Test halted as cricket fans evicted from SCG


‘National shame’: Australia disturbed by allegations levelled at fans evicted from SCG

Indian superstar Virat Kohli has spoken out against the “absolutely unacceptable” incidents which hampered the New Year’s Test.

Indian spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin has taken aim at “nasty” Australian cricket fans after the New Year’s Test match was interrupted by an ugly incident on Sunday afternoon.

In the 87th over of Australia’s second innings at the SCG, Indian bowler Mohammed Siraj stopped play to call attention to an incident in the crowd.

After talking to Siraj and Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane, the umpires and a cluster of security guards quickly migrated towards the fine leg boundary.

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Players waited in the field for approximately 10 minutes as police questioned a handful of spectators in the SCG’s Brewongle Stand.

Australian captain Tim Paine at one stage looked fully prepared to march towards the fence and assist in the search for the culprits.

Eventually, four attendees were escorted from the venue before play resumed, and two other men followed them soon after.

The incident comes after India reportedly lodged a complaint to the ICC after two players allegedly faced racial abuse from the SCG crowd on Saturday.

The match stopped for 10 minutes as authorities intervened.

The match stopped for 10 minutes as authorities intervened.Source:AFP

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Indian superstar Virat Kohli broke his silence on Sunday evening, calling the incidents “absolutely unacceptable”.

“Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary Iines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour,” Kohli tweeted. “It’s sad to see this happen on the field.

“The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once.”

Speaking to reporters after day four, Ashwin claimed he has been subjected to abuse from Australian crowds for almost a decade.

“This is my fourth tour to Australia, and ... we’ve had a few experiences in the past,” Ashwin said on Sunday evening.

“If I take myself back to my first tour in 2011/12, I had no clue about what racial abuse is and how you can be made to feel small in front of so many people.

“And people actually laugh at you when you get abused, and other people laugh along when these things are happening.

“When I stood at the boundary line, you wanted to stand another 10 yards in to keep yourself away from these things.”

Ashwin pleaded for authorities to come down hard on the spectators who allegedly hurled racist abuse at his teammates.

“I was quite surprised that some sections of the crowd continually did it and there were not mates around them to pull them up,” Ashwin said. “It definitely had to be dealt with, disappointing is a very mild word.

“They have been quite nasty and hurling abuse as well. There is a time where they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuse.

“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 and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“And we must say, we were all quite happy those people were evicted.”

The Indian cricket team.

The Indian cricket team.Source:Getty Images

On Sunday evening, Cricket Australia confirmed the patrons had been removed from the stadium, and NSW Police was investigating the incident. CA has also launched its own inquiry into the matter.

CA’s Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll said the abuse of cricketers by crowd members was not acceptable.

“We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating,” Carroll said.

“It is most regrettable that an otherwise excellent Test match contested in tremendous spirit by two friendly rivals has been tarnished by the actions of a small number of spectators over the past two days.

“As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team.”

Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Australian coach Justin Langer said the incident was “upsetting” and “disappointing”.

“It’s one of greatest my pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event … and think they can abuse and say whatever they like,” Langer said.

“It’s really sad to see it happen in Australia.”

India's Mohammed Siraj gestures as Australia's captain Tim Paine looks on.

India's Mohammed Siraj gestures as Australia's captain Tim Paine looks on.Source:AFP


Sunday’s incident sparked a flood of reaction on social media, with cricket icons and supporters voicing their disgust at the allegations.

Cricket commentator and podcaster Geoff Lemon called it a “national shame” and NSW fast bowler Trent Copeland tweeted: “There’s seriously no place for this rubbish. Never understand the need to yell abuse at players on a sporting field, let alone anything like this to India. If you’re not here to watch the cricket, and can’t be respectful, get OUT.”

Former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar posted: “So disappointed with a very small part of the SCG fans, totally embarrassed.”

Cricket reporter Adam Collins tweeted: “It’s shameful that a visitor in our country — not least Siraj, who has performed so joyously at the start of his Test career — has to endure this. And anyone who plays it down … should be condemned.”

Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket: “If anyone has been throwing frightfully horrible comments around as has been alleged, I think they will be able to track down who it is — and not just the ICC, hopefully it’s the police that find out who it is.”

Australian great Michael Hussey added: “If there’s been abuse directed towards the players, just kick them out straight away. Not welcome ever.”

Cricket journalist Melinda Farrell said instances of abuse from the stands were “beyond disgusting” while ex-Australian star Alex Blackwell and broadcaster Corbin Middlemas also weighed in.


Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, a spectator sitting near the fans who were ejected claimed the culprits were taunting Siraj and teammate Jasprit Bumrah, but didn’t hear anything of a racial nature.

“All these boys were doing is a bit of sledging of the player on the outfield,” the spectator said.

“They said, ‘Welcome to Sydney, Siraj’ and then he got the s**ts.”

“That was literally it. Then he walked off.”


Cricket Australia released a statement on Sunday afternoon, reaffirming its zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behaviour in all forms.

“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour, Carroll said.

“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.”

Venues NSW’s chief executive Kerrie Mather said CCTV footage was being reviewed to assist the ICC investigation into Saturday’s alleged remarks.

“At the SCG, we pride ourselves on welcoming anyone and everyone in a safe and inclusive environment,” Mather said.

“We are taking this extremely seriously. If those involved are identified, they will be banned from the SCG and all Venues NSW properties under our Act.”

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