An ABC employee stood down as a ground announcer at England’s tour match in Alice Springs says he did not feign an Indian accent when introducing Monty Panesar.
Cricket Australia (CA) removed David Nixon on Saturday after he allegedly introduced Panesar in an Indian accent to the crowd.
The England-born Panesar is of Indian descent.
CA said Nixon’s conduct was deemed inappropriate and he was stood down shortly before the lunch break in the match between England and a CA Chairman’s XI on Saturday.
Nixon, an ABC Open producer based in the Northern Territory, says the manner in which he introduced Panesar should not be interpreted as a racial slur.
“It comes as a complete surprise to me to be at the centre of a controversy about racial slurring, and I absolutely refute any allegation that I feigned an Indian accent,” he said in a statement.
“‘There’s a change of bowler at the Traeger Avenue end… its Montyyy!’ That was it. I fail to see how anyone could interpret my introduction of Monty Panesar as racial slurring.
“I am certainly responsible for what I say, but not what people hear.”
Nixon, who was working in a volunteer capacity, says a CA official did speak to him during the course of the match, outlining their displeasure with how he was carrying out his role.
“I had however been rebuked by a Cricket Australia representative on a number of occasions for my irreverence,” he said.
“‘That’s not how we roll’ the CA staffer said after I’d welcomed patrons to the ground on day two then mentioned that both teams were on the ground practising their interpretive dance moves.
“They were stretching pre match.
“Upon arriving back at my post after the lunch break on day two, I was met by a Cricket Australia representative who politely said words to the effect of ‘We think that your personal style conflicts with ours and so we’ve relieved you for the afternoon’.
“There was no mention made of my introduction of Monty Panesar or of a complaint being made. There was and is no evidence to support the allegation whatsoever and I will seek clarification from Cricket Australia on their decision to stand me down.”
Nixon says living and working in central Australia means he is sensitive to issues involving race.
“There are few worse things than to be branded a racist,” he said.
“To have such an accusation levelled at me is not only offensive, but defamatory. It is in that context, that I deeply regret having unwittingly contributed to undermining the success of the event or any effect on the town’s reputation.”
England batsman Ian Bell admitted the squad and Panesar were unaware of the incident.
“We actually didn’t know anything about that,” Bell said on Saturday.
“I think we were focused on the cricket, obviously you could hear him through the game, but we didn’t hear that he’d been sacked or anything like that.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it.”