Alleged sledges at centre of investigation into SCG crowd abuse

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Mohammed Siraj and India teammates, pictured here looking at spectators following a complaint of abuse at the SCG.
Mohammed Siraj and India teammates look at spectators following a complaint of abuse at the SCG. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia and NSW Police have launched investigations into alleged racial abuse from members of the SCG crowd against Indian players on the third and fourth days of the Sydney Test.

Cricket Australia on Sunday vowed to investigate incidents of crowd misbehaviour, after two days of drama overshadowed a close contest on the field.

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India’s team made official complaints of racism after play on day three, before play was stopped for eight minutes on Sunday after claims of more alleged abuse on day four.

At this stage there is no suggestion the two incidents are linked, but Indian officials have asserted that they were again of a racial nature.

At least seven fans were removed from their seats after Mohammed Siraj ran in from the fine leg boundary, altering teammates before umpires passed on the message to security and police.

A BCCI spokesperson has since told the Press Trust of India: “Siraj was referred to as ‘Brown Dog’ and ’Big Monkey’, both of which are racist slurs.

“The matter was immediately brought to the notice of on-field umpires. They were constantly abusing (Jasprit) Bumrah too.”

On Sunday night The Times of India newspaper made similar claims, reporting that “Bumrah and Siraj were called monkeys, w**ker and motherf**ker by the people almost throughout the time they were fielding.”

However The Age newspaper in Australia has quoted spectators who reportedly overheard what was being said on Sunday, with claims none of it was racist in nature.

“All these boys were doing is a bit of sledging of the player on the outfield. First it was Bumrah then they had a sledge against Siraj,” one fan was quoted as saying.

“They kept calling him Shiraz and all that crap. Next thing you know they said: ‘Welcome to Sydney, Siraj’ and then he got the sh*ts. 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 fan told The Age the spectators had said: “Welcome to Sydney, Siraj”.

Police, pictured here monitoring the crowd following a complaint by Mohammed Siraj.
Police monitor the crowd following a complaint by Mohammed Siraj at the SCG. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Virat Kohli calls for ‘strict’ action

Meanwhile, India superstar Virat Kohli has called for “strict” action against any spectator found to have made racial slurs.

“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.

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

A policeman, pictured here standing guard among sections of the SCG crowd.
A policeman stands guard among sections of the crowd as the game was halted. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

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.”

The SCG Trust are also investigating the matters, promising life bans for anyone found to have made racial remarks.

Australia coach Justin Langer said he was upset and disappointed by the situation, slamming anyone who felt they could abuse players in any sport.

with AAP

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