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Indian-Australian fan says Mohammed Siraj wasn’t racially abused by those evicted from SCG

6 fans were removed after play halted following Siraj
6 fans were removed after play halted following Siraj's complaint
Wasiq Agha
Modified 12 Jan 2021, 15:23 IST

An Indian-Australian fan evicted from the SCG denied that Mohammed Siraj was subject to racial abuse during the 3rd India vs Australia Test. Prateik Kelkar was amongst the six people who were asked to leave the stadium premises, as the fan claimed that he was evicted because he stood up for others.

The Sydney Test attracted controversy after racism incidents marred the final 3 days of the Test. Mohammed Siraj twice alerted the umpires after he was subject to racist abuse. The second instance occurred on Day 4, which saw six spectators removed from the stadium after Mohammed Siraj complained to the umpires once again. 

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Prateik Kelkar claimed that he heard nothing racist from the group of four fans who were asked to leave the stadium after Mohammed Siraj’s complaint. 

"We got kicked out as well for sticking up for them, for saying that they didn’t say anything. Mohammed Siraj was pissed off because he got hit for two sixes the previous over. He came to field on the boundary. He was copping it a bit and then they said ‘Welcome to Sydney, Siraj’. Next thing we knew they were getting kicked out,” said Prateik Kelkar.

Mohammed Siraj may have endured racism but by someone else

Mohammed Siraj twice brought to notice instances of racial abuse
Mohammed Siraj twice brought to notice instances of racial abuse

The fan further explained that although Mohammed Siraj may have faced racial abuse, it wasn’t from the set of fans that eventually left the stadium. Kelkar said that being an Indian, he would have understood if their comments were racist. But that wasn’t the case according to him, as he lamented the unfortunate situation. 

 "I am an Indian. I have been racially abused before in Australia and I can tell you that it wasn’t [racial abuse]. As you can tell from my accent, if there was something racist going on, I would have heard it and done something about it. Maybe he heard it somewhere else, sure, but it just wasn’t from the guys behind us. The problem is he can’t prove what he heard, we can’t prove that he didn't hear it,” he said.

Cricket Australia began its investigation into Mohammed Siraj’s claims, a day after the Sydney Test concluded. Their investigation will include interviews of spectators seated in the stand behind Mohammed Siraj, while the board also has access to written reports from security guards. Meanwhile, the ICC has pledged to fully support the findings of the investigation as well.

Published 12 Jan 2021, 15:23 IST
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