Imran Tahir was verbally and racially abused during South Africa’s fourth One-Day International against India, at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, and Cricket South Africa said on Monday (February 12) that the incident was under investigation.
Tahir, who was not part of the playing XI for the Pink ODI that took place on Saturday, was running drinks when he was abused.
“My understanding from Imran’s perspective is that he was racially and verbally abused by a certain gentleman throughout the match,” said Dr Mohammed Moosajee, the South African team manager. “He reported to stadium security stationed in front of the dressing room and two of the security personnel accompanied him to identify the perpetrator. But obviously when he got up there, there were some hostile verbal exchanges. And to neutralise the situation, they removed him (Tahir) from the scene and brought him back to the changing room. So that’s what we’ve been told. There was definitely no exchanges and no children involved in the incident as has been reported on social media.”
The video, which starts from the middle, shows Tahir involved in an angry exchange with a group of spectators and being led away by security, while stadium officials engage with a group of fans. Moosajee confirmed that as per Tahir, the abuse was directed to him by an Indian fan. “The fans that were sitting there, it was a cross between both. According to what Imran said, it was an Indian fan,” said Moosajee.
CSA said it was aware of the incident. “Cricket South Africa has noted and is aware of the circulation of video footage featuring Imran Tahir on social media and WhatsApp groups,” read the board’s statement. “Imran Tahir was verbally and racially abused by an unknown man during the fourth One-Day International (ODI) against India at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Saturday. Tahir reported the incident to the stadium security, and was subsequently accompanied by two security personnel to identify and to have the man ejected from the stadium. Tahir made no physical contact with the offender or any of the children in the vicinity. The incident is under investigation with the CSA and stadium security teams.
“In accordance with the ICC Anti-racism code, spectators who engage in racist conduct are to be ejected from the stadium and can face further sanctions and criminal prosecution.”
Moosajee clarified that the investigation was to clarify what happened and that Tahir faced no danger of any sanctions by CSA. “We want to get an idea from the stadium security perspective, their input into what happened,” Moosajee explained. “Once we have an understanding of that, then we’ll be able to have a better idea of things.
“No, not at all,” he added on the possibility of action against Tahir. “From his side, he hasn’t done anything untoward. He had reported it to the stadium security and he was up there just to identify the suspect.”
South Africa kept their record on the Pink Day intact by winning the fourth ODI by five wickets via the DLS method, which meant the series was still alive with India leading 3-1. The fifth ODI will take place at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.