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Police probe racism reports at Test match between England and India

(David Davies/PA)
(David Davies/PA)

Police have launched an investigation into reports of racist and abusive behaviour on the fourth day of the cricket Test match between England and India in Birmingham.

West Midlands Police said they are liaising with officials at Edgbaston to understand what happened on Monday.

The force has encouraged anyone who heard any racist language or gestures, or who has footage that could help, to come forward.

Inquiries are being made to identify an alleged offender whose image was circulated on social media.

Police have urged the man to speak with them.

The Bharat Army, the official India supporters’ group, later reported that “many” of its members at the ground had been targeted by “a very small minority”.

A post on its Twitter account read: “Sad to say many of our members experienced racist abuse from a very small minority of individuals. We will work with @Edgbaston to share all your feedback.

“Thank you to those England fans who stood by us.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it was “very concerned” at the reports and reiterated its stance on racism.

A statement read: “We are very concerned to hear reports of racist abuse at today’s Test match. We are in contact with colleagues at Edgbaston, who will investigate.

“There is no place for racism in cricket.”

Stuart Cain, chief executive at Edgbaston, said: “I’m gutted by these reports as we’re working hard to make Edgbaston a safe, welcoming environment for all.

“Having seen the initial tweets, I’ve spoken personally to the gentleman who raised them and we’re now speaking to the stewards in this area to establish what happened.

“Nobody should be subject to any form of abuse at Edgbaston. So, once we’ve got all the facts, we will make sure this issue is addressed swiftly.”

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq retweeted a thread detailing some of the alleged incidents along with the comment: “Disappointing to read.”

His evidence to a parliamentary select committee last year sparked an investigation into his claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire which resulted in ECB charges and major reforms.

England won the fifth and final Test match of the India series to level the score at 2-2 on Tuesday after unbeaten centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.