India claim longtime, ongoing abuse at SCG

Scott Bailey and Rob Forsaith
·3-min read

India veteran Ravichandran Ashwin claims he has been the victim of abuse from Sydney crowds for almost a decade amid allegations of a racial slur during the third Test.

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

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 it's believed India will assert 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.

However Ashwin said this had long been an issue.

"This is my fourth tour of Australia and in Sydney we have had a few experiences even in the past," Ashwin said.

"The way the crowd have been speaking ... they have been quite nasty and hurling abuse as well.

"There is a time where they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuses.

"There was an official complaint lodged yesterday and the umpires said we must bring it to their notice as it happens on the field.

"It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. We have seen a lot and evolved as a society.

"Sometimes I think this roots back to the upbringing and the way one sees. This must definitely be dealt with an iron fist."

CA on Sunday night labelled the labelled the abuse of players as "unacceptable", and apologised to the Indian team.

NSW Police, having interviewed several members of Sunday's crowd before evicting them, and are also running their own investigation.

The SCG Trust have also vowed to ban any fans caught making racist taunts, after examining video footage from the end of day three.

Ashwin, meanwhile, said he had been made to feel "little" by Australia's crowds in the past, again stating he believed the SCG was worse than other grounds.

"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 drama came as Australia's players also made a clear move to act in solidarity with the Indian team.

Captain Tim Paine joined them in their huddle with a visibly upset Siraj while play stopped, while Moises Henriques walked around to the bay in question.

Coach Justin Langer said after play he was hurt by the incident, extending his apologies.

"It's upsetting and disappointing," Langer said.

"It's one of my greatest pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event ... and think they can abuse or say whatever they like.

"I hated it as a player, I hate it as a coach.

"It's really sad to see it happen in Australia.

"The more you get educated and the more you understand, the more sickening it is when you hear of racial discrimination as has been alleged today."