India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has called Sydney crowd as one of the worst in Australia after Indian cricketers Mohammad Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were racially abused during the ongoing third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“This is my fourth tour to Australia. Especially here in Sydney we have had a few experiences even in the past. I think one or two times in the past even the players have reacted and got into trouble in the past (referring to Virat Kohli showing middle-finger at SCG in 2012 and getting fined 50 per cent match fee for it). It is not because of the players, it has been the way the crowd has been speaking especially people on lower tier of the stand, they have been quite nasty hurling abuses as well,” said Ashwin while speaking to reporters after the end of the fourth day’s play.
“This time they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuses and like we already mentioned we lodged an official complaint yesterday. It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age where we have evolved as a society. Sometimes I feel it roots back to the upbringing. It definitely must be dealt with iron-fist and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
At least six spectators were removed from the Sydney Cricket Ground stands by the security officials after Siraj raised concerns on Day 4 to skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
Ashwin felt that the authorities should have been proactive and been on guard from the onset and not waited for Siraj to bring it to attention.
“The umpires mentioned that we must bring it to their notice as it happens on the field, then they will be able to take an action…In fact, I was quite surprised that some sections of the crowd continuously did it and they did not make (security) surround them to pull them up for it. That is quite surprising. It definitely had to be dealt with. Yes, disappointing is a very, very mild word for it,” said Ashwin.
“Personally, I think Adelaide and Melbourne were not as bad but like I said this has been a continual thing at Sydney. I personally experienced it as well. They do tend to get nasty, I don’t know why or for what reason. Unless it is really dealt with, people don’t find the necessity to look at it in a different way,” he added.
The incident happened before the start of the 86th over in Australia’s second innings on Sunday when Siraj, fielding on the boundary line, went to skipper Ajinkya Rahane and raised the issue that some fans were passing abusive comments directed at him.
Rahane then walked up to the square leg umpire Paul Reiffel and complained about the same. While players huddled in the centre, security personnel entered the stands and a group of six Australian fans were removed from their seats by New South Wales Police.
A similar incident was reported by the Indian team management on Saturday. Indian team management apparently alleged that Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj were racially abused by SCG the crowd.