April 10, 2006

What serious threat?

My trenchant cricket-covering friend Anand Vasu, horrified by violence in Guwahati after yesterday's match was rained out, writes in Cricinfo:
    Guwahati's standing as an international venue is under serious threat in the aftermath of the fifth India-England ODI where crowd trouble erupted when the umpires called off play because of a wet outfield.
Well, I hope you're right, Anand. After senseless behaviour like that, I think Guwahati should be immediately taken off the list of venues for cricket matches for, let's say, five years. And that decision should stand, not subject to any change, for those five years.

Unfortunately, I don't think anything like that will happen. Rewind to November 2002, when idiot crowds disrupted three successive one-day matches with the West Indies -- in order, Jamshedpur, Nagpur and Rajkot. At Rajkot the match actually had to be abandoned and India was declared the winner (Duckworth/Lewis, but India was cruising towards a win anyway). Which left the minor irony that India was the winner of a match its own supporters destroyed. (Maybe a hope of something similar is what motivated the Guwahati yahoos).

And what has happened at those grounds since those days of shame in 2002?

Jamshedpur is hosting the next India-England match, on Wednesday April 12. Nagpur hosted the third Test versus Australia in October 2004, the first one-day match versus Sri Lanka last October and the first Test versus England last month. Rajkot hosted the sixth one-day match versus Sri Lanka last November.

There are other inspiring examples of such disruptions. I chose these three at random.

Now I don't know any easy way to deal with idiot crowds being violent at matches. But the minimum must be to deny those crowds the chance to watch the game live for a period that will hurt. Five years, ten years, something. (Instead, for example, Rajkot's three year wait for a match after that 2002 mess is just the average -- since Rajkot's first match in 1986, there's been a match held there about every 3 years).

So what's the bet Guwahati will host a match sometime in the next couple of years (Guwahati's average)? What's the bet we'll keep seeing this madness at Indian grounds in the future?


Anonymous said...

This would be a decent idea, except for the fact that people may intentionally disrupt matches just to have them called off, to have sponsorship money re-routed to other venues, or simply to influence series outcomes. It would only take only one person to do it.

Anonymous said...

if implemented, all venues will soon lose their status and all the "home" matches will have to be played overseas. and then people may realize.

Anonymous said...

An international match should not be held at a stadium which is not capably infrastructure wise.

Anonymous said...

While I am not condoning crowd violence in stadiums, given the absolutely wretched conditions the spectators are subjected to - it is suprising to see so few incidences. Poor stadium facilities, over capacity packing, lack of basic amenities such as restrooms and water, hassling by security guards etc. makes it a harrowing experience.

It is unfortunate that a sports-body as cash-rich as the BCCI cannot improve things. Take the ticket fiasco in Faridabad for instance - if the Indian Railways can have online booking for its enormous operation, why can't the BCCI do the same? True - not everyone has internet connection - but a computerized system will at least streamline the operations (e.g keep some tickets for box-office sale and sell the rest on the net). I am sure any software company would be willing to devise the system for free in return for publicity and naming rights.

Anonymous said...

Dilip: "spontaneous bandh" being enforced in Bangalore with Raj Kumar's death. Serious threat? Or terrorists roaming the streets?