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Edgbaston to deploy racism spotters

Undercover spotters will be deployed for the second Twenty20 between England and India at Edgbaston after allegations of racist behaviour among crowd members during the fifth Test this week.

A number of supporters said on Twitter they had been targeted by racist abuse from other fans at the Birmingham venue on Monday. The home side won the match by seven wickets to draw the series 2-2.

“Nearly 100,000 people watched one of the most exciting Test matches in recent history… but we cannot hide from the mindless racist abuse experienced by some fans following India in the Eric Hollies Stand,” Warwickshire chief executive Stuart Cain said in a statement

“These unacceptable actions by a small number of people have overshadowed a superb sporting contest, and those responsible do not deserve to be part of the cricket family.”

In addition to employing “undercover football crowd-style spotters”, there will be enhanced police presence at Edgbaston for the game on Saturday.

The Bharat Army, India’s official global supporters’ group, later said many of its members had been targeted by “a very small minority”, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) saying they were “very concerned” by the reports.

The West Midlands Police have already launched an investigation into the incident.

“I want to apologise directly to any fans who were subjected to racist abuse. Everyone at Edgbaston will work hard to do better,” added Cain.

English cricket was rocked by a racism scandal last year when former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq alleged that he had been a victim of institutional racism at the club.

The ECB last month charged Yorkshire and a number of individuals following an investigation into the claims.

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