In what was the final sorry touch on a bad day for India, Zaheer Khan has been cited as being involved in a murky dressing room incident that is being investigated, though the team management denies that any incident took place.
It all started while the game was still on, when inebriated fans of Indian origin started verbally abusing the Indian players.
The abuse was particularly vicious and almost continuous, according to several witnesses and the Indian players themselves — ranging from derogatory comments about the players’ body parts to slanderous references to their wives and mothers.
“It was terrible,” Indian media manager Rajan Nair told HT. “In fact, the players showed remarkable restraint to not react.”
But, according to the local authorities, at least one player reacted. Elize Lombard, the head of the Northerns Cricket Union here, said that her security chief had told her that Zaheer, incensed at the abuse he was receiving from a particular spectator, lost his cool and threw a bottle lying near the ropes at the man. The man threw it back, after which, according to her security chief Darell Vorster, Zaheer did nothing.
That fan, reportedly a man called Nitin, later managed to get past security and into the Indian dressing room, where “a significant incident occurred” which is now being officially investigated. Corne Meyer, the event management security chief, would only say that the man had been arrested for trespassing and an investigation was on.
This is where it gets hazy. The man himself said that he went to the dressing room to ask Zaheer why he threw the bottle and Zaheer caught him by the collar and threatened to beat him up, when the security staff intervened. A couple of Indian players confirmed that a man had come in and abused Zaheer and been taken away.
Nair denied that there had been any incident, saying a man had entered the dressing room by accident, “I spoke to Zaheer and he denied being involved in any altercation!”