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News

Usman Khawaja condemns 'disrespectful' behaviour from MCC members

MCC issues apology to Australia and suspends three members pending investigation

MCC has issued an unreserved apology to Australia after some of their players were abused when walking through the Long Room on day five of the second Ashes Test at Lord's, following the controversial dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, with Usman Khawaja describing what was said as "pretty disrespectful".
Khawaja and David Warner were shown on TV footage getting into a heated exchange with MCC members as the Australians went to their dressing room at lunch, with the stewards having to intervene. MCC said on Sunday evening that three members had been suspended pending investigation.
"MCC can confirm it has suspended three Members identified from earlier today," a spokesperson said. "They will not be permitted back to Lord's whilst the investigation takes place and were informed of this by MCC Chief Executive, Guy Lavender, this evening.
"We maintain that the behaviour of a small number of Members was completely unacceptable and whilst there was no suggestion by Pat Cummins in the post-match press conference that there was any physical altercation, it remains wholly unacceptable to behave in such a way, which goes against the values of the Club. MCC condemns the behaviour witnessed and once again we re-iterate our apology to Cricket Australia.
Speaking afterwards to Channel Nine, Khawaja said that it was "really disappointing" and that he "wasn't just going to stand by and cop" abuse. "It was really disappointing," he said. "Lord's is one of my favourite places to come. There's always respect shown at Lord's, particularly in the Members Pavilion in the Long Room, but there wasn't today. It was very disappointing.
"If anyone asked me where the best place is to play I always say Lord's," Khawaja added. "The crowd is great, particularly the members are great, and some of the stuff that was coming out of the members' mouths is really disappointing and I wasn't just going stand by and cop it. So I just talked to a few of them.
"A few of them were throwing out some pretty big allegations and I just called them up on it and they kept going, and I was like, well, this is your membership here. So I'm just pointing them out. But it's pretty disrespectful, to be honest. I just expect a lot better from the members."
Tempers flared at Lord's after Bairstow was given out when Alex Carey threw down the stumps with the batter having left his crease for the end of the over - but without the ball having been called dead. Loud booing was heard around the ground, and continued for the rest of the game, though Australia's captain, Pat Cummins, said afterwards that the dismissal was within the laws and "totally fair play".
"MCC came and apologised for the behaviour of some of the members," Cummins added in his post-match press conference. "I think some of them might lose their memberships over the way they behaved. Other than that one time, they were fantastic all week. I think they were just quite aggressive and abusive towards some of our players, which I know the MCC weren't too happy with."
Asked about the Bairstow dismissal, Khawaja said: "It's is what it is. We copped the same thing at Edgbaston. Obviously, it's a little different here. It's disappointing, to say the least. You know, we always try to play the cricket, in our best spirits, and we've said since Patty has taken over, since Andrew McDonald has taken over, winning is as important as how we win.
"The decision again was in the umpire's hands. If the umpire deemed it a dead ball today, it was a dead ball. Just like yesterday's catch [by Mitchell Starc, which was ruled not out]. We don't fully agree with it, but you have to accept the umpire's decision.
"That's why the umpires are there. So I mean, there's always grey areas in cricket. And the way it played out I guess in some respects, is kind of disappointing. I love Stuey [Stuart] Broad. I think he's one of my favourite cricketers. The way he plays, the way he's always got a smile on his face and he was pretty riled up out there, which you don't want to see. But yeah, it is what it is."
Both Cricket Australia and MCC released statements in response to events in the Long Room. A Cricket Australia spokesperson said: "Australian management has requested the Marylebone Cricket Club [MCC] investigate several incidents involving spectators in the members area during lunch on day five of the Lord's Test.
"It is alleged players and staff from the Australian team were verbally abused, with some being physically contacted, as they made their way to lunch through the members area." Cummins clarified in his press conference that he was not aware of any physical altercations.
MCC's initial statement said: "The Long Room is unique in world cricket and the great privilege of players passing through the pavilion is very special. After this morning's play, emotions were running high, and words were unfortunately exchanged with some of the Australian team, by a small number of members.
"We have unreservedly apologised to the Australian team and will deal with any member who has not maintained the standard we expect through our disciplinary processes. It was not necessary to eject anyone from the ground and I am pleased to say that there was no repeat of this as the players resumed the field for this afternoon's session."