The scenes at the famed Sydney Cricket Ground again turned sour on the fourth day of the ongoing Sydney Test after play was halted due to alleged racial abuse towards India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj on Sunday.
After allegations surfaced on Saturday, Siraj complained of abuse while fielding on the fine leg boundary during the second session on Sunday. After both he and his skipper Rahane had a talk with umpire Paul Reiffel, play was paused for around eight minutes.
Subsequently, Siraj also pointed out in the crowd where the words were said. The New South Wales (NSW) Police then evicted six people from their seats.
I hope these incidents of racist abuse are investigated and addressed immediately. Apparently it isn't difficult to find out who these idiots were. Expecting a quick resolution because that is what Cricket Australia would want too.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 9, 2021
Tum karo toh Sarcasm , aur koi Kare toh Racism .
Very unfortunate with what some of the Australian crowd has been doing at the SCG and spoiling the vibes of a good test series. pic.twitter.com/mrDTbX4t7i
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 10, 2021
“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour,” said Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security. “If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.
“CA is awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council’s investigation into the matter reported at the SCG on Saturday. Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our Anti-Harassment Code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.
“As series hosts, we unreservedly apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent.”
Very unfortunate to see what’s happening at SCG. There is no place for this rubbish. Never understood the need to yell abuse at players on a sporting field.. If you’re not here to watch the game and can’t be respectful, then pls don’t come and spoil the atmosphere. #AUSvIND
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) January 10, 2021
Com’on spectators, we can all do better. The game of cricket is about celebrating EVERYONE and not abusing. #Unacceptable
P.s. Getting to watch cricket live from the stadium is a privilege in these difficult times, honour it.
— Shikha Pandey (@shikhashauny) January 10, 2021
Earlier on Saturday, the BCCI had lodged a complaint after Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were allegedly abused with racial jibes on the third day of action.
At Day 3 stumps, Rahane reported the misdeed to the on-field umpires after a long discussion with the senior players of the visiting contingent.
“BCCI lodged a formal complaint with ICC match referee David Boon about two of their players Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj being abused by a drunk spectator,” a source had told PTI.
Back in 2008, the racism row of “Monkeygate” had rocked an India-Australia series in Sydney. Andrew Symonds had accused Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing him and calling him a monkey. After a courtroom battle, Harbhajan was handed a three-Test ban but he was eventually cleared of the charge and the ban was overturned.
On the pitch, Australia were on top after setting a massive target of 407 for India to chase. Led by Cameron Green’s 84 and Steve Smith’s 81, Australia declared on 312/6 in the second session of the fourth day of action.