India's regular captain Virat Kohli recently spoke up against the alleged racist remarks that fast bowler Mohammed Siraj faced from a particular section of the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Virat Kohli is not in action in the ongoing Test, as he is away on paternity leave. But he has come out in full support of Mohammed Siraj, saying that strict action must be taken against those who dare to promote such racist behaviour.
Virat Kohli himself had received a lot of stick from the Australian crowd on his first tour Down Under in 2011-12. Thus, he probably has an inkling of what Mohammed Siraj might be going through.
Virat Kohli took to Twitter to express his anger against the racist comments faced by his teammate. The 32-year-old tweeted in this regard:
Strict action should be taken against Mohammed Siraj's offenders: Virat Kohli
It not the first time Mohammed Siraj faced this kind of behaviour from the SCG crowd. Reportedly, the 26-year-old heard racist chants from the crowd even on Day 3 before Team India lodged an official complaint to the match referee at the end of the day's play.
However, Mohammed Siraj couldn't take it anymore when he heard similar chants on the fourth day, and he complained to the on-field umpires immediately. The game was halted for about eight minutes and after some deliberation, 5-6 spectators were asked to leave the SCG immediately.
Virat Kohli believes that such repeat occurrences from the Australian crowd need to be stopped, and a precedent needs to be set that such behaviour won't ever be tolerated. The 32-year-old also feels that this matter must be dealt with immediate urgency.
With many other current as well as former cricketers voicing their support for Mohammed Siraj while condemning the racist slurs he had to endure, Cricket Australia's next course of action remains to be seen.
Australia are in pole position to win the SCG Test, as Team India ended the fourth day's play at 98-2, requiring another 309 runs to pull off an improbable chase.
The visitors are depleted in the batting department, as Rishabh Pant has still not fully recovered from his elbow injury, and Ravindra Jadeja, who has suffered a dislocated thumb, is only likely to bat in case of an exigency.
The onus is now on the Indian stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane and his trusted cohort Cheteshwar Pujara to bat for large periods on the final day and help the beleaguered visitors save the SCG Test.Published 10 Jan 2021, 17:40 IST