LONDON (Agencies): The Marylebone Cricket Club has suspended three members over altercations with Australia players at Lord’s on day five of the second Test.
Television footage appeared to show clashes between Usman Khawaja and David Warner and spectators in the Long Room as Australia walked off for lunch.
The incident came after England’s Jonny Bairstow was controversially stumped by Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Australia batter Khawaja called the comments “disrespectful”.
The MCC said it had apologised “unreservedly” before confirming it had suspended three members identified from the incident.
“They will not be permitted back to Lord’s whilst the investigation takes place,” the MCC added in a statement.
“We maintain that the behaviour of a small number of members was completely unacceptable and whilst there was no suggestion by [Australia captain] 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 re-iterate our apology to Cricket Australia.”
Khawaja said the behaviour of the members was “really disappointing”, while Cummins added he thought some could lose their memberships as a result.
“Lord’s is one of my favourite places to come,” said Khawaja. “There’s always respect shown at Lord’s, particularly in the members’ pavilion in the Long Room, but there wasn’t today.
“Some of the stuff that was coming out of the members’ mouths is 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, and I was like, well, this is your membership here.
“It’s pretty disrespectful, to be honest. I just expect a lot better from the members.”
Australia asked the MCC to investigate, initially saying players had been “physically contacted” as well as verbally abused.
Based at Lord’s, which it owns, the MCC acts as custodian and arbiter of the laws and spirit of cricket.
“We have unreservedly apologised to the Australian team,” the MCC said in a statement.
Tempers flared after Carey threw down the stumps to dismiss Bairstow, who left his crease after seemingly believing the ball was dead at the end of the 52nd over in England’s second innings.
Australia’s players were booed and players from both sides exchanged words as they walked off the field at lunch before Khawaja and Warner appeared to be confronted by members.
“MCC came and apologised for the behaviour of some of the members,” said Cummins.
“I think some of them might lose their memberships over the way they behaved. Other than that one time, they were fantastic all week. Normally fantastic, really welcoming.
“They were just quite aggressive and abusive towards some of our players, which I know the MCC weren’t too happy with.”