Mohammed Siraj revealed on Thursday that the on-field umpires had offered India the option to leave the game after some players were on the receiving end of racial abuse from the crowd during the Sydney Test in Australia. However, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane refused to do so. Siraj, who landed in Hyderabad today, spoke to reporters after visiting his father’s grave. “The umpires had said we can leave the game and go if we are upset with the racist comments, but (Ajinkya) Rahane said ‘why should we leave the game, we respect the game and we are here to play’,” said Siraj.
“I will not relax now and will continue performing for India”: Mohammed Siraj, Indian Cricketer pic.twitter.com/pKErXgQIlv
— NDTV (@ndtv) January 21, 2021
“That incident made me mentally stronger, and I am happy that I didn’t let it affect my game,” the fast bowler, who finished as India’s highest wicket taker in the Test series, added.
Siraj had called out racial abuse at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Day Four of the third Test. Beside Siraj, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah was also targeted with racial slurs.
A section of the crowd was ejected from the SCG after Siraj complained to the on-field umpires.
The incident drew widespread condemnation from the players and cricket boards, with the International Cricket Council welcoming the action taken by ground authorities.
“There is no place for discrimination in our sport and we are incredibly disappointed that a small minority of fans may think that this abhorrent behaviour is acceptable. We have a comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Policy in place that Members have to abide by and ensure is adhered to by fans and we welcome the action taken by ground authorities and Cricket Australia today,” the ICC said in a statement.
Siraj finished the series with 13 wickets, including a maiden five-wicket-haul in the fourth Test in Brisbane, as India won a thrilling contest at The Gabba to take the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1.
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