Shane Warne plunged into racism storm over Cheteshwar Pujara nickname of 'Steve' because of difficulty pronouncing name

AUSSIE great Shane Warne was caught in a race row while commentating Down Under today.

The leg spin legend referred to batsman Cheteshwar Pujara as 'Steve' during the first Test between Australia and India.


The nickname was given to Pujara during his stint with Yorkshire in English County Cricket because his name was hard to pronounce.

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq this week filed a legal complaint against the club alleging racism and discrimination.

The Pakistan-born spinner's claims were backed by other ex-Yorkshire cricketers and staff.

According to Sky Sports, ex-Yorkshire employee Taj Butt said: "They called every person of colour 'Steve'.

"Even Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name."

And viewers of Thursday's first Test at the Adelaide Oval labelled Warne's comments as 'unprofessional' and 'racist'.

One fan wrote on Twitter: "Referring to Pujara as ‘Steve’ is: a) unprofessional, b) disrespectful, c) racist. Learn to say his name."





Another tweet read: "Hey Shane Warne, the story behind the 'Steve' nickname for Pujara. 'They called every person of colour "Steve". Even [India batsman] Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name.' This is as of Dec 2020."

And another social media post said: "Shane Warne mate you need to apologise to Pujara, laughing at Steve as a nickname is racist just because you can't say his name. Ffs do better."

Warne, 51, took 708 Test wickets in a stellar career for Australia before retiring in 2007.

He has since played and coached in the Indian Premier League, leading Rajasthan Royals to victory in the maiden tournament in 2008.

Warne has turned into a broadcaster and media personality as well, including working for Sky Sports on coverage of England home internationals.

India closed day one of the first Test against Australia 233-6 after winning the toss and electing to bat.

It's the first of four Test matches between the cricket powerhouses after Australia won the ODI series and India got the better of the T20s.

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