By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 11 December 2021: Cricket lovers are outraged over a racial incident at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on the 4th day of the India-Australia Test match when alleged incidents of racism happened. Both Cricket Australia and the ICC have condemned the incident and the matter is being investigated by Cricket Australia.
A report in The Hindu (The Evening Wrap, Sunday 10, January 2021) says, “On Day 4, play was halted for a few minutes after Indian team complained that few spectators allegedly used racial slur at Mohammed Siraj during the second session.
We have faced racism in Sydney earlier too. It needs to be dealt with iron fist,” off-spinner R. Ashwin told reporters at the post-day press conference.
Local media reported that six people were expelled from the ground by the security during the nearly 10-minute halt in the on-ground proceedings. Australian coach Justin Langer also condemned the unsavoury incident.”
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 10, 2021
Addressing the media, Team India bowler R Ashwin called for racial abuse to be dealt with strictly and spoke about how the team will approach the final day of the third Test. Video- BCCI
As the match was in progress Mohammed Siraj stopped the play and made a formal complaint to Umpire Paul Reiffel about some spectators in the bay behind his fielding position making racial slurs. What slurs were made is not known.
“The Indian team later on Saturday lodged an official complaint after the crowd at the SCG racially abused Bumrah and Siraj over the second and third day of the ongoing Pink Test. The crowd did not stop on day four of the ongoing Pink Test as Siraj along with India skipper Ajinkya Rahane had a word with umpire Paul Reiffel regarding the unruly behaviour of the crowd.
Visuals on television indicated that there were some words spoken for Siraj who was fielding near the boundary rope. Both the umpires then had a word with each other and the police then asked a group of men to leave the stand, ANI reports.
ANI further reports: BCCI Treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal said on Sunday, “The BCCI has taken up the matter strongly with the concerned authority. BCCI Secretary, Jay Shah, spoke to Cricket Australia Chairman Earl Eddings and expressed his concern over the incidents and both agreed that action needs to be taken against the offenders to send out a strong message that racism and discrimination do not have a place in our great sport and in any walk of society,”
Earlier, BCCI secretary Jay Shah had informed, via Twitter, that Cricket Australia has ensured him of strict action against the offenders. “Racism has no place in our great sport or in any walk of society. I’ve spoken to CricketAus and they have ensured strict action against the offenders. BCCI and Cricket Australia stand together. These acts of discrimination will not be tolerated. @SGanguly99 @ThakurArunS,” Shah tweeted.”
Cricket Australia has reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behaviour in all forms following the alleged racial abuse of members of the Indian cricket squad by a section of the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, said anyone who sought to vilify and/or harass had no place in Australian cricket.
“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour,” Carroll said. “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 apologize to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent.”
Kerrie Mather, Venues NSW’s Chief Executive, said CCTV footage was being reviewed to assist the ICC investigation.
“At the SCG, we pride ourselves on welcoming anyone and everyone in a safe and inclusive environment,” Mather said.
“We are taking this extremely seriously. If those involved are identified, they will be banned from the SCG and all Venues NSW properties under our Act.”