New Delhi: Just a day after Indian Cricket Team filed a complaint against ‘racist abuse’ towards Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin too step out against the prevalent practice at the venue while revealing an incident during a Sydney tour back in 2011 where he was subjected to racial abuse. Calling out against this humiliating abuse at the post-day press conference, the spinner alleged it not to be ‘new’ and also urged it to be dealt with an ‘iron fist’.
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“We have faced racism in Sydney earlier too. It needs to be dealt with iron fist,” Ashwin told reporters.
The recent incident of racism happened with pacer Mohammad Siraj in the ongoing test match. The play was halted for ten minutes on the fourth day of the match of the third Test against Australia at the SCG, after Siraj complained of abuse from a section of the crowd in the stadium. This had lead to expulsion of six spectators and an unreserved apology from the host board.
Calling the behaviour unacceptable, Ashwin revealed his previous experiences of facing racism in Australia, especially in Sydney, when he was subjected to racism in 2011.
“Adelaide and Melbourne were not as bad, but like I said this has been a continuous thing in Sydney, I have dealt with it in the past, the fans here tend to get nasty, I do not know why they do it, unless and until it is dealt with, people don’t find the necessity to look it in a different way. I was surprised to see some section of the crowd going on with it and they were not pulled up for it, it was surprising to see, this issue had to be dealt with, disappointing is a very mild word for this issue, I must say,” Ashwin said during the virtual press conference.
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“I would like to point out something, this is my fourth tour to Australia and Sydney especially here, we have had these type of experiences in the past as well. I think one or two times players have reacted to this in the past and they have gotten into trouble, it is not because of the player, it is because of the way the crowd has been reacting. The fans have been quite nasty, but this is one occasion where they have gone one step ahead, it is a case of racial abuse, we lodged an official complaint yesterday and we brought it to the notice of the umpires. It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age, we have evolved as a society and this roots to the upbringing, this should be dealt with an iron first, by iron fist I mean the way we deal with it,” he further added.
However, after this new incident on Sunday, Cricket Australia Board issued an official statement reaffirming their ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards discriminatory behaviour. The board also directed an investigation to be launched parallel with the New South Wales police to probe the matter. CA also ‘unreservedly’ apologised to the Indian Cricket team.
We have launched an investigation in parallel with NSW Police following a crowd incident at the SCG today. Full statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/D7Qu3SenHo
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) January 10, 2021
Condemning the discriminatory behaviour Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, Carroll said, “Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour. If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket,” in an official statement.
“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 apologies to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent,” he further added.
Meanwhile, revealing further about it spinner Ashwin said, “In 2011, I didn’t know what racism is and how you are made to feel small. And people also join the laugh.”