Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has alleged he has experienced vile abuse across a decade of tours of Australia, at the Sydney Cricket Ground in particular.
Ashwin’s accusations came at stumps on day four following allegations of racial abuse from a section of the crowd towards rookie seamer Mohammed Siraj.
It was the second consecutive day of the third Test Siraj has felt he has been racially abused by attendees.
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India lodged a complaint with ICC officials on day three saying Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah had been abused while just before tea on day four, six men were ejected for alleged abuse, which is the subject of dual investigations by Cricket Australia and NSW Police.
After the day’s play, Ashwin told reporters he had dealt with abuse in the past, and believed it was worse in Sydney than at other venues.
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“This is my fourth tour of Australia and in Sydney we have had a few experiences, even in the past,” Ashwin said.
“I think one of the fans, the players have reacted and got into trouble in the past. That is because the way the crowd have been speaking, especially in the lower part of the stands. They have been quite nasty and hurling abuse as well. There is a time where they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuse.
“There was an official complaint lodged yesterday and the umpires said we must bring it to their notice as it happens on the field, and they will be able to take action.
“It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. We have seen a lot and evolved as a society. Sometimes I think this roots back to the upbringing and the way one sees. This must definitely be dealt with an iron fist and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
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Two fans in the area where the six patrons were ejected on Sunday claimed they had heard them repeatedly making fun of Siraj’s name, before saying “Welcome to Sydney, Siraj”.
Cricket Australia thanked the Indian team for pointing out the incident and apologised for their treatment.
“Personally I think Adelaide and Melbourne wasn’t as bad. But this has been a continual thing at Sydney, I have personally experienced it as well,” Ashwin said.
“They do tend to get nasty, I don’t know for what reason. Until it is dealt with people don’t find it necessary to look at it in a different way.
“I was quite surprised that some sections of the crowd continually did it and there were not mates around them to pull them up. It definitely had to be dealt with, disappointing is a very mild word.
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“If I take myself back to my first tour in 2011-12, I had no clue about racial abuse and how you can be made to feel small in front of so many people. And the people actually laugh at you when you get abused, I had no idea what this was about.
“When I stood at the boundary line you wanted to stand another 10 yards in to keep yourself away from these things. But as thing have stowed on and we have learned more and more, this is definitely not acceptable.
“Even yesterday when Siraj brought it up, Rahane and myself we all got together and reported it. Nowadays the boys are much better at reporting it, even with Siraj who has come in new, he does know there is a line someone cannot overstep. And even if it is from the boundary line, it must be met the way it was met.”