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'Johnson, Hodge taunted Wankhede fans'
Harish Kotian in Mumbai | October 19, 2007 10:38 IST
The whole world may have been critical of Mumbai's fans for their racist chants against Andrew Symonds [Images], but a few Aussie players were also guilty of inciting the crowd during the seventh ODI, on Wednesday, which India won by two wickets.
Mitchell Johnson and Brad Hodge repeatedly gestured at the fans in the North stand, according to some Indian supporters present at the Wankhede stadium.
"Johnson was pointing to the crowd and indicating that Australia is the number one team, and they responded with boos. Hodge also pointed at the scoreboard when India had lost six wickets," said Rohan Rane, who was seated in the North stand, opposite to the pavilion.
At the end of the Mumbai ODI, the visiting Australian team complained that Symonds was again subjected to racist chants and monkey miming.
"Some of the stuff that went on today was totally unnecessary. I hope it doesn't happen in the other cricket venue we are playing because it leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth. I believe action has been taken as well.
"A few members were arrested and taken away from the ground. That sort of stuff, as you all know, and as you all understand, is totally unacceptable any place, any time, not only in sport but in society. To have that sort of stuff happen to him [Symonds] again today for the second time is pretty disappointing considering how much has been made of it in the last few days," captain Ricky Ponting [Images] had said.
Four fans were evicted from the Wankhede stadium by the police for allegedly making racist taunts at Symonds. Cricket Australia officials had shown the police photographs of those spectators making the gestures.
However, Mumbai's zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police Brijesh Singh said the crowd's behaviour cannot be categorized as "racist."
"You can't say if it was a racist remark. We have arrested them mainly because of bad behaviour," Singh told radio channel Red FM 93.5 in Mumbai.
Asked why only four people were arrested, when the entire stadium was booing and chanting against Symonds, Singh replied: "We can't arrest 10,000 people so we caught anyone who was doing the act at the moment we saw him.
"We had warned the crowd through the public speaker system before ejecting them out of the ground."
He said no action could be taken against the Australian players for instigating the crowd since no one complained about it.
"Next time you complain against the Australian team, we will take action against them too," Singh added.