August 18, 2011

England cricket

Steward 1, Stewart 0

Nagraj Gollapudi

It is your home ground. You were the captain of your country and the county where the ground is located. You even have a gate named after you. But come Test match day, you cannot get into the hospitality box you want to.

It is not a joke. Alec Stewart had checked into The Oval on Thursday morning to watch the first day’s play of the fourth Test between England and India. He was on his way to enter one of the hospitality boxes. But shockingly for Stewart, the former England wicketkeeper and one of their finest players, he wasn’t allowed to enter because an over-zealous steward, reportedly not having any knowledge of cricket, did not know the man he was stopping was one of Surrey's biggest heroes. “It is the first time that someone has stopped me here," Stewart said.

The incident was caught on the Sky Sports cameras and you could see Stewart not understanding why the young steward wouldn’t let him in despite the badge that permitted him entry anywhere in the ground. Stewart looked bemused but was relieved when one of the senior stewards, standing not far away, allowed him in.

There have been similar incidents in the past involving cricketers being stopped at their home grounds. One example was the late Polly Umrigar, a former India batsman, who was stopped at the Polly Umrigar Gate in the Wankhede stadium by a security guard.

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Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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