Police fired tear gas on cricket fans who turned violent after the fifth One-day International between India and England was abandoned without a ball being bowled here on Sunday.
Spectators threw missiles on to the field and set advertising hoardings on fire after umpires Rudi Koertzen and Arani Jayaprakash decided no play would be possible due to the wet ground conditions following overnight rain.
“I am disappointed that there was no match today. But if such things (crowd violence) happen again, Guwahati might not have a game again,” said South African umpire Koertzen. Two policemen and one spectator were injured in the violence.
India have already clinched the seven-match series after winning the first four games. Thousands had begun packing into the stadium since early morning and a section of the crowd grew restless as hopes of even an abbreviated match vanished. They then attacked policemen with water bottles and sticks. The police fired tear gas to disperse the angry spectators, who tore down fencing around sections of the field and pelted stones at television cameras. The two teams were taken to their hotel just as the violence broke out.
“Trouble started when people realised there was no possibility of a match. They started throwing bottles and stones on to the ground,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Avinash Joshi. “I guess frustration was the main cause. Some of them have been waiting since five in the morning. But police successfully handled the situation though two of our policemen were injured in the process,” he added.
Authorities had even used a helicopter in an attempt to dry the ground, with the blades pushing wind downwards, but to no avail. “We had to consider the safety of the players and both camps were adamant they were not happy with the run-ups and the fielding areas, particularly the slip cordon,” umpire Koertzen said.
“That is why it had to be called off. People have been sitting here all day waiting for the game to take place. They havenâ€™t had any cricket for years so you can understand how they feel,” the South African added.
The local Assam Cricket Association said that they would protest the umpiresâ€™ decision to abandon the match. “We are not satisfied with the umpiresâ€™ decision and we will write to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about it,” association spokesman said. “We tried our best to organise the match. We hired the helicopter. From our organisationâ€™s side, we have done everything possible. “I went to the playersâ€™ dressing rooms, they told me â€˜Yes, if the umpires decide, we are ready to playâ€™. The crowd, however, will get their money back because we insured the match,” he added.
Guwahati is the main city in the restive northeastern state of Assam and the players were given tight security. The sixth one-dayer will be played in Jamshedpur on Wednesday with the final match in Indore on Saturday.
Source: The NewsMore on:england, England in India 2006, icc, India
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