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.
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”.
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.”
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.”
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.
ICC Probes Racist Abuse After Fans Ejected From Sydney Test The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ International Business Times.