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ICC condemns racial abuse of Indian players after fans ejected from Sydney Test, launches probes

It was not immediately clear what had been said, but six men were seen being removed from their seats and CA said a number of spectators had been interviewed by police.

Published: 10th January 2021 02:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2021 05:44 PM   |  A+A-

Police escort spectators from the stands during play on day four of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Police escort spectators from the stands during play on day four of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

SYDNEY: Cricket chiefs have launched an investigation into allegations of racist abuse of the India team from sections of the crowd in the third Test, after six people were ejected and play halted for nearly 10 minutes Sunday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) probe followed Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah apparently being targeted while they fielded by the boundary ropes of the Sydney Cricket Ground late Saturday.

The ICC in a statement "strongly condemned" the reported abuse.

"There is no place for discrimination in our sport and we are incredibly disappointed that a small minority of fans may think that this abhorrent behaviour is acceptable," wrote ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney.

"We will provide Cricket Australia and the relevant authorities with our full support in any ensuing investigation as we will not tolerate any racism in our sport,” he added.

In a second incident, play was halted just before the tea break on Sunday when Siraj ran from the fine leg boundary towards the umpires, pointing into the crowd.

It was not immediately clear what had been said, but six men were seen being removed from their seats and Cricket Australia (CA) said a number of spectators had been interviewed by police before they were thrown out.

"While we await the outcome of the investigation by NSW Police, CA has launched its own inquiry into the matter," said CA's head of integrity and security Sean Carroll, calling the episode "regrettable".

WATCH | Group of spectators asked to leave SCG after racial abuse against Siraj, Bumrah

Cricket Australia earlier issued an apology to India and said anyone found guilty of racist abuse would face consequences, including bans, other sanctions and referral to police.

"Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour," said Carroll.

"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," he added. 

"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."

ALSO READ | Harbhajan Singh says Australian fans made fun of his religion, skin colour

The Times of India newspaper said that the fans on Saturday had been drunk. "Bumrah and Siraj were called monkeys, wanker and motherf***** by the people almost throughout the time they were fielding," it claimed.

Australian coach Justin Langer said such antics had no place in sport.

"It's upsetting and it's disappointing," he said.

"Anybody who knows me, knows I've said for years one of my greatest pet hates in life is that people think they can come to a sporting event, pay their money and think they can abuse or say whatever they like.

"I've hated it as a player, I hate it as a coach. We've seen it in different parts of the world and I'm really sad to see it happen in Australia."

ALSO READ: Faced racism in Sydney earlier too, needs to be dealt with iron fist, says Indian bowler Ashwin

Australian great Shane Warne called the crowd behaviour on Saturday shameful.

"Disgraceful to be honest, absolutely disgraceful," he said while commentating on the match. "Let's hope they come down heavy and find the culprits."

Only 10,000 fans -- a quarter of the capacity -- have been allowed into the Sydney Cricket Ground each day due to coronavirus concerns, making their chants and shouts more clearly heard.



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