It’s was a double whammy for Indian cricket – not just an abysmal performance by team India, but also a shameful behaviour by cricket fans in Cuttack. Both these things have left everyone except Captain Dhoni reeling under its effect.
Dhoni chose to play down the crowd’s unruly behaviour in Cuttack as “not so serious” and “done just for fun”. Visibly upset spectators threw bottles on the field and disrupted the T20 match against South Africa on Monday evening. The men in blue ultimately lost the match by six wickets after they were put to bat first by the Proteas. Team India were bowled out for a paltry 92 in just 17.2 overs.
“We should not be taking such things seriously. I still remember we played in Vizag once and we won the game very easily and that time also a lot of bottles were thrown. It starts with the first bottle and then its more of a fun for the spectators,” said Dhoni.
“We didn’t play well and at times you get reaction like these. It’s only the first few bottles that are hurled with serious intent, after that they just do it for fun,” Dhoni explained
Meanwhile Indian cricket greats like Sunil Gavaskar have called for a strict punishment for the authorities manning the Barabati stadium in Cuttack. In fact, Gavaskar has gone on to say that Cuttack should be banned from hosting an international match for at least a couple of years.
“When it comes to the safety of the players, I don’t think there was any serious threat. A few of the powerful people in the crowd were throwing the bottles on the ground and the umpires felt it was safe to stay in the centre or go off the ground,” said Dhoni.
South African T20 skipper du Plessis on the other hand condemned the incident and hoped that anything like that will not repeat in their 72-day tour of India which includes 5 ODIs and 4 Tests.
“It’s not nice to see it. I have played 5-6 years of cricket in India, and I have never seen that. So, you don’t want that to be a part of the game. You come here to compete, and the best team walks away winning….To have that happening, I don’t think it’s a good thing. It should not happen. Even the way the game was played towards the end, it lost its intensity because obviously India thought that we have already won as we needed only 20 runs,” said du Plesis.
“This is the first time I have experienced in India, so I can’t say it happens a lot. But as you said, it happens a lot in the sub-continental conditions. That’s definitely to do with the passion that fans have. But, its surely not something we as players want to be a part of the game…Obviously, player security is very important wherever we go across the world. Let’s just hope that it’s a bad day at the office,” added du Plesis.
(With inputs from PTI)