Racial abuse in Sydney not new for India, says Ashwin

“It needs to be dealt with iron fist,” says the India off-spinner, at the end of the fourth day's play against Australia.

Mohammed Siraj talks to the on-field umpire during the fourth day's play in Sydney. - GETTY IMAGES

R. Ashwin has a reputation to not mince words, be it on the field or off it. And hours after a group of spectators were evacuated for hurling allegedly racial abuses at India pacer Mohammed Siraj, the offspinner left no stone unturned in underlining the nasty crowd behaviour at Sydney.

REPORT - Australia in command

Excerpts

On crowd behaviour at SCG over the last two days

This is my fourth tour to Australia and in Sydney, especially, we have had a few experiences even in the past. I think one or two times even the players have reacted and got into trouble in the past, and that’s not because of the player. It is actually because of the way the crowd has been speaking, especially the people close to the boundary edge. They have been quite nasty, they have been hurling abuses as well, but this is the time they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuse.

There was an official complaint lodged yesterday, and the umpires also mentioned it to us that we must bring it to their notice as soon as it happens, on the field, and then they will be able to take action. It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. We have seen a lot, right? We have evolved as a society. This must be definitely dealt with an iron fist. And we must make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

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Reception at other centres in Australia

Personally I think Adelaide and Melbourne weren’t as bad. But this has been a continuous thing at Sydney. I have experienced it as well. They do tend to get nasty. I don’t know why and for what reason. Unless and until it is dealt with, people don’t find the reason to look at it in a different way. In fact I was quite surprised that some sections of the crowd continuously did it and they were no mates around them to pull them up for it. It definitely had to be dealt with. Disappointing is a very, very mild word, I must say.

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When does the team say enough is enough

If I go back to the first tour in 2011-12, I had no clue what racial abuse is or how you can be made to feel small in front of so many people. And people actually laugh at you when you get abused. There is another set of people just enjoying it. I had no idea what this was at all. Whenever you stood at the boundary line, you wanted to run in 10 yards to avoid these things. As things have strode on, and we have learned more and more on tours, this is definitely not acceptable. Even yesterday when Siraj brought it up, Ajinkya, myself and Rohit got together and went to the umpire and did report it. Nowadays, the boys are better equipped and aware. Even Siraj, who is new, does know that this is the line you cannot cross. It is a wonderful thing. It must be met with the way it was met.

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