Malcolm Waller allegedly had racist abuse thrown his way during the second Test against Sri Lanka last week © Associated Press
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has released a statement condemning the alleged racist abuse of Zimbabwe batsman Malcolm Waller by a section of the home crowd during the second Test against Sri Lanka last week.
Waller is understood to have lodged the complaint when abusive comments were directed at him after he dropped a catch on the morning of the fourth day of the Test. Fielding at square leg, Waller missed an easy chance off Asela Gunaratne’s bat in the middle of an otherwise tight spell from quicks Carl Mumba and Chris Mpofu. Zimbabwe went on to lose the Test by 257 runs, conceding the series 2-0.
“Zimbabwe Cricket was deeply disturbed by the conduct of a section of fans who made abusive and racist chants targeted at our players during Zimbabwe’s just-ended Test series against Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club,” ZC’s statement said. “We condemn any act of racism, abuse or intolerance in cricket, in particular, and sport, in general.”
The chants appear to have come from the section of the ground known as Castle Corner, where fans traditionally gather in boisterous but good-natured support during international games. This is also the area where members of the Zimbabwe Cricket Supporters Union (ZCSU), an unofficial body that mobilises support for the national team during home games, can usually be found.
“We are also disappointed by such racist rants, if they were really made,” Tapfumaneyi Vivian Banhire, chairman of the ZCSU, told cricketbadger.com. “Our supporters union has no such members who engaged in such behaviour.”
Banhire confirmed his organisation’s position to ESPNcricinfo. “It wasn’t any of our guys,” he said. “Zimbabwean supporters are not racial at all.”
During Zimbabwe’s last home series against India in June when the home side was thrashed in all of their matches, disgruntled Zimbabwe fans vented their frustrations by holding up a variety of homemade signs, some of which suggested that Zimbabwe cricket players should be arrested and “face treason” over their performances.
“The fans made themselves clear during the India series and I believe the players had got the message, therefore there was no need to continue with waving such cards again,” Banhire said. “The fans are very happy that we have come this far.”
ZC is continuing to investigate Waller’s complaint, and warned that it is “taking steps to introduce sanctions against those involved in such incidents”. The ICC’s anti-racism code requires members to impose punishments, including possible life bans, on anyone found guilty of racial abuse.
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo