Cricket icons Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar have led the backlash from India after players were allegedly racially abused in Australia – as has ‘Monkeygate’ villain Harbhajan Singh.
Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were abused by drunk fans on Saturday at the SCG during the third Test, then Siraj was targeted again on Sunday in an incident that halted play, India have claimed.
A BCCI official claimed that Siraj was called a “brown dog” and a “big monkey” on Sunday, during heckling that made him visibly upset and compelled him to approach the on-field umpires.
Kohli, who returned home from the tour of Australia to attend the birth of his first child, was outraged by the scenes from the SCG. The Indian captain demanded “absolute urgency” in the response to offenders.
Tendulkar said that racist spectators had no place at cricket matches.
Injured Indian paceman Mohammad Shami expressed his disappointment at the scenes in Sydney and backed the BCCI’s push for justice.
Another former Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, echoed claims from spinner Ravi Ashwin that abuse was a constant problem in Australia.
“Every time we play with Australia, something of this thing happens. It is becoming a regular affair. Nobody should tolerate all these things,” Azharuddin told Press Trust of India.
“The ICC should look into the matter and quickly resolve this problem forever.
“It is good that Cricket Australia has tendered an apology and I am sure they will take action also. CA should be very strict Whoever has done it, it is very sad. Those people responsible should be ejected and not allowed to come in the grounds.”
Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, who caused a massive furore on the 2007-08 tour of Australia by allegedly calling Andrew Symonds a “monkey” during the SCG Test, also weighed in. He claimed that Australian fans often resorted to discrimination.
Former Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh issued a plea for unity.
Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman was one of the first notable figures to speak out as the furore erupted.
Meanwhile, former England spinner Monty Panesar called on the ICC to expand its efforts to combat racism.
“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,” Panesar wrote on Twitter.