Sports

Australia v India racial abuse SCG Test Mohammed Siraj crowd ejections

Cricket Australia has launched an investigation in parallel with NSW Police into a crowd incident at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Play paused for more than 10 minutes on the stroke of tea when clearly agitated India quick Mohammed Siraj spoke to captain Ajinkya Rahane and umpires Paul Wilson and Paul Reiffel about the crowd’s behaviour.

The six fans ejected from the SCG for alleged racial abuse on day four of the third Test did not make any racist comments, two spectators within earshot have told The Sydney Morning Herald.

But Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, said the allegations made by the Indian team would be investigated to their fullest extent.

“The abuse of cricketers by crowd members is not acceptable,” Carroll said.

“We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating.

“A number of spectators were interviewed by NSW Police and subsequently removed from the SCG on Sunday afternoon.

“While we await the outcome of the investigation by NSW Police, CA has launched its own inquiry into the matter.

“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.”

It’s the second potential incident of abuse in the third Test being investigated by the International Cricket Council, after it was reported Siraj and fellow India paceman Jasprit Bumrah had copped racial abuse on days two and three.

SCG spectators marched by police

But spectator Rishi Aryan told The Sydney Morning Herald the day four allegations were incorrect.

“All these boys were doing is a bit of sledging of the player on the outfield,” Mr Aryan said.

“First it was (Jasprit) Bumrah then they had a sledge against Siraj. They kept calling him Shiraz and all that crap. Next thing you know they said: ‘Welcome to Sydney, Siraj’ and then he got the shits.

“That was literally it. Then he walked off. I don’t know why (the police kicked the men out). Next thing you know you see police everywhere.

“It didn’t make sense. It was confusing.”

Another unnamed spectator also believed nothing racist was said, backing Mr Aryan’s claims that the phrase “Welcome to Sydney, Siraj” was used.

The International Cricket Council “strongly condemned” the reported incidents of racism and offered Cricket Australia all necessary support in investigating the incidents.

“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,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said.

“We have a comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Policy in place that Members have to abide by and ensure is adhered to by fans and we welcome the action taken by ground authorities and Cricket Australia today.

“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.”

Australian cricket great Michael Hussey spearheaded calls for serious action to be taken if racial abuse had been perpetrated.

“Get security around there and if there’s been any abuse directed at the players, kick them out straight away,” Hussey said on Fox Cricket.

Former England international Isa Guha backed Hussey up.

“One thing that is certain is that there’s no place for racism, anywhere,” Guha said.

“We have the right protocols in place.

“It was the right call for Siraj to come up and speak to the captain and umpire.”

Cricket Australia today released a statement regarding yesterday’s reports of racial abuse.

“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour,” head of integrity and security Sean 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 apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent.”

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