India opening batsman Abhinav Mukund has lashed out at social media trolls for comments he received on his skin tone and has called for a change in people's mindset.
The 27-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman posted a statement on Twitter late on Wednesday, saying that he had wanted to address the issue for a while.
"Ever since I was young, people's obsession with my skin colour has always been a mystery to me," said Mukund, who has played seven Tests for India.
"Anyone who follows cricket would understand the obvious. I have played and trained day in and day out in the sun and not even once have I regretted the fact that I have tanned or lost a couple of shades.
"It is simply because I love what I do and I have been able to achieve certain things only because I have spent hours outdoors."
Mukund, who hails from Chennai, considered one of the hottest places in India, said he had been subject to a lot of "name-calling".
"There were many times when I chose not to dignify these insults with responses," said Mukund, who is with the Indian squad in Sri Lanka, adding that the problem had grown with the rise of social media.
"Today I am speaking up not just for me but for many from our country who experience ridicule based on the colour of one's skin.
"Fair is not the only lovely or handsome guys! Stay true, stay focussed and be comfortable in your own skin."
READ MORE ON CRICKET:
- Indoor Cricket World Cup: Vikrant Shetty chooses UAE over India
- Special report: Paul Radley on the stars of street cricket
He later clarified his post had nothing to do with the team's dressing room or politics.
India captain Virat Kohli and teammates voiced their support for Mukund's stand.
"Very well said Abhinav," Kohli tweeted.