Australia not racist, says India-born CA official

June 13th, 2009 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, June 13 (IANS) Cricket adminstrator and medical practitioner Gorur Harinath, who was awarded an Order of Australia medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Friday, does not feel the country where he achieved so much is “racist”.
Indians have been the target of violence past fortnight, but Harinath, who has been living in Australia since 1971, said he never encountered such problems.

“I don’t think Australia is a racist country, I have never experienced racism overtly - it doesn’t affect me what people say behind my back,” he was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald.

Harinath, the chairman of Cricket New South Wales and board member of Cricket Australia (CA), was awarded for his services to cricket and the community.

This nation embraced Harinath’s talents as a medical practitioner, and he in turn embraced the opportunities to get involved in the community through a mutual passion of both India and Australia - cricket.

Harinath had scarce association with the game until he arrived here, working at Mercy Hospital in Tasmania.

It was an eye-opening start in a new country. “I came from a very poor family in Hyderabad,” Harinath says. “We had a family of eight in a small house, weren’t even used to electricity, and then I came here and suddenly I’m staying in a three-bedroom house by myself.”

He found a companion in Sadiq Mohammad, the former Pakistani batsman recruited to play for the faculty team.

The pair was soon living together, and Mohammad urged Harinath to get involved in the cricket club. “It was then that I was given an insight into the inner workings of a cricket club,” Harinath says.

In 1977, Harinath joined Balmain Cricket Club (now known as Sydney Cricket Club) at the request of then Australian Cricket Board chairman Fred Bennett. Starting off as a team doctor, Harinath’s administration nous soon led to him becoming club president - a title he still retains.

In May last year, Harinath was named as the first man of Indian origin to chair Cricket NSW, one of the strongest cricket associations in the world.

In this role, and as a director of the CA board, Harinath has overseen multi-million-dollar funding grants from the state and federal governments.

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