Rahane revealed that the umpires – Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson – had asked the players to go back to the dressing room if they didn’t want to play, but India insisted on getting the spectators ejected and carrying on with the Test.
“When Siraj again came to me [on the fourth day, after being abused the day before], I told the umpires that [they] need to take action and we won’t play till then,” Rahane said on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai on Wednesday to launch a documentary on that series, which India won 2-1 in dramatic circumstances.
“The umpires said that you can’t stall the game and can walk out if you want. We said that we are here to play and not sit in the dressing room and insisted on getting the abusers out of the ground. It was important to support our colleague given the situation he had been through. What happened in Sydney was completely wrong.”
Although the evicted spectators were cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia, the incident left a bad taste in the mouth.
“Personally I think Adelaide and Melbourne weren’t as bad. But this has been a continuous thing at Sydney. I have experienced it as well. They do tend to get nasty,” Ashwin had said after playing a heroic hand with the bat, in the company of Hanuma Vihari, to help India draw that Test.
Addressing a general discussion on racism in sport, Ashwin said on Wednesday, “I don’t think it has anything to do with a particular section of people in a particular country. Everywhere people do believe that they belong to a majority sort of a thing and they will have their way. And I think racism is one tip of it, where people believe that is a way of differentiation with someone. The only solution is better parenting and better awareness.
“Yes, it happened at that ground [SCG] and at that place [Australia] a lot more. But it was courageous of him [Siraj] to bring it up so at least a wider section of people know and the people sitting next to such people in the ground do better next time.
“It is something one must condemn. But I want to bring it up that everywhere people are differentiating people on different grounds, which is not right.”