A group of spectators were removed from the stands at the famed Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on the fourth day of the ongoing third Test on Sunday.
The second session on day four witnessed high drama as play was halted for nearly 10 minutes after Mohammed Siraj rushed from the square-leg boundary and complained of racial abuse at the end of the 86th over in Australia's second innings.
India skipper Ajinkya Rahane immediately had a word with on-field umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson. A few other Indian players including Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal joined the discussion.
Subsequently, Siraj pointed out in the crowd where the words were said. The New South Wales (NSW) Police evicted six people from their seats.
This incident takes place a day after a drunk spectator at the SCG allegedly directed racial slurs at Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj. The BCCI has lodged a complaint with the ICC.
In response to the third day's incident, Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia's Head of Integrity and Security had said, “Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour. If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.
Cricket Australia has reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behaviour in all forms following the alleged racial abuse of members of the Indian cricket squad by a section of the crowd at the SCG yesterday. Full statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/34RYcfKj8q— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) January 10, 2021
“CA is awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council’s investigation into the matter reported at the SCG on Saturday. Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our Anti-Harassment Code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.
“As series hosts, we unreservedly apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent.”
Former Australian cricketers Mike Hussey and Shane Warne have slammed the SCG crowd asking for life bans for these culprits.
"It's terrible behaviour and I can't believe it's still happening in this day and age. They should be banned for life from coming to the cricket," Hussey told Fox Cricket.
"The Indians have come here to our shores to entertain us, play some great cricket, we should be so grateful that we can watch some live sport. To treat the players like that is unacceptable," he added.
Agreeing with Hussey, Warne said the allegations were particularly worrying given the events of the past one year, which have seen a global push for racial equality.
"Disgraceful to be honest, absolutely disgraceful," Warne said. "Should never happen, especially what's happened in the last 12 months or so with everything else around the world. Let's hope they come down heavy and find the culprits," he added.
Meanwhile, Australia have set a target of 407 for India in the Sydney Test after the hosts declared their second innings at 312/6.
Feature image courtesy: Saeed KHAN / AFP