Racism in Sydney
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RACISM STOPPED on Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Indian cricket team put its foot down and ensured that the Test against Australia in Sydney was stopped for 10 minutes on Sunday until a group of unruly spectators were evicted, in line with the recent global trend, where sportsmen are beginning to draw the line between banter and racist abuse from the stands.

The break-in play followed an incident on Saturday when Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, Indian pacers, said racist comments were directed at them as they were fielding on the boundary line.

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Siraj walked up to stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, and umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson on Sunday, Day 4 of the Test, as Bumrah was about to start running in during the 86th over of Australia’s second innings.

Hyderabad’s 26-year-old debutant said that he was racially abused by a section of the crowd while he was fielding in front of the Brewongle and Clive Churchill stands, the same area of the ground where the racist chants were made on Saturday. All the players, including the batsmen, Australian captain Tim Paine, and Cameron Green, stood together in the middle of the ground, as he pointed out to the alleged abusers.

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Play resumed only after six individuals were evicted from the ground by police for their actions. Cricket Australia said they have launched an inquiry into the “parallel to the New South Wales police” incident. The incident was condemned by the International Cricket Council, too.

“After having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary lines, Captain Virat Kohli said that “racial abuse is not acceptable at all.” This is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour. It’s sad to see this happening on the field, Kohli tweeted.

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When India toured Australia in 2018, Kohli’s side was at the receiving end of racist chants. Even then, fans on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test were ejected from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Spinner R Ashwin acknowledged that players had experienced “this in the past, especially from people in the lower tier” of the Sydney stand after the day’s play on Sunday, when India were 98 for two and needed 309 more runs to win.

They were pretty nasty, and also hurling abuses. But this is the moment when they went one step ahead and used racial abuse… In this day and age, it’s definitely not acceptable. This is sometimes rooted in upbringing. An iron fist must be dealt with and (officials must) make sure this does not happen again,” said Ashwin.”

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A section of the crowd in Manchester was recently accused during a test match against Australia of singing a racist song about England’s fast bowler Jofra Archer. In the past, former South Africa cricketers Hashim Amla and Mkhaya Ntini also complained about receiving an end to racist spectator abuse in Australia.

In October 2007, during a one-day international match, four spectators were evicted from Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium for racially abusing former Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds.