Angry and disappointed spectators hurled missiles, mainly water bottles, into the cricket ground after India were bundled out for 92 against South Africa in the second T20 International at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.
South Africa were 64/3 in 11 overs when play had to be stopped. Put into bat, India just lasted 17.2 overs, to record their second-lowest total in T20Is. Their lowest was 74 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in February 2008.
As India collapsed, fans vented their fury by throwing water bottles from the two-levels gallery three and four as it continued unabated in the innings break.
Bottles are incidentally banned in most of the venues in India where water is supplied in pouches but an Odisha Cricket Association official said in Barabati Stadium the situation is different.
“We have banned small water bottles and water pouches which can travel more distance than a big size bottle which is not banned here,” an OCA official said.
Thankfully the bottles did not invade the playing area and fell on the practice surface outside the fence near the dressing room and the play resumed after the scheduled break with police officials taking control of the situation.
There were also repeated announcements from the OCA to pacify the spectators and the match began without any further interruption. Play resumed after 27 minutes but after a couple of overs the players walked off yet again. After play resumed a second time South Africa reached their target in the 18th over to clinch the T20I series.
However, the incident has come in from some sharp criticism from current and former players. Sunil Gavaskar lambasted the police force for not doing their job and he also advocated sanctions against Odisha Cricket Association
“The police were standing there without any instructions. The police who are stationed on the boundary perimeter should not be watching cricket but they be monitoring the behavior of the fans,” Gavaskar said in an exclusive interview to NDTV.
He also added that this incident has given a bad impression to Indian cricket and he advocated strict punishment to deter such action. “Cuttack should not be given an international for the next couple of years. As a deterrent, the BCCI must also stop the subsidy to the Odisha Cricket Association,” he added.
Looking at India’s performance, many fans would have been dismayed but Gavaskar had absolutely no sympathy for them. “Do the crowd throw valuables when the team does well? When the team does badly, the fans have no business to throw rubbish,” Gavaskar said.