November 13, 2002

Trouble-marred one-day series to go ahead as scheduled

India's cricket officials refused to reschedule the one-day series against the West Indies despite crowd trouble in all the three matches played so far.

"There is no threat to the series, it will be completed as scheduled," said Karunakaran Nair, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

While the first two matches in Jamshedpur and Nagpur were briefly interrupted by missile-throwing fans, Tuesday's game in Rajkot was forced to be abandoned after West Indian fielders were hit by plastic water bottles.

Two of the remaining four matches will be played in Ahmedabad and Baroda, which like Rajkot are situated in the sensitive western state of Gujarat where thousands were killed in communal violence earlier this year.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said he had spoken to state administration officials to ensure the untoward incidents of the first three matches were not repeated.

"We are happy the Gujarat government has agreed to our suggestions to increase security in Ahmedabad and Baroda," Dalmiya said.

"We have also issued necessary instructions to the staging associations to install close-circuit cameras as strategic points in the stadiums, so that mischief-mongers can be identified."

Ahmedabad will host a day-night match on Friday, followed by day games in Baroda (November 18), Jodhpur (Nov 21) and Vijayawada (Nov 24).

The West Indies lead the series 2-1 after winning the first two matches. The third at Rajkot was awarded to India by a margin of 81 runs after the home side was ahead on run-rate when the match was abandoned.

Nair said the problem was not lack of security, but hooliganism by a small section of spectators.

"We can control 99 per cent of the crowd. But if the remaining one per cent decides to create nuisance, we are rendered helpless," he said.

"We can only appeal to the sporting public of India who are great fans of cricket to desist from such behaviour as it is bringing a bad name to the country."

The International Cricket Council (ICC), worried at the incidents in India, said it was looking at expanding its powers to remove international status from unruly venues.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said while it did not at present have the authority to remove the international status of a venue, its Safety and Security Committee would consider it "imminently".

"We have asked this committee to consider appropriate penalties for venues which consistently fail to meet their obligations in meeting minimum standards of security," Speed said in a statement.

"This is likely to include the ultimate sanction of withdrawing international status from a ground, combined with a heavy financial penalty."