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'I wasn't just going to stand by and cop it': Khawaja fumes over Lord's abuse as MCC suspends loud-mouthed members

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2nd July, 2023
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Australia have demanded a please explain from the Marylebone Cricket Club after players were abused and two were allegedly tripped by some members inside the Lord’s Pavilion.

On a drama-charged final day at Lord’s, Australia’s players were continuously jeered by local fans after Alex Carey stumped Jonny Bairstow when he walked out of his crease.

It came as Australia’s 43-run victory in the second Test took them to a 2-0 lead and left them one win away from their first Ashes series win in England in 2001.

But it wasn’t pretty.

Vision from inside the long room as players left the field at lunch showed players were yelled at by several members and labelled “cheats”.

AAP has been told the abuse from different members included several expletives and calling players a “disgrace”, “liars” and telling them to return home.

That prompted both Usman Khawaja and David Warner to stop and approach one man, before two stewards stepped between the members and ushered Warner away.

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The drama is understood to have continued up the stairs and out of camera shot before players ate lunch.

“Australian management has requested the MCC investigate several incidents involving spectators in the members area during lunch on day five of the Lord’s Test,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

“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.”

Australian management have declined to detail the extent of the physical contact. 

But sources in the pavilion have told AAP at least one person stuck their foot out to trip both Warner and Steve Smith as they walked up the stairs towards lunch.

Warner in particular was left to force his way through the crowd, which was described as intimidating and akin to a London Tube at 5pm on a Friday.

Ben Stokes is consoled by Steve Smith after being dismissed for 155 runs.

Ben Stokes is consoled by Steve Smith after being dismissed for 155 runs. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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The situation became so serious that MCC CEO Guy Lavender came down to address the members at lunch to remind them to respect players.

Khawaja said afterwards he felt compelled to act.

“It was very disappointing. If anyone asked me where the best place is to play, I always say Lord’s; the crowd is great, particularly the members are great,” Khawaja told Nine’s broadcast. 

“But some of the stuff that was coming out of the members’ mouths was really disappointing and I wasn’t just going to 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.”

The MCC were still gathering full details from inside the Pavilion by late on Sunday, but confirmed three people have had their memberships suspended.

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There is no suggestion those three people were involved in the physical contact with players.

“MCC can confirm it has suspended three members identified from earlier today,” it said in a statement. 

“They will not be permitted back to Lord’s whilst the investigation takes place.

“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 reiterate our apology to Cricket Australia.”

© AAP

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