Ramprakash hits out at Aussies in race row

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Ex-star admits he was victim of Aussie ‘racism’

FORMER England cricket star Mark Ramprakash has revealed he suffered racial abuse when playing against Australia.

The former Surrey star also jumped to the defence of Indian spin bowler Harbhajan Singh who was accused of racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds during the ill-tempered second Test in Sydney.

Ramprakash, whose father was born in Guyana to Indian parents, spoke of his experience in a speech at the British Asian Sports Awards.

“Of course I’ve played cricket for a long time now and you expect it (racism) now and again from a few supporters who are tanked up after drinking all day,” he was quoted as saying.

“The only time I’ve suffered any abuse of a serious racial kind in international cricket is against the Australians so I’m not sure what that says about them.”

The 38-year-old Ramprakash, whose last Test was in 2002, also said when he played against Australia he did not let their policy of “mental disintegration” affect him.

“As for the sledging, it is something that Australia have always done,” he said.

“This isn’t something which has got worse – they play the game hard and trying to put you off by sledging is the way they have always played the game.”

Ramprakash threw his support behind former Surrey teammate Harbhajan Singh, saying he believed the Indian spinner to be innocent of alleged racial abuse against Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

“I’ve played with Harbhajan for two seasons at Surrey and, having got to know him well, it’s not the kind of thing I imagine he would say,” Ramprakash said.

Harbhajan was banned for three Tests after match referee Mike Procter upheld a complaint that he called Symonds a “monkey” during the acrimonious second Test in Sydney.

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