The historic Test series between Australia and India in 2020-21 saw the Indian team overcoming many hurdles. The Indian team battled valiantly despite losing several players due to injury and came back after horribly losing the opening match of the series. Racism was one of the difficulties that the team had to deal with and pacer Mohammed Siraj was one of the targets.
Tim Paine, the former Australia captain, recalled the racial incident involving Siraj during the Sydney Test of the historic Border-Gavaskar series in 2020-21, stating that he was disappointed with the crowd’s behavior at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
On Day 3 of the Test, Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were subjected to racist comments from a portion of drunk Australian supporters at the SCG. On Day 4, the pacer was fielding at the boundary when the incident was repeated.
The issue was brought to the attention of then-India captain Ajinkya Rahane, and the play was delayed for over ten minutes. Only after 6 raucous spectators were ejected from the SCG did the game resume.
“I still remember walking up to Siraj, he actually had tears in his eyes and tears rolling down his cheeks. So it obviously really affected him and cut him really deep. This is a kid, who has just gone through the death of his father. And then to have that I just thought was uncalled for,” he said in the Voot documentary, Bandon Mein Tha Dum.
“Traditionally in Australia, we have been pretty good at how we treat our visiting cricketing teams. So to see it happen again was disappointing,” he added.
Cricket Australia later apologized to the Indian cricket team for racist insults made by a part of the audience in Sydney, stating such crowd behaviour was unacceptable. In addition, the CA initiated an investigation into the incident.
On-field disputes fueled India’s courageous effort to draw the third Test in Sydney before going on to win the Test series by breaching Australia’s fortress at Gabba.