India's Mayank Agarwal, left, rubs the ball on the face of India's Mohammed Siraj during play on day four of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP)
India's Mayank Agarwal, left, rubs the ball on the face of India's Mohammed Siraj during play on day four of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP)

India players complain of racial abuse at the SCG

It is learnt that soon after play ended on Day 3 in the Sydney Test, skipper Ajinkya Rahane and senior player R Ashwin informed on-field umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson that fast bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were subjected to racial abuse and derogatory language.
By Rasesh Mandani
PUBLISHED ON JAN 10, 2021 05:59 AM IST

After two days of persistent heckling by the SCG crowd and racial abuse on Saturday against Indian players fielding in the deep, the team has filed an official complaint with the ICC Match Referee.

It is learnt that soon after play ended on Day 3 in the Sydney Test, skipper Ajinkya Rahane and senior player R Ashwin informed on-field umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson that fast bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were subjected to racial abuse and derogatory language.

“Both were fielding on the boundary on the opposite side of the dressing room and words like “mother******” and some racial slurs were directed against them. It appeared certain members of the crowd were drunk,” said a source in the Indian team.

India vs Australia 3rd Test, Day 4 live

With a considerably reduced crowd under Covid-19 protocols—approximately 10,000—crowd noise and chants were clearly audible to the players. After a difficult Day 3 for India, Indian players and officials were in a huddle with venue security officials, discussing the issue. The matter is now being adjudicated by the ICC and CCTV footage from all cameras at the ground around the stand concerned will be made available to match referee David Boon.

On the 2018-19 tour too Indian fielders were subjected to chants of “show us your visa” by the Melbourne crowd during the Boxing Day Test. Subsequently, those spectators were evicted from the stands.

On the 2007-08 series in Sydney, it was Harbhajan Singh who was accused of using a racial slur, after batsman Andrew Symonds alleged he was called “monkey” on the field. ICC match referee Mike Proctor imposed a 3-Test ban for racial abuse. India challenged the decision and the ICC appeals commissioner overturned the ban. He ruled that Harbhajan was “not guilty of racial abuse” and only fined him for “use of abusive language”.

ICC has a stringent anti-racism code against players and match officials, but following many complaints against crowds, spectators found guilty can be ejected from the venue, and even a life ban can be imposed.

BRISBANE TEST UNCERTAINTY

Uncertainty grew over Brisbane staging the final Test with BCCI in its latest talks with Cricket Australia (CA) raising concerns over the UK strain of the coronavirus being found at a Brisbane hotel on Friday. “The Indian board has expressed its concerns. If there is a health risk, the next Test should be played in Sydney,” a BCCI official said.

A cleaning worker in a Brisbane quarantine hotel tested positive on Friday for the UK strain of the virus after which a three-day lockdown has been imposed in Queensland’s capital. New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, has shut its border with Greater Brisbane.

The Indian team had earlier written to CA expressing unhappiness over the hard-quarantine rules for its players in Brisbane. India’s reservations on travelling to Brisbane remain.

CA wasn’t available for comment but Australian media reports say CA is hopeful talks with BCCI will be fruitful and the Test will stay in Brisbane. Time is running out if the series decider starting on Jan 15 has to be moved to Sydney as a fresh strip needs to be prepared at SCG.

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