Race row escalates in Australia as Virat Kohli leads furious India stars in slamming ‘nasty’ and ‘pathetic’ fans after six are thrown out of the Sydney Cricket Ground for allegedly racially abusing bowler Mohammed Siraj
- Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were subject to abuse on day three of India’s third Test against Australia
- This continued on day four, with six spectators ejected from the ground
- Cricket Australia have now launched an investigation to deal with the matter
- Virat Kohli published two scathing tweets to share his anger at the incident
- Australia are closing in on victory, needing eight wickets on day five to go 2-1 up
Play was held up for ten minutes and six spectators were thrown out of the Sydney Cricket Ground after Indian seamer Mohammed Siraj complained of racial abuse on the fourth day of the third Test against Australia.
The Australian cricket authorities apologised to the Indian tourists and launched an investigation after Siraj alerted the umpires to the behaviour of a section of the crowd in the Brewongle Stand near his fielding position at fine leg.
It followed similar complaints the previous day from Siraj and team-mate Jasprit Bumrah. Police and security guards quickly became involved.
Mohammed Siraj of India stops play to make a formal complaint about spectators in the bay behind his fielding position
India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane reported the racial abuse incidents to the umpires
What was said to Siraj on Sunday remains unclear.
New South Wales Police and SCG security were seen walking the fans out of the stands after Siraj and Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane pointed them out to officials.
Siraj alleged he was abused when he headed back to the boundary after bowling the previous over – during which he was hit for two sixes by Australian batsman Cameron Green.
‘It mustn’t be nice. You’ve just been clobbered for two massive sixes,’ TV commentator Sunil Gavaskar said.
‘You go to deep fine leg trying to get over [a bad over], and someone says something to you.’
Police talk to a member of the Indian squad regarding an onfield complaint made by Siraj on Sunday
Australian cricket legend Michael Hussey said the abuse alleged by the Indian players was not welcome in the sport.
‘If there’s been abuse directed towards the players, just kick them out straight away, he said.
Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman also hit out at the abuse on Twitter.
‘Very unfortunate to see what’s happening at SCG. There is no place for this rubbish,’ he said.
‘They have been quite nasty, they have been hurling abuses as well, but this time they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuse,’ said Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
‘It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. This must be definitely dealt with an iron fist. And we must make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Umpires Paul Wilson, left, and Paul Reiffel talk with a ground security guard, right, as play stops on day four of the third Test (pictured in background are fans not involved with the incident)
‘Personally, I think Adelaide and Melbourne weren’t as bad. But this has been a continuous thing at Sydney. I have experienced it as well. They do tend to get nasty. I don’t know why and for what reason.
‘I was quite surprised that some sections of the crowd continuously did it, and there were no mates around them to pull them up for it. Disappointing is a very, very mild word, I must say.’
Watching at home in India, where he is on paternity leave, captain Virat Kohli tweeted: ‘Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary lines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour. It’s sad to see this happen on the field.’
‘The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once,’ he continued.
Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman took to Twitter to reveal his disgust at what happened
That responsibility looks to be falling on the shoulders of Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll, who has insisted it will be dealt with.
‘The abuse of cricketers by crowd members is not acceptable,’ he said. ‘We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating.
‘It is most regrettable that an otherwise excellent Test match contested in tremendous spirit by two friendly rivals has been tarnished by the actions of a small number of spectators over the past two days.
‘As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team.’
India captain Virat Kohli expressed his fury after players were abused in Test against Australia
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin says the crowd went one step too far in their abuse
Australia’s coach Justin Langer said: ‘We have seen [it] in different parts of the world. It is really sad to see this happening in Australia.’
In Sri Lanka, his England counterpart Chris Silverwood added: ‘There is no room in any sport, particularly cricket, for any discrimination or racism, so it is good to see it acted on.’
Asked whether he had any concerns about what lay in store for Jofra Archer during the Ashes in Australia later this year, he replied: ‘No. No concerns.’
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