Five members of Australia’s under-19 male cricket squad are set to be spared a fine or suspension for social media posts directed at non-native English speakers, which were labelled “casual racism”.
A storm erupted last month when the quintet, all part of Australia's squad at the under-19 World Cup in South Africa, made comments on an Instagram post from teammate Jake Fraser-McGurk. The comments appeared to mock non-native English speakers, specifically sub-continental cricket fans, and were labelled casually racist by Indian journalist Shashank Kishore.
The comments were later deleted by the players, but the damage had been done.
Cricket Australia took a dim view of the posts but said they would wait until the team returned home from the tour before determining any sanctions, given some of the players involved are minors.
Sources familiar with the situation told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that the players involved – Lachlan Hearne, Sam Fanning, Tanveer Sangha, Ollie Davies and Liam Scott – had been spoken to by CA officialdom in Sydney on Monday, with a focus on educating them about why what they did was wrong, and the pitfalls of social media.
A source also said the players in question would head back to their respective states to address other young players about what the experience had taught them.
The five players technically have the ability to contest the code of conduct charges against them but given there are no fines nor suspensions involved that looms as unlikely.
Commenting on the situation last month, CA integrity chief Sean Carroll said the governing body was “extremely disappointed” with the players’ behaviour.
“Some of that language could be interpreted as ridiculing non-native English language speakers,” Carroll said.
“I have spoken to the players … and expressed in no uncertain terms that such language has no place in society and falls well short of the standards we expect as Australian cricketers.
“The players have apologised for the language and have taken down the posts.”
The comments had poked fun at the manner in which players can be contacted by sub-continental cricket fans.
"Sir great player, big fan and will play for India one day," commented Davies.
"Sir, give me WhatsApp number I want to be friend," wrote Scott.
Australia finished sixth at the tournament, which wrapped up on Sunday night as Bangladesh defeated India in the final.
It was an eventful tournament for the Aussies, with young gun Fraser-McGurk flying home early after being attacked by a monkey during a visit to a nature reserve.
Sunday’s final was marred by ugly scenes in which players from the opposing sides had to be separated after tensions rose in the moments immediately after the match, as Bangladeshi players celebrated winning the nation’s first World Cup title at any level.
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