India pacer Mohammed Siraj was called a ‘brown dog’ and ‘big monkey’ in a series of racist slurs hurled by a group of Australian spectators, who were ejected from the Sydney Cricket Ground during the third Test on Sunday, a BCCI official has alleged.
Siraj and his senior teammate Jasprit Bumrah were subjected to racist slurs on Saturday, too, something that the Indian team management officially reported to ICC Match Referee David Boon.
“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 (the spectators) were constantly abusing Bumrah, too,” a BCCI source told PTI on condition of anonymity.
On Sunday, during the 86th over of the Australian second innings, Siraj was seen walking from his position in the deep and talking to the square leg umpire before the straight umpire and other senior players joined the discussion.
Play was halted for close to 10 minutes before stadium security as well as New South Wales police checked the relevant stand from where the nasty comments were being made.
After speaking to the spectators in the adjoining area, the police evicted six supporters, who are currently in the custody of the New South Wales Police.
It is learnt that on Saturday, the Indian team had brought the matter to the notice of match officials only after the day’s play ended and by then the mischief-mongers had fled the stadium.
“Actually, the players didn’t want to lose focus during the proceedings and decided that the matter would be reported only after the day’s play was over. However, umpires have told us that the moment anything of that nature happens, the players should report immediately,” the source added.
Cricket Australia has promised strongest action against the offenders and also unreservedly apologised to the visiting team.
Indian captain Virat Kohil called the alleged racial abuse “unacceptable”. “Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary Iines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour,” he said in a tweet. Kohli, who returned to India after the first Test as he is expecting his first child, called for strict action against the spectators who indulged in the behaviour. “The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once,” he tweeted.
ICC, the global cricketing body, has launched an investigation into the alleged racial abuse faced by Indian players Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah.
Cricket Australia also made an unreserved apology. “Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour,” said Sean Carroll, CA’s Head of Integrity and Security. “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,” Carroll stated.
It was the second incident after a drunk spectator at SCG allegedly directed racial abuse at Bumrah and Siraj. The BCCI on Saturday lodged a complaint with ICC match referee David Boon. According to BCCI sources, Siraj was allegedly referred to as a “monkey”, reliving the infamous Monkeygate episode of the Indian team’s tour of Australia in 2007-08.