June 23, 2001

Bevan hit in face by beer can during presentations


More crowd trouble marred Australia's NatWest Series final win at Lord's when a full beer can was hurled on to the balcony during the presentation ceremony and hit Michael Bevan in the face.

Bevan was seen rubbing his cheek after the incident, which followed pitch invasions at Edgbaston and Headingley.

The incident prompted Australian captain Steve Waugh to repeat his warning that somebody will get killed unless action is taken.

"I know I keep harping on about it but someone will get killed," he said. "There's no doubt about it.

"Michael's sore and lucky - I don't think there are any breaks there.

"It could have been serious, it could have hit him in the eye, the nose, the temple, whatever.

"It's just pure luck that it hit him in a spot that doesn't appear to be too serious."

Bevan, who was interviewed by police, said: "I wasn't too sure what happened myself. I felt something hit the side of my head and it wasn't until a few minutes later that we found it was a full beer can.

"I wasn't turning towards that direction. I think I've got out of it pretty well at this stage. I've had a quick check-up. I suppose we might have to wait until the morning to see how it is.

"It could have happened to any other player, I was just the unlucky one. It really could have done me a lot more damage. It could have hit me in the eye, the nose, the mouth or anywhere, or the temple. I've probably got away with it.

"The authorities have got to look back over the series and say can we improve in any way, shape or form on this. It was going well today and unfortunately an incident like that marred an otherwise uneventful day.

"I can't tell what a person would be thinking in that instance but he must have known a thing like that could have done serious damage."

Waugh added: "We thought we were safe there 50 metres away from the crowd. It came out of blue. It was a cowardly act. There's safety in numbers.

"He's obviously thrown it with the intent of hurting someone. Thirty players were lined up and it was probably pot luck who it was going to hit.

"It's very sad, but maybe, in a way, you can turn it into a positive. Maybe we've reached the lowest point with the spectators, and something will be done and it will be recognised that there are problems, and precautions have got to be taken.

"This will probably have to go on the list. It might be plastic cups instead of bottles and cans in future.

"I think everyone's got to sit down and work out what the best way is to solve these problems and how we can prevent it.

"It's certainly very disappointing. It's a shame the day had to end like that. The crowd was very well behaved up to that point."

Ricky Ponting revealed how his throw-away remark had saved Bevan from more serious injury. He said: "Just before it hit him I told him to look at the camera. It's a good job I did or it would have hit him smack on the nose. Thankfully it looks as though he is going to be okay."

Pakistan captain Waqar Younis, named man-of-the-series, added: "It's a shame the way it's ended."

Eggs were also thrown towards the balcony but the beer can was the only object to reach it. After the incident, the remainder of the presentation ceremony was held inside.

Former England captain David Gower, speaking on Sky Sports 1, said: "It is a shameful end to this NatWest series. It is unbelievable, ridiculous.

"These people have let their country down. This is getting out of hand.

"People out there are still enjoying the fact that something of this nature has happened.

"MCC can be proud of what they have managed to achieve so far. They let the crowd on to the field at the end with an element of control. They the fans let them down.

"There are people who have come for a quite day out and this happens. The players, the stewards and the crowd all have a right to be protected

"It seems that even the presentation ceremony is a problem now. It is the first time we have ever seen scenes like this at Lord's."

Another former England captain Bob Willis believes the scenes should mean the end for balcony presentations where fans can watch from close quarters.

He said: "We have learned a lot from Australia over the years - we discovered white balls and floodlit cricket about 20 years after them.

"Over there they have scrapped presentations on balconies. They only have a presentation after one-day finals on the field of play.

"The sooner the government can pass the legislation to prevent people coming on the pitch the better."

He went on: "Presentations will have to be in camera so the spectators can watch it on the big screen but if it's a final the fans cannot be allowed on the pitch.

"We've had the same problem in soccer. It's the minority that ruin it for everybody."

Former Pakistan player Ramiz Raja said: "The answer is to fine the spectators. If we find someone hitting someone with a beer can they should be jailed and fined.

"You need that legislation in place - only then would we be able to stop this problem."

It was expected that detectives would examine TV footage in a bid to find the culprit.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "A number of people came on to the pitch after the game. There were no arrests.

"At the end of the match a number of people gathered in front of the pavilion to watch the presentation.

"Within this group, a very small number threw missiles, one of which hit Australian cricketer Michael Bevan in the face."

She added: "The incident will be investigated by Marylebone CID."