying the video read, “A “SWORD” MAY LOOSE IT’S SHINE,BUT WOULD NEVER DISOBEY IT’S MASTER #rajputboy (sic).” Jadeja was criticised for blatantly exhibiting caste pride. It was also pointed out that many oppressed castes have historically been denied the right to bear arms. The Indian cricket fraternity has been criticised for the disproportionate upper caste composition among players and administration over the years. 

Read: Where is India’s Marcus Rashford? Sports stars enjoy hero status but rarely speak out

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