Former Australian batsman Greg Ritchie accused of making 'racist' gags

Former Australian batsman and television personality Greg Ritchie has been accused of a racist outburst - using the forbidden 'k-word' - at a lunch-time speech during the first Test at the Gabba.

South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper reported that Ritchie made the remark during an on-stage address at the Brisbane ground while referring to an anecdote involving Kepler Wessels, the former South Africa captain and Australian batsman.

"Hey Kepler, you're not going to call this lot kaffirs today, are you," the Queenslander was reported as saying to a "raucous laugh" on the first day of the Test on Friday, in reference to their time as teammates for Australia against the West Indies in 1983-84.

Wessels, in Brisbane in a commentary capacity with the South African network SuperSport, told the newspaper he may take legal action against the 52-year-old.

"That's a disgraceful, offensive and libellous comment to make," Wessels said. "It's certainly not what I'm about and everyone who knows me will know that. I have no idea what he might be referring to - I haven't even spoken to him since the early '80s."

Ritchie was also booked as guest speaker by Queensland Cricket for its annual pre-Test luncheon at the Brisbane Convention Centre last Wednesday, in which he also recounted anecdotes about Wessels.

On Friday he is also alleged to have also made offensive remarks about Islam, Pakistan, and former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.

"I've got nothing against the Muslim people," Ritchie was reported as saying. "Just this morning I had to try and stop three little Muslim boys trying to break the lock on my car boot. "I had to say, 'Shut up! You're in there for a reason!'"

"You can't say that kind of thing, can you?

"There's a place in Pakistan called Lahore. There weren't many of them (whores) around when we were there in 1982, I can tell you."

About Imran, he reportedly said: "He's an absolute knob is Imran Khan, that's the only way to describe him."

South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee told the Sunday Times: "If that is what was uttered, it is both disappointing and despicable for someone to make these racist comments. Racism has no place in society and in sport."

A spokesman for Cricket Australia said the governing body was attempting to get into contact with Ritchie.

"Naturally, we are concerned at the alleged comments made at the lunch, and we are seeking to understand the detail," he said. "A senior CA official has contacted Greg to understand the detail, but our general principle is that there is certainly no place for racism in sport.

"We fully support the International Cricket Council's anti-racism code and we repeatedly put information under the code on our big screens so that every spectator who enters our grounds understands the code and their obligations under the code."

Ritchie previously stretched boundaries with his portrayal of the Punjabi character Mahatma Cote on the NRL Footy Show.

Fairfax was attempting to contact Ritchie for comment on Sunday.

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