‘Racial rift between Kolkata Knight Riders coaches, players’

Shah Rukh Khan’s struggling Knight Riders franchise, already hit by a series of controversies, is now being sensationally accused of racial discrimination targeted at Indian players in the team.

In what could potentially be the most damaging criticism yet of the environment within the team, former India player Ajay Jadeja told a TV channel on Monday that he had “definite proof” Indian players in the team were being racially discriminated against by the support staff of the team, led by former Aussie coach John Buchanan.

Jadeja claimed a member of the KR foreign coaching staff had used racially loaded language for an Indian player. “I am an Indian player. I know so many players in the Knight Riders team. One player was asked to come off the field. When he asked why, one of the KR coaches told him, ‘You Indian, you do what I ask you to do’,” Jadeja said.

Jadeja insisted he had the information from players themselves. “There is definitely a divide. I know it from the source himself. So the players are not feeling comfortable. There is divide between Indian and foreign players and there is a divide between thought processes.

“I mean Sourav Ganguly has a different thought process and you can see that. This team is divided. There is no doubt about it,” Jadeja added.

The bottom-placed KR have won only one game – via the D/L method – out of 10 amid contentious multi-skipper theories, an obvious move to sideline icon player and first-season skipper Sourav Ganguly and widespread criticism from Sunil Gavaskar, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath of director of cricket John Buchanan’s motives and methods.

Adding insult to injury has been a vitriolic blogger who has laid bare the divisions in the camp. Jadeja’s allegation comes in the wake of the team deciding to send back the likes of Indian players Akash Chopra and Sanjay Bangar. “You don’t need a blogger (to know all this),” Jadeja said, “The Indian players are being treated very badly.”

Maybe it’s time the owners finally sat and took notice of the mess they have landed into with Buchanan as director of cricket operations.

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