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Friday,03-December-2021

International

Indian players were racially abused at SCG, confirms Cricket Australia

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Cricket Australia on Wednesday confirmed that Indian players were subjected to racial abuse by a section of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) crowd during the third drawn Test of the recently-concluded Border Gavaskar series.

The Indian team had apprised match referee David Boon of racial abuse of players — Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj — by a section of the SCG crowd at the end of the third day’s play during the Sydney Test. The incident again took place on the next day following which six people were evicted from the stand just before Tea during Australia’s second innings on Day Four of the Test match.

Following that incident, Cricket Australia had launched an investigation and the International Cricket Council (ICC) had also asked the Australian cricket board to submit its report.

“Cricket Australia has submitted its report into crowd behaviour at the SCG during the third Test against India to the International Cricket Council,” Sean Carroll, CA’s Head of Integrity & Security, said in a statement.

“CA confirms that members of the Indian cricket team were subjected to racial abuse. CA’s own investigation into the matter remains open, with CCTV footage, ticketing data and interviews with spectators still being analysed in an attempt to locate those responsible. Spectators who are found to have breached CA’s Anti-Harassment Code face lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.

“CA’s investigation concluded that the spectators filmed and/or photographed by media in the Brewongle Stand concourse at the conclusion of the 86th over on Day Three of the Test did not engage in racist behaviour,” he added.

Cricket Australia further said that it is now awaiting confirmation from New South Wales Police that it has completed its investigation into the matter and “will not offer further comment until it is received”.

Siraj, who played a crucial role in helping India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, had revealed that the umpires in Sydney had told India skipper Ajinkya Rahane that the team can walk off the park.

“The case (on racial abuse) is going on. Let us see if we get justice or not. I told my captain that some audience are abusing me. The umpire said you can leave the ground but the captain said we will not go as we respect the game of cricket and you may send them out,” Siraj had said upon his arrival in Hyderabad.

Cricket Australia, on its part as well as Australian players including David Warner and head coach Justin Langer, had condemned the incident.

International

IND v NZ, 2nd Test: India reach 111/3 at tea on Day 1

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 India were 111/3 at tea on a truncated opening day of the second Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.

Opener Mayank Agarwal was batting on 52 while Shreyas Iyer was not out on 7 as the hosts lost their way after a good start.

Ajaz Patel claimed all three wickets in the space of 15 balls as India slumped from 80/1 in the 28th over to 80/3 at the end of the 30th over.

Brief scores: India 111/3 in 37 overs (Mayank Agarwal batting 52, Shubman Gill 44; Ajaz Patel 3/30) vsNew Zealand.

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ATP backs WTA, asks China to come clean on tennis player Peng Shuai’s wellbeing

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The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has thrown its weight behind the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), expressing concern over the well-being of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese government official of sexual assault.

WTA chief Steve Simon recently said that he has “serious doubts” that Peng was “free, safe and not subject to intimidation”. He also announced suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, with immediate effect till the country investigates in a full, fair and transparent manner the allegation of sexual assault made against a former senior politician by the 35-year-old doubles player.

Late on Thursday, the ATP, the body which governs men’s international tennis, said, “the situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious”.

ATP chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, issued a statement, saying, “The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport. The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.

“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact,” said Gaudenzi.

“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”

WTA administration and players have been in total support of Peng Shuai ever since screenshots of her social media post were shared on Twitter and the WTA has regularly demanded verifiable proof from Chinese government that Peng Shuai is “free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation”.

Chinese authorities have released videos of her at a restaurant and also arranged for a video call with senior officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but WTA is not convinced, thus resulting in the suspension of all its tournaments in China.

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Finally, Test cricket returns to Wankhede and Mumbai is loving it

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Office-goers walking through the ‘D Lane’ in Churchgate area of Mumbai on Friday morning were surprised when a group of people started blowing conch shells, waving India flags and chanting ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ as a bus convoy entered the lane on way to the Wankhede Stadium.

They would have been expecting some activity considering that a Test match was scheduled at the Wankhede, but the reception accorded to the convoy must have come as a surprise to many.

While such enthusiasm was a little unexpected but it was not completely out of place as Mumbai is hosting a Test match after nearly five years, and the small crowd that had gathered since early morning, could not control its emotions as the buses ferrying the Indian team made it to the stadium.

The India versus England game in 2016 was the last time a Test match was played at the Wankhede, and with other cricketing activity not possible because of the suspension of sports activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant there was a little more enthusiasm among the faithful.

A small group waited patiently for the gates to open so that they could get into the stadium. Hosts Mumbai Cricket Association is allowed to sell only 8000 tickets as the government has authorised only 25 per cent stadium capacity to be filled. With Mumbai police making elaborate arrangements for the Test, Covid protocols are being followed strictly with officials ensuring that people follow the rules.

Though the sparse crowd’s enthusiasm was dampened a bit as the start of the match was delayed due to wet patches on the ground because of the rains, it waited patiently, waving the Indian flags as the players came out for warm-up and light practice.

The crowd erupted in a loud cheer as the New Zealand players, followed by the Indian openers, walked into the field. And the cheers grew louder as Shubman Gill struck two consecutive boundaries off Kyle Jamieson in the second over, with the typical Mumbai chant of “Sachin, Sachin” reaching a crescendo.

More people are expected to come in the next few days as things get interesting.

The last Test played at Wankhede was against England in which skipper Kohli had scored a majestic 235, while Jayant Yadav has smashed a century.

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