Fans ejected from Ageas Bowl over 'abusive behaviour'

Alleged racist abuse of New Zealand players reported to ICC via social media

Nagraj Gollapudi
Everyone had one eye constantly on the skies at the WTC final, India vs New Zealand, World Test Championship (WTC) final, 3rd day, Southampton, June 20, 2021

There have been up to 4000 fans allowed in each day for India vs New Zealand  •  AFP/Getty Images

Two fans were ejected from the Ageas Bowl on the fifth day of the World Test Championship final for allegedly hurling racist abuse at some of New Zealand's players. ESPNcricinfo has learned the two fans were in Block M, which is just below the on-site hotel where both teams are staying.
"We received reports of abuse directed at the New Zealand players," the ICC said in a media statement. "Our security team were able to identify the culprits and they were ejected from the ground. We will not tolerate any sort of abusive behaviour in cricket."
Although the ICC is awaiting a report from the security team before it decides on any further action against the fans, it is understood that the abuse was both general and racist in nature. The ground security was triggered into action after the ICC was alerted by some fans through social media about the two persons who allegedly carried out the abuse. It is believed that some of the abuse could even be heard on the television broadcast.
Tim Southee, the New Zealand fast bowler, said no one in his dressing room was yet aware of the incident. "No, it's the first I've heard of it," Southee said after play. "The game is always played in a good spirit on the field. We're not sure obviously what's happening off the field.
This is the second time this year when fans have been removed from a cricket ground during a Test match. During the New Year's Test in Sydney between Australia and India this January, a group of fans were removed after India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj reported to match officials that he had been on the receiving end of alleged abuse.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo