Delhi v Uttar Pradesh, Ranji Trophy 2017-18, Group A, 3rd day November 3, 2017

Ranji game halted as man drives onto the pitch in Delhi

© Kamesh Srinivasan/The Hindu

A major security breach at the Air Force Sports Complex in Palam allowed a man, who identified himself as Girish Sharma, to drive his car onto the field of play and into the pitch during the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh Ranji game at Palam 'A' ground in New Delhi on Friday.

The man claimed he didn't see any security and was merely lost, despite what looked like deliberate swerves to drive over the pitch twice, completely ignoring attempts from players and umpires to stop him. A number of international players like Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma and Rishabh Pant are in action.

Justice Vikramjit Sen, the administrator in charge of DDCA, said that the issue was being sorted by the Services Control Board, which is in charge of the Palam ground. "Fortunately there was no injury to any of the players. We are trying to sort the issue," Justice Sen said. Asked if the incident will put a cloud over matches in future at the venue, Justice Sen said all points would be considered based upon the investigation.

The BCCI's anti-corruption unit (ACU) is understood to be not in charge of security during domestic tournament. However the ACU is in touch with the concerned authorities to facilitate the probe.

The incident took place at 4.40pm, 20 minutes from close of play after the match officials took the half hour extension to make up for the over-rate. The match referee deemed the pitch "playable" after examining potential damage. The match will begin as scheduled on the final day at 9.15am.

Uttar Pradesh, who pocketed the first innings lead, were 224 for 7, ahead by 246, when play stopped. The lost time could thwart both teams in their quest for an outright result.

Delhi, who have one win in two matches so far, were denied an outright win in their tournament opener in controversial circumstances. Assam were accused of "slowing down the game" and bowling just seven out of the mandatory 15 overs in the last hour of play, leaving Delhi inches short of an outright win.

With no other venue available, the fixture, which is Delhi's home game, was shifted to the Palam ground because the Feroz Shah Kotla was engaged for the first India-New Zealand Twenty20 International on Wednesday.

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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