Announcer sacked over Panesar comments
The public address announcer at England's tour game against a Chairman's XI in Alice Springs was sacked at lunch on the second day of the game after making comments deemed "inappropriate" by Cricket Australia.
David Nixon, an ABC producer, was dismissed after an allegation reported by the Centralian Advocate that he had mimicked an Indian accent when announcing that Monty Panesar was coming on to bowl. Neither Panesar nor any of the England camp are understood to have heard the comments and the decision was taken entirely by Cricket Australia.
"Cricket Australia deemed the conduct of the PA announcer as inappropriate," a CA spokesman said. "So it was decided he would take no further part in the match."
The incident reflects Cricket Australia's determination to foster an environment of inclusiveness within the sport. Australia is increasingly an ethnically diverse country - Alice Springs has a growing Indian community, which turned out to support Panesar during the week - and CA gave notice of its progressive stance during a recent debate sparked by Fawad Ahmed, Australia's Pakistan-born legspinner, asking not to wear a beer logo on his shirt.
Nixon's style raised some eyebrows on the first day of the tour match. When Joe Root, who later had to return to the hotel with a stomach upset, called for a drink while batting, Nixon commented: "Joe Root calls for another drink", in a sarcastic tone.
Minutes later, the umpires called for a drinks break and Nixon said: "Now it's time for everyone to have a drink - including Joe Root." When Root was dismissed shortly after, Nixon could not resist saying: "You can go and have another drink now, Joe."
Nixon also greeted the arrival of spinner Michael Beer into the attack by announcing "We're to have Beer before lunch."
CA said they would review the incidents after the game and discuss whether any policies had been broken. Ironically, part of the PA announcer's role is to remind spectators of the ICC's anti-racism code, which warns that anyone making "racially abusive comments and actions will result in ejection from the ground".
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo