The ongoing India-Australia test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) has witnessed some ugly incidents regarding spectators engaging in racial abuse. On more than one occasion, several Indian players have complained about people from the crowd provoking them on their skin color.
Siraj and Bumrah report racist crowd to umpires; six spectators evicted from live match
The incident(s) started to gain traction at the end of day three on Saturday. After the match, India fast bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, alongside captain Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin, engaged in a lengthy talk with the match officials on the subject. Things, however, got more serious on day 4, when Siraj and Bumrah complained about the situation directly during the live game. The officials were quick to respond this time around and ousted six spectators from the ground midway through the match.
There’s still some ambiguity around the situation, especially after some fans from the ground denied all allegations related to racism. Some spectators from day four claimed that the audience was just trying to engage in ‘harmless banter’ with the players. Others raised questions over the culpability of the miscreants who were evicted from the ground.
However, some direct sources from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have recently confirmed the racial slurs Indian players had to endure. The said source appeared in an anonymous interview with Sportskeeda.com and claimed that the words ‘Brown Dog’ and ‘Big Monkey’ were used.
“Accused spectators called Siraj ‘Brown Dog’ and ‘Big Monkey'”- BCCI source
“Siraj was referred to as ‘Brown Dog’ and ‘Big Monkey’ both of which are racist slurs. The Indian team immediately brought the matter to the notice of on-field umpires. They were constantly abusing Bumrah too. Actually, the players didn’t want to lose focus during the live proceedings. So they decided to report the matter only after the day’s play had finished. But the umpires have instructed us to immediately inform them if anything of that nature happens,” the source told Sportskeeda.
From what it seems, Siraj and Bumrah tolerated the crowd’s inappropriate behavior for a major part of the fourth day. It wasn’t until the 86th over of Australia’s innings; when Siraj felt genuinely offended and decided to bring the matter to notice.
The six spectators whom the police evicted are currently in custody, awaiting investigation from Cricket Australia (CA) and the ICC. Match referee David Boon has openly conveyed his regret on the heinousness of the situation. CA has also issued apologies to the Indian team and assured to take legal action against the accused.