Cricket Australia apologised to the India team on Sunday and launched a probe into allegations visiting players were subjected to racial abuse by part of the crowd during the third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Indian team lodged an official complaint after play on Saturday after bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj complained of hearing racist slurs while fielding near the boundary rope.
On Sunday, Siraj approached the umpire pointing towards the stands and the action was paused as police ejected a small group of fans from the ground.
CA launched a parallel investigation with New South Wales Police, promising to take the “strongest measures” against anyone found to have been guilty of vilification.
“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,” Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll said in a statement.
“As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team.”
Venues New South Wales, which operates the stadium, said CCTV footage was being reviewed to assist the investigation and any fans identified as engaging in racial abuse would be banned from the SCG and other major stadiums in Sydney.
Australia coach Justin Langer joined the condemnation.
“It’s upsetting and it’s disappointing,” he said. “It’s one of my greatest pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event and abuse or say whatever they like.
“I hated it as a player and I hate it as a coach. It’s really sad to see it happen in Australia.”
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin said the team had been insulted by Sydney spectators in the past but the racial abuse had crossed a line during the ongoing match, which is being played in front of a reduced crowd of less than 10,000.
“It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. This must definitely be dealt with iron-fist and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the bowler said.
According to the International Cricket Council’s anti-discrimination policy, it falls to CA to investigate the incident and submit a report to the global governing body within two weeks.
A man was banned from attending cricket matches in New Zealand for two years after being found guilty of abusing England fast bowler Jofra Archer during a 2019 tour.
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