Former Indian cricketer and a legend of the game, Sachin Tendulkar, on Sunday joined the bandwagon in condemning the alleged racial abuse of Indian players at the Sydney Cricket Ground on day 4 of the third Test between India and Australia of the Border-Gavaskar series.
Sachin feels that the sport unites all, never discriminates and rather recognises talent irrespective of race, colour or nationality. The former cricketer feels that the offenders should never be allowed back into any stadium.
"SPORT is meant to UNITE us, not DIVIDE us. Cricket never discriminates. The bat & ball recognizes talent of the person holding them - not race, colour, religion or nationality. Those who don’t understand this have NO PLACE in a sporting arena."
The Indian team had apprised match referee David Boon of alleged racial abuse at the end of the third day's play. Match and stadium officials were alert on the fourth day and as such play was halted and six people were evicted following another incident just before Tea during Australia's second innings.
Earlier, Indian skipper Virat Kohli had taken to Twitter to strongly condemn the act saying it was sad to see what happened with his teammates at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
"Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary lines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour. It's sad to see this happen on the field," Kohli said.
"The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once," he added.'
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia (CA) has apologised to Team India and assured strict action against the offenders.
"CA is awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council's investigation into the matter reported at the SCG on Saturday. Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our Anti-Harassment Code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police. As series hosts, we unreservedly apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent," said Carroll, Cricket Australia's Head of Integrity and Security in an official statement.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) also condemned the incidents of racism and said it has offered Cricket Australia all necessary support in investigating the incidents.
"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," said ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney.
(with IANS inputs)