Ravichandran Ashwin applauds Indian fan who braved racial abuse at Sydney

Mohammed Siraj stops play to formally complain about abusive spectators.

Cricket fan Krishna Kumar recently narrated his horrific experience of watching the controversy-marred Sydney Test. The avid sports fan, who has travelled in several geographies as a spectator, spoke about the racist jibes he experienced at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who earlier spoke about the SCG crowd’s abusive history, reached out to Krishna Kumar and applauded his bravery for speaking the truth.

On his Twitter handle, Ashwin wrote:

Krishna Kumar stated that a section of spectators called the Indian players and fans “curry munchers.” He was also told to “stop waving (his) f**king flag” and to “shut the f**k up and sit down.” Kumar was also surprised when he got to know that the security at the ground didn’t hear any of it.

“Nowhere did I ever experience any form of racism in all my sporting experiences attending these events,” Krishna Kumar told CNN Sport. “The Sydney Test day three is when I really got to see the ugly side.”

After the third day’s play, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj complained to the match referee of hearing racist slurs while fielding near the boundary.

Kumar didn’t go to the ground on the fourth day. The same day, six people were evicted from the SCG after Mohammed Siraj complained again. Cricket Australia simultaneously launched an investigation with New South Wales Police. As of writing this piece, the investigation is ongoing.

Krishna Kumar, whose wife and two sons are Australians, returned to SCG on the fifth day and carried four banners – “Rivalry is good, racism is not,” “No racism mate,” “Brown inclusion matters #BIM” and “Cricket Australia, more diversity please.”

The security staff inspected the banners at the entry and informed Krishna Kumar that one was too big to take in. A gentle protest led to a reaction from others – “If you want to address this matter, go back to where you came from.”

Krishna Kumar put the banners back in his car. When he returned he was frisked for two-and-half minutes, while a normal frisking of a bag takes 10-15 seconds.

Krishna Kumar chose to confront racism with love. On the third day, he offered a chilled glass of beer to one of the fans engaged in the angry chants of “curry munchers.” A little while later, the man reciprocated the act with a similar gesture.

“It’s not necessary that you have to tackle racism with anger or frustration all the time. You can face racism with a chilled glass of beer and some friendship,” Krishna Kumar added.

Krishna Kumar states that it has been an “emotional rollercoaster” for him talking about the SCG row publicly. He added he would think twice before taking his two sons to a match at the venue. 

Krishna Kumar had met with officials at the SCG last week to assist with the ongoing investigation.

Cricket Australia openly apologised for the Sydney incident:

Despite the adversities, India had the last laugh. Not only did they draw the SCG Test; they also defeated Australia in Brisbane, their fortress. The 2-1 win for India is arguably their greatest-ever series win.

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