JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa (CSA) is still awaiting the outcome of an investigation by private security firm Lodge following the incident in which Imran Tahir was allegedly racially abused by a spectator at the Wanderers.
Video footage, shot on a mobile phone, was circulated on social media yesterday showing Tahir in an angry exchange with a group of spectators after he’d accompanied officials from Lodge to point out a spectator who Tahir claimed had verbally and racially abused him during Saturday’s fourth One-Day International between South Africa and India.
Tahir was not playing in the match, instead performing 12th man duties. The abuse is believed to have stemmed from spectators seated in the Memorial Stand, on the western side of the Wanderers stadium. According to the South African team’s media manager, Dr. Mohammed Moosajee, Tahir said the abuse had been directed his way by an Indian fan.
“From Imran’s perspective, he was racially and verbally abused by a certain gentleman throughout the match. He reported it to the stadium security who were stationed in front of the dressing room,” said Moosajee.
Tahir accompanied a Lodge official into the Memorial Stand, initially, it is understood, to try and reason with the spectator, but then pointed out the individual to the security official.
A video taken by a spectator of Tahir accompanying the security official to identify the spectator was released on social media.
“I wanna see how he can abuse me,” an enraged Tahir can be heard saying. “Yes, but it’s not right what you’re doing. You’re a South African cricketer,” a woman is heard arguing. “Obviously, that’s why I came. Because he was abusing me. Does he have any manners? I have a family as well,” retorts Tahir.
The woman in the video can be heard be saying: “What kind of a sportsman is that man, he’s a disgrace to this country.”
Rumours circulated on social media that Tahir had pushed a child, but this was denied by Cricket SA in a statement yesterday morning, and again by Moosajee in Port Elizabeth where the South African team is preparing to play the next match in the One-Day series against india.
“Tahir made no physical contact with the offender or any of the children in the vicinity,” Cricket SA said in a statement.
“From Imran’s side he’s done nothing untoward,” Moosajee reiterated.
Cricket SA does warn spectators during matches - via a notice on the scoreboard and through the public address system - that they are not allowed to verbally abuse players. Spectators who are found guilty, can be removed from the stadium, and will not be allowed access to an event at the ground again.