'Friendly serve from Merv' campaign launched December 9, 2007

Cricket Australia calls for better crowd behaviour

Cricinfo staff

Spectators who throw items at the cricket this season might be in for a friendly serve from Merv © Getty Images

Merv Hughes has become the face of the latest push for improved crowd behaviour in Australia, with the "friendly serve from Merv" campaign set to warn spectators not to play up this summer. The hurling of items, often during the Mexican wave, is one of the major areas Cricket Australia wants to target after 183 people were injured by flying objects last season.

As the campaign was launched Cricket Australia displayed a range of items that had been hurled at grounds around Australia - nuts, bolts and billiard balls among them. Food items also featured prominently, including a whole roast chicken and a hot pie that landed on a person's face.

"To look at that - the pie and the chicken - mate, I wouldn't throw that," Hughes told AAP. "The nuts and the billiard balls, people obviously take them with the intent to throw. Now if you are going to do that at the cricket, someone is going to get hurt."

The Mexican wave remains banned at matches in Australia and James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said until people refrained from throwing things that ruling would stay in place. The advertisements featuring Hughes will be played at venues during games, as well as in print versions on billboards and in magazines. A "dob a yob" text-messaging service will also run during matches.