June 8, 2001

ECB to review security after Edgbaston pitch invasion


The England and Wales Cricket Board are aiming to step up security at NatWest Series games following the pitch invasion at Edgbaston last night.

Crowds streamed on to the playing area when they believed Pakistan had taken the final England wicket but, in fact, the appeal had been turned down.

The players ran off the field and as they did so Nick Knight was struck, according to England captain Alec Stewart.

Australia play their first match against Pakistan in Cardiff tomorrow and the ECB are working to ensure that security is stepped up.

An ECB spokesman said: "Security is an issue we are taking very seriously. The players have a right to feel secure on the field.

"Tim Lamb (ECB chief executive) is leading talks with other senior executives and the ground authorities from Glamorgan."

Lamb is reported to be looking at various ways of improving security including more vigilant stewarding beyond the boundary ropes.

Australian Cricket Board spokesman Brian Murgatroyd said: "Our position is the same as it has been for some time. We are not in favour of supporters being on the field until the players have been able to leave safely at the end of the game."

David Graveney, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), claimed the security measures at Edgbaston were totally inadequate.

He said: "Whilst attempting to leave the pitch, Nick Knight was struck which is of massive concern to both the PCA and the International players Association, FICA (Federation of International Cricketers' Associations).

"PCA will be urgently seeking information from the England and Wales Cricket Board following their meeting on Friday morning with Warwickshire CCC and the police over how security can be vastly improved for the remaining matches within this triangular tournament."

Warwickshire chief executive Dennis Amiss met ECB officials at 8am today to present them with a report on the pitch invasion.

He said: "We consider that lessons do need to be learned from these events and we have worked to provide a factual report to which we expect the ECB to react today.

"This is a very short-term process because we still have a number of One-Day Internationals to come and we need to sit down with everybody."

Amiss is confident that Edgbaston's role for such games in future has not been compromised and that Warwickshire had been aware of potential problems that yesterday's fixture might attract and had acted accordingly to minimise risks.

He said: "We felt we had done everything we could to prevent it happening in our meetings beforehand with the police and the match referee.

"We had double the number of police that we have ever had for an international match before, we had more stewards than ever and we had 160 'special projects' who usually look after Manchester United.

"But it is very difficult to stop many thousands of people when they are running straight at you.

"We have got a very good track record of covering international cricket and we have had similar problems before and handled them. There are always lessons to be learned but we have been very successful before and hopefully we will continue to be."

After last night's events, Alec Stewart said: "It's not the thing you want to see in England, not that you want to see them anywhere in the world.

"My main concern was players' safety, my team. When we came off and Nick Knight was struck, I wasn't going to let my team go out there until my players' safety was guaranteed.

"We've had a problem with football in this country and that's been sorted out. It doesn't happen often here and I can't remember anywhere anything like this and I've played around the world - and I certainly don't want to see it happen again."

But Waqar Younis, who went round the boundary trying to restore order, said: "This is nothing new for me playing in Pakistan and India.

"It's a shame the match was stopped but this does happen and maybe we need more security.

"Players' safety was important and they were thinking of calling the game off, but I really wanted to get out there and finish the game, which is why I went out and calmed the crowd down.

"I don't know if this is going to happen again, but we do need more security. I don't know what they can do because they can't put more fences out, but they can have more police."