SPORT

A prank that spoilt the entertainment

GETTING WISE AFTER THE EVENT: Foresight and proper planning are needed to prevent the sort of incident that aborted the third India-West Indies one day match at Rajkot on Tuesday. While the police did swing into action to clear the section of the stands from where the bottle was thrown, this did not result in the resumption of the match. — Photo: Vivek Bendre.

GETTING WISE AFTER THE EVENT: Foresight and proper planning are needed to prevent the sort of incident that aborted the third India-West Indies one day match at Rajkot on Tuesday. While the police did swing into action to clear the section of the stands from where the bottle was thrown, this did not result in the resumption of the match. — Photo: Vivek Bendre.  

Ahmedabad Nov. 13. A 12 year old's prank blotted Rajkot's copybook on Tuesday. Until the third one-day international between India and the West Indies, Rajkot enjoyed the reputation of a peace loving and another among the ubiquitous cricket crazy town in the troubled State of Gujarat.

It was a town which might have been less affected by the communal flare-ups, but the people were still looking forward to the `D' Day to see India's young and bright batting stars in Virender Sehwag, Yuveraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif.

The close to 20,000 spectators were in the midst of savouring a thoroughly entertaining day's play of cricket in the third TVS Cup match and when Sehwag was in a full flight, when a stray incident in the West Stand not only disrupted the proceedings, but also terminated the match with the home team on the way to notching an emphatic win.

A Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) official claimed that it was a 12 year old boy who had thrown a half filled water bottle, but he had no intention of hurting Vasbert Drakes positioned near the mid wicket boundary.

It was the third time in less than a week's time the West Indies cricketers have been targets of objects ranging from stones and water bottles at three different parts of the country, Jamshedpur, and Nagpur being the other two centres. According to the Match Referee of the series Mike Procter a small plastic pouch filled with sand was thrown at a West Indies player on Tuesday at the Rajkot Municipal Corporation Stadium. Reports indicate that the visiting side's Vasbert Drakes, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ryan Hinds and Pedro Collins and India's Harbhajan Singh were targets, but they all escaped unhurt.

Evidently the enormity of the incidents has been different. The culprits in the stands were many at the Keenan Stadium, Jamshedpur and at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA), Nagpur. At Rajkot it was just an odd case, although Procter revealed at a press conference that reserve West Indian player, Pedro Collins was a victim while taking a round of the stadium.

The officials of the SCA and the people are upset that Rajkot will now be unnecessarily dragged into bad books of the International Cricket Council (ICC) again. Six years ago Rajkot was red-marked by the ICC as a centre not good enough to hold international matches. New Zealand's Match referee John Reid gave the not so good report after Titan Cup one-day international between India and South Africa.

The SCA officials had prepared for the match with prayer in their lips and hoped that no untoward incident would take place and mar the match. Unfortunately it turned out that a 12 year old's prank caused the match to be abandoned and awarded to India because it was at 200 for 1 in 27.1 overs coasting toward victory.

"If teams are going to do this for a stray incident, then there is a possibility that matches in future may be called off after ten overs,'' said an SCA official. But Procter, who did not go into the full details of the sequence of events that ultimately to the match being awarded to India, made it clear that `three incidents' took place on Tuesday and that it was for the third time in three matches that the crowd was misbehaving.

The West Indies did not relent once Ridley Jacobs took his team to the first floor dressing room at the Municipal Corporation Stadium and for Procter it was honouring the word he gave to the West Indies team management that he would abandon the match should an act of misconduct happen again.

The Rajkot decision should be seen as a deterrent for the remaining four matches in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Jodhpur and Vijayawada which would be staging its first one-day international on November.

The one-day series has reached the half way stage and officials of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) that will stage the first day/night match here at the Motera are hopeful of an incident-free match to be played on Friday.

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