• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

‘National shame’: Australia disturbed by allegations levelled at fans evicted from SCG

Jan 10, 2021

Indian spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin has taken aim at nasty Australian cricket fans after the New Years Test match was interrupted by an ugly incident on Sunday afternoon.In the 87th over of Australia’s second innings at the SCG, Indian bowler Mohammed Siraj stopped play to call attention to an incident in the crowd.
After talking to Siraj and Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane, the umpires and a cluster of security guards quickly migrated towards the fine leg boundary.
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Players waited in the field for approximately 10 minutes as police questioned a handful of spectators in the SCG’s Brewongle Stand.
Australian captain Tim Paine at one stage looked fully prepared to march towards the fence and assist in the search for the culprits.
Eventually, four attendees were escorted from the venue before play resumed, and two other men followed them soon after.
The incident comes after India reportedly lodged a complaint to the ICC after two players allegedly faced racial abuse from the SCG crowd on Saturday.
Indian officials spoke with the ICC match officials and the stadium security after play to make the accusations.
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Speaking to reporters after day four, Ashwin said the Indian team had been subjected to abuse from Australian crowds for several years.
“The fans here tend to get nasty,” Ashwin said on Sunday evening. “I do not know why they do it.
“Until it is dealt with, people don’t find the necessity to look it in a different way.
“I was surprised to see some sections of the crowd going on with it and they were not pulled up for it, it was surprising to see.
“This issue had to be dealt with. Disappointing is a very mild word for this issue, I must say.
“This is my fourth tour to Australia and Sydney especially here, we have had these type of experiences in the past as well. I think one or two times players have reacted to this in the past and they have gotten into trouble. It is not because of the player, it is because of the way the crowd has been reacting.
“The fans have been quite nasty, but this is one occasion where they have gone one step ahead.”
Siraj missed his father’s funeral earlier this summer due to strict travel restrictions. He made his Test debut at the MCG in December.
On Sunday evening, Cricket Australia confirmed the patrons had been removed from the stadium, and NSW Police was investigating the incident. CA has launched its own inquiry into the matter.
CA’s Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll said the abuse of cricketers by crowd members was not acceptable.
“We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating,” Carroll said.
“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.”
Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Australian coach Justin Langer said the incident was “upsetting” and “disappointing”.
“It’s one of greatest my pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event … and think they can abuse and say whatever they like,” Langer said.
“It’s really sad to see it happen in Australia.”
AUSTRALIA REACTS TO ‘NATIONAL SHAME’
Sunday’s incident sparked a flood of reaction on social media, with cricket icons and supporters voicing their disgust at the allegations.
Cricket commentator and podcaster Geoff Lemon called it a “national shame” and NSW fast bowler Trent Copeland tweeted: “There’s seriously no place for this rubbish. Never understand the need to yell abuse at players on a sporting field, let alone anything like this to India. If you’re not here to watch the cricket, and can’t be respectful, get OUT.”
Former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar posted: “So disappointed with a very small part of the SCG fans, totally embarrassed.”
Cricket reporter Adam Collins tweeted: “It’s shameful that a visitor in our country — not least Siraj, who has performed so joyously at the start of his Test career — has to endure this. And anyone who plays it down … should be condemned.”
Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket: “If anyone has been throwing frightfully horrible comments around as has been alleged, I think they will be able to track down who it is — and not just the ICC, hopefully it’s the police that find out who it is.”
Australian great Michael Hussey added: “If there’s been abuse directed towards the players, just kick them out straight away. Not welcome ever.”
Cricket journalist Melinda Farrell said instances of abuse from the stands were “beyond disgusting” while ex-Australian star Alex Blackwell and broadcaster Corbin Middlemas also weighed in.
WHAT WAS SAID?
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, a spectator sitting near the fans who were ejected claimed the culprits were taunting Siraj and teammate Jasprit Bumrah, but didn’t hear anything of a racial nature.
“All these boys were doing is a bit of sledging of the player on the outfield,” the spectator said.
“They said, ‘Welcome to Sydney, Siraj’ and then he got the s**ts.”
“That was literally it. Then he walked off.”
CRICKET AUSTRALIA CONDEMNS UGLY BEHAVIOUR
Cricket Australia released a statement on Sunday afternoon, reaffirming its zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behaviour in all forms.
“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour, Carroll said.
“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.”
Venues NSW’s chief executive Kerrie Mather said CCTV footage was being reviewed to assist the ICC investigation into Saturday’s alleged remarks.
“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.”