Things have gone south down under. The ongoing Border-Gavaskar series between India and Australia have taken a turn for the ugly with the Indian team alleging that the spectators had hurled racial abuse at them.
Reportedly, during the third test ace bowlers; Mohammad Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were subject to quite a few racial slurs including expletives like “Brown Dog” and “Big Monkey”.
Therefore, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, himself no stranger to such behaviour; had strong words to say to the matter at hand noting that:
“The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once.”
Racial abuse slur hurled by the spectators is not new to Australian cricket. Time and again the crowd has displayed a tendency to move towards racist slurs. The event which transpired during the current series also is not without precedence, Ex-Indian spinner Harbajan Singh tweeted,
“I personally have heard many things on the field while playing in Australia about me, my religion, my colour and much more..This isn’t the first time the crowd is doing this nonsense..How do u stop them ??”
Therefore, English spinner Monty Panesar urged the authorities responsible to clearly define the parameters in terms of racial abuse. Posting on Twitter, Panesar urged the ICC to take positive action regarding the same, tweeting:
“A racial code of ethics should be established by ICC to give clear understanding to spectators what is a racist term and what isn’t.”
Cricket Australia apologised to the India team
Following these allegations, Cricket Australia has promptly taken up the matter and launched an investigation into the matter. Cricket Australia apologised to the Indian team for the trouble they had faced at the hands of the spectators. In Addition, the Indian team had lodged a complaint officially regarding the matter. On Sunday, Siraj had taken up the matter with the on-field umpire; pointing out the areas of the stand from where the racial abuse comments had come.
Prompt action was initiated on the umpire’s part as play was halted for a brief period of time as the small party was led out of the stadium by the police. The investigation is to be conducted by both Cricket Australia and New South Wales Police, and an assurance has been given to initiate the strongest measures in this regard to reinforce the fact that racism in any form will not be tolerated.
Security footage from the match is being scrutinized and reviewed. Hence If any person found guilty of racial slurs would be banned from the major cricket stadiums in Sydney.
Racial abuse | It is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour, says Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper himself tweeted on the incident saying,
“Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary lines; this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour. It’s sad to see this happen on the field.”
Kohli himself is not a stranger to such behaviour having faced fire from the stands before during the 2011-12 test series. Back in 2011, Kohli had lost his cool and showed his middle finger to the crowd at Sydney. An action that had attracted hefty penalties.
Australia coach Justin Langer joined the condemnation
The issue is being widely reported as the Sydney incident and even Australian coach Justin Langer joined in the condemnation of the incident noting that,
Subsequently, “It’s upsetting and it’s disappointing […] 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.”
In keeping with the International Cricket Council’s anti-discrimination policy; the host’s Cricket Australia have been empowered to investigate the racial abuse incident. Concurrently the report of the investigation must be submitted to the ICC within a span of two weeks. There has been a precedent of fans being banned from matches for abusing players. It is only a matter of time before the same is done in this case, should the accused be found guilty.