January 16, 2021 8:14:44 am
Days after Indian fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was allegedly racially abused, the 26-year-old was called a ‘grub’ by a section of the crowd on Day 1 of India’s final Test against Australia at the Gabba. Fielding in the deep, near Sections 215 and 216 of the Brisbane-stadium, the right-arm-quick was repeatedly called ‘grub’ by a group of local fans.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, a spectator named Kate (who preferred to go only by her first name), who was seated in the same stand, described the incident.
“The guys behind me have been calling – shouting – both Washington (Sunder) and Siraj grubs. (They) targeted Siraj and it was a chant similar to the SCG one. I suspect it’s not a coincidence that it’s Siraj being targeted post the SCG stuff,” she said.
On Day 4 of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday, Siraj and fellow-pacer Jasprit Bumrah had been allegedly racially abused by a group of unruly spectators.
Siraj had also been targeted with a chant when spectators changed the lyrics to the song Que Sera, Sera by making it Que Shiraz, Shiraz.
The bowler, however, approached his captain Ajinkya Rahane and the umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson, pointing out the culprits in the stands. This came after crowds from the same stands – Brewongle and Clive Churchill – had allegedly abused the Hyderabadi on Day 3 of the Test as well.
“We had decided Saturday (Day 3) evening that if something like this happens again, we will immediately identify them,” an Indian team management official had told The Indian Express at the time.
When the abuse was repeated on Day four, play was halted for 10 minutes as security personnel escorted six members of the crowd out of the venue.
Siraj’s actions earned a great deal of praise from both the Indian and Australian camps.
On Friday, however, on the opening day of the final Test, the pacer was yet again in the firing line of the crowd.
A video published on social media by the SMH reporter captured a spectator yelling: “Siraj, give us a wave, give us a wave, give us a wave. Siraj, you bloody grub.”
Sunder, who has been added to the side to replace the injured Ravichandran Ashwin, had also been called ‘grub’ by the same section of fans.
At the moment, there has been no report by an Indian player against crowd behaviour at The Gabba.
Security officials were on high alert in the stadium that saw around 13,000 spectators enter to watch the match. Kate described how guards dismantled a beer snake (cups stacked together to form a snake) when a set of men dressed as lifeguards started to build one. The officials also removed a spectator who stood on his seat to start an “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” chant.
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