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Sydney Test Racism: Mohammed Siraj complains of abuse, spectators removed

After allegations surfaced on Saturday, Mohammed Siraj charged in to stop play for around eight minutes while fielding on the fine leg boundary during the second session on Sunday.

Mohammed Siraj talking with umpire Paul Reiffel during the fourth day of the Sydney Test. (Twitter/cricket.com.au)

The scenes at the famed Sydney Cricket Ground again turned sour on the fourth day of the ongoing Sydney Test after play was halted due to alleged racial abuse towards India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj on Sunday.

After allegations surfaced on Saturday, Siraj complained of abuse while fielding on the fine leg boundary during the second session on Sunday. After both he and his skipper Rahane had a talk with umpire Paul Reiffel, play was paused for around eight minutes.

Subsequently, Siraj also pointed out in the crowd where the words were said. The New South Wales (NSW) Police then evicted six people from their seats.

“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour,” said Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security. “If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.

“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.”

NSW Venues Chief Executive Kerrie Mather said CCTV footage was being examined to identify the miscreants.

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

Earlier on Saturday, the BCCI had lodged a complaint after Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were allegedly abused with racial jibes on the third day of action.

At Day 3 stumps, Rahane reported the misdeed to the on-field umpires after a long discussion with the senior players of the visiting contingent.

“BCCI lodged a formal complaint with ICC match referee David Boon about two of their players Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj being abused by a drunk spectator,” a source had told PTI.

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Back in 2008, the racism row of “Monkeygate” had rocked an India-Australia series in Sydney. Andrew Symonds had accused Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing him and calling him a monkey. After a courtroom battle, Harbhajan was handed a three-Test ban but he was eventually cleared of the charge and the ban was overturned.

On the pitch, Australia were on top after setting a massive target of 407 for India to chase. Led by Cameron Green’s 84 and Steve Smith’s 81, Australia declared on 312/6 in the second session of the fourth day of action.

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First published on: 09-01-2021 at 03:50:55 pm
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