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New South Wales v England XI, Sydney

Panesar abused by Sydney crowd

Cricinfo staff

November 13, 2006

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Monty Panesar: in the firing line © Getty Images
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Australia's cricket authorities face a stern test of their new hardline anti-racism laws, after it was reported that Monty Panesar had been taunted as "a stupid Indian who can't speak English", during England's three-day warm-up match against New South Wales at Sydney.

Panesar, who underwent counselling from the team psychologist, Steve Bull, ahead of England's trip Down Under, was fielding on the boundary fence under the Clive Churchill Stand, when he was abused by a group of fans on the opening day of the match.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported that a spectator had shouted: "Give us a wave Monty. You can't speak English you stupid Indian, I'll have to say it in Indian. What are you doing playing in the English side, you're not English."

No official complaint has been made, although the paper added that both Panesar and the South African-born Kevin Pietersen were subjected to similar abuse during England's opening fixture of the tour in Canberra on Friday, where eight people were ejected from the ground for unruly behaviour.

Under the new regulations, fans may face lifetime bans if they are found guilty of racial abuse during a match, while the venues themselves could be stripped of international status if they fail to act on any transgressions. The SCG Trust, who are responsible for the upkeep of the ground, admitted that three people had been ejected for excessive drunkenness.

Australia's racism problem came to light during South Africa's tour of the country last year, when Graeme Smith's men complained of the use of the derogatory term "kaffir". This week, Smith himself warned Panesar of the reception he was likely to get, adding: "We all shivered at the prospect of what he could be in for."

A spokesman for the England team said: "We have come out here to play the game with dignity, and we expect the Australian fans will show the sportsmanship they are renowned for and hope they will respect the players both on and off the field."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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