Former Indian wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer has spoken out about his experiences battling racism while playing county cricket in England. Engineer joined England’s Lancashire County club in the early 1960s and appeared in 175 games for them during a period in which the team won four Gillette Cups and he went on to win two John Player League titles.
Engineer was the target of racial remarks. However, his sharp wit, as well as his runs, catches, and stumpings put a stop to it, and he feels proud for the time he spent with Lancashire.
“When I first came into county cricket, there were question marks like ‘he is from India?’ I did face it (racist comments) once or twice when I joined Lancashire. Nothing very personal, but just because I was from India. It had to do with making fun of my accent.“
“I think my English is better than most Englishmen really, so soon they realized that you don’t mess around with Farokh Engineer. They got the message. I gave it back to them straight away. Not only that, I proved myself with my bat and gloves as well. I was simply proud I put India on the map as an ambassador for the country,” said Farokh Engineer.
IPL brought a shift in attitude among the International cricketers: Farokh Engineer
According to Engineer, Indian cricketers encountered racism in international cricket as well. In a recent podcast with stand-up comedian, TV anchor, and broadcaster Cyrus Broacha, he discussed how former England opener Geoffrey Boycott was regularly overheard yelling “bloody Indians”.
Engineer is amazed by how rapidly international cricketers have changed their mindset due to contracts handed by the IPL franchises.
“We were all ‘bloody Indians’ to them till a few years ago. Now once the IPL started, they are all licking our backsides. It amazes me that just because of the money, they are licking our boots now. But people like me know what their true colors were initially. Now they suddenly changed their tunes. India is a good country to go for a few months and do some television work, if not play and make money,” added Farokh Engineer.
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