The Boxing Day Test between India and Melbourne has generated controversy off the field. On days three and four, spectators had to be ejected out of the Great Southern Stand for apparently making ‘racist’ chants at the Indian cricket team by shouting “Show us your visa”. They also targeted the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, by shouting, “Kohli is a w****r”. Now, one Australian commentator has poured fuel over the fire by mispronouncing Indian cricket players’ names and also discrediting Mayank Agarwal’s solid knock. Kerry O’Keefe, a former legspinner, who played for Australia in 24 Tests in the 1970s, has generated controversy and is getting plenty of flak from social media, mostly from Indian fans and the public.
According to a report on ESPNCricinfo, on day 4 of the Boxing Day Test, O’Keefe struggled to pronounce the names of the Indian cricket players, notably Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja. He was being made fun of by his fellow commentators. In response, he controversially blurted out, “Why would you call your kid Cheteshwar Jadeja?” The comment was followed by laughter and this has hurt the Indian cricket team, with Bharat Arun mentioning in the post-match press conference that it was beyond their control.
O’Keefe had earlier riled up the Indian cricket fans by discrediting Mayank Agarwal’s contribution during his knock of 76 on debut on day 1 of the match. Agarwal, who had scored a triple century in the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy season against Maharashtra and he had a fabulous domestic season, managing over 2000 runs. O’Keefe spoke about the triple century in a disparaging fashion, “Apparently, he got the triple (ton) against the Railways canteen staff,” the 71-year-old said at that time.
The former legspinner apologised but India coach Ravi Shastri did not let him forget about the incident. Speaking to Fox Sports, Shastri said, “When you open your canteen, he wants to come and smell the coffee. And he wants to compare it with the ones back in India … whether the coffee here is better, or should he order from back home.” O’Keefe had apologised for the remark but this incident might not go down that easily.
Twitteratis lashed out at O’Keefe’s comment and some called for his removal ahead of the Sydney Test beginning on January 3.
How boorish & racist this Kerry o Keefe be? Many Australian fans thought I was being harsh when I called him a borderline racist. The more you support perpetrators, the more emboldened they feel. Absolutely repugnant commentary.. What a turd this man bloke is. #AUSvIND https://t.co/MTqhLk1Jn8— Navneet Mundhra (@navneet_mundhra) December 29, 2018
Fox cricket commentators Mark Waugh mentioning that 50 average in India is like 40. Kerry O' Keefe saying that Mayank Aggarwal scored 300 against some canteen people & waiters ,that is just disrespectful @mhussey393 @gilly381 @bhogleharsha @FoxCricket @isaguha @melindafarrell— Ash (@Ayadav1808) December 26, 2018
It might just be me, but it's pretty uncool to ridicule the FC comp of another country while using dubious stereotypes for a cheap laugh...— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) December 26, 2018
I don't often miss Ravi Shastri in the comm box, but had he been there, you can rest assured that he would have put a joker like Kerry O' Keefe in his place. Not that Australian broadcasters would ever hire anything but a shameless cheerleader of their team for commentary.— cricBC (@cricBC) December 26, 2018