Acting PM panned over 'bizarre' response to cricket abuse claims

Chris Young
·4-min read
Acting PM Michael McCormack is pictured left, and Mohammed Siraj on the right.
Acting PM Michael McCormack said he hopes the racism controversy at the SCG won't affect Australia's chances of winning the third Test - to the bemusement of some. Pictures: Getty Images

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has been criticised for a bizarre suggestion after he was asked for his thoughts on the behaviour of the SCG crowd during the third Test.

For the second day in a row, the Indian team complained of being targeted with racist abuse from sections of the crowd, with six men removed from the ground while play was going on Sunday afternoon.

WHOOPS: Aussie stars caught in on-field mockery of Warne furore

UPDATE: Video emerges amid investigation into SCG crowd

It was later reported the group had targeted bowler Mohammed Siraj with racist insults and heckling.

Asked about the unfolding drama on Monday, McCormack said there was ‘no place’ for racism in Australian sport, but then bizarrely added that he hoped the events would not distract the Australian team.

The deputy PM said ‘if racist remarks have been made, then the appropriate action has taken place’ before pivoting to the home team’s chances.

“Australia’s performance in this Test so far has been very solid – the team won’t be distracted by this as it pushes on to victory,” he said.

This comment drew a bemused reaction from many, including journalist Scott Bailey, who tweeted that it was odd for the acting Prime Minister to be concentrating on the odds of the national cricket team when there were clearly bigger issues at play.

“Oh great. The acting Prime Minister felt it necessary to point out he hopes claims of racism at the SCG won’t distract Australia’s push for victory in the Test,” Bailey tweeted.

“Why would a country’s leader even feel the need to have that in a statement? Some perspective, please!

“I mean of course he or anyone can hope Australian or their team wins. But for an acting Prime Minister to link the two things in a statement is absolutely bizarre.”

Kohli wants action on racism claims

India superstar Virat Kohli wants "strict" action against any spectator found to have made racial slurs as the fall out from the SCG Test drama continues.

India made an official complaint to the ICC on Saturday night over alleged comments made to Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah on day three.

The situation then escalated further on Sunday when Siraj claimed more abusive comments had been made to him just before tea, stopping play for eight minutes.

The halt in play brought the issue to a head, with NSW Police and Cricket Australia launching separate investigations into the second incident.

"Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable," Kohli tweeted.

"Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary Iines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour.

"It's sad to see this happen on the field.

"The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once."

While back in India awaiting the birth of his child, captain Kohli was one of several India players to speak on the incident.

India's captain Ajinkya Rahane and teammate Mohammed Siraj speak to the umpire as the game was halted after remarks were allegedly made by the spectators on the fourth day of the third cricket Test match between Australia and India at the SCG. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's captain Ajinkya Rahane and teammate Mohammed Siraj speak to the umpire as the game was halted after remarks were allegedly made by the spectators on the fourth day of the third cricket Test match between Australia and India at the SCG. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Injured quick Mohammed Shami labelled the the ongoing issue as "disappointing" and also called for "strict" action.

Veteran Ravichandran Ashwin wants the matter to be dealt with using an "iron fist" and said the abuse of India players had been an issue his whole career in Sydney.

"If I take myself back to my first tour in 2011-12, I had no clue about racial abuse and how you can be made to feel small in front of so many people," Ashwin said.

"And the people actually laugh at you when you get abused, I had no idea what this was about.

"When I stood at the boundary line, you wanted to stand another 10 yards in to keep yourself away from these things."

With AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.