Symonds racially abused

Australia’s Andrew Symonds was subjected to racial abuse while fielding in the Fourth ODI at Vadodara, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, later backed-up by a statement from Cricket Australia. It was claimed that the Queenslander had monkey chants aimed at him.

Philip Pope, a CA spokesman said: “Andrew Symonds heard noises. The players discussed it in the dressing room. We are not calling for action, we think it is up to the local authorities to deal with it.”

Already there are signs of action in India.

“Like any cricketing centre in India, we would never tolerate this kind of behaviour,” said Makarand Waingankar, chief executive of the local Baroda Cricket Association. “Racism should not exist in India at all.”

“We are a cosmopolitan country,” he added, “with many religions and dialects living peacefully together. This is the cultural city of Gujarat, and it would be a shame if that was to be spoilt by a few people.”

The Indian team manager, Lalchand Rajput, later told Australian Associated Press: “This should not happen. People come to watch the game and this sort of behaviour spoils the game. The problem is trying to control the crowds and in some areas there can be some trouble.”

He said the incident would also affect the Indian players: “These things are not good for the morale of the team, it is upsetting for them,”

ICC stepped-up the drive to stamp-out racism in cricket in 20056, when South African players complained of racial slurs during their tour of Australia. A spokesman said today: “We have a no tolerance policy to racism and a very strict anti-racism code. Our anti-racism policy was approved and strengthened in November 2006 with all members having signed up to this.”

Measures to enforce this include life bans for spectators convicted of racial abuse, and fines and possible suspension of international status for the ground authorities.

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