ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Bangladesh v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Mirpur
Bangladesh bus was also hit, says Ian Pont
Sidharth Monga in Mirpur
March 4, 2011
Ian Pont, Bangladesh's bowling coach, has told ESPNcricinfo that, in addition to West Indies' bus, the Bangladesh team bus was also hit on its way back from the Shere Bangla Stadium, after the home team suffered a huge defeat to West Indies in a game that lasted all of 31.1 overs. Pont said there was no way the West Indian players were specifically targeted.
"I think there was something that hit our bus," Pont said, but also confirmed there hasn't been any injury. "Nothing like that [injury or panic]. Just that when we got off the bus, we saw the windows had been thrashed. People were throwing things at the bus as we were speeding along. We were going along very quickly, so these things kind of bounced off rather than hit the bus with full force. They ricocheted off, and bounced off to the side."
The BCB president, Mustafa Kamal, had earlier said that both the buses left the ground together, led by a dummy bus. In that scenario it is quite possible that the throwers of stones didn't quite know who was in which bus. Pont agreed with the theory. "The incident we had is probably a minor one, but the point is there shouldn't be any. We are a host country, and I am thinking it's our disgruntled fans. I am absolutely sure that they wouldn't have deliberately targeted the West Indies' vehicle. They were just throwing stuff at buses. All the buses look the same, and we have got blue curtains up. I am not even sure they could even see, so they were just throwing anything."
Fan site condemns incident
Pont strongly condemned the incident. "You cannot throw bricks and stones at cricketers. I understand fans get emotional. You have to control your emotions, you can't let it spill over into violence. This is effectively violence. And I think the West Indies were a bit more shaken up."
He empathised with Chris Gayle's strong reaction on Twitter. "Chris Gayle commented on that, didn't he? What's next? Bullets or something? [is what Gayle tweeted]. I think it comes to people's minds. We are very aware that there is a lot of security around the team, we are very aware there is a lot of security around the World Cup itself. Up until now, everything seems to have gone okay. Security seems to be pretty good, and there have been no incidents. This is the first one as far as I know. It is disappointing - it's probably a few stupid fans showing their emotion, but you can't be throwing bricks and stones at international cricketers. At the end of the day it is just a game of cricket. It's all it is."
Pont spoke of how the worst comes to your mind when you are stuck in such an incident. "The bottom line is it doesn't reflect very well. This is the issue really. Incidents happen all the time. People blow off firecrackers or they get upset, or they call players names. I understand supporters get disappointed and angry, but it can't spill over into violence or lawlessness. While these are isolated incidents, we don't want a repeat of anything that happened to the Sri Lankan cricketers [in 2009]. I know that's on people's minds sometimes when things happen, when a bus gets attacked. You don't know who is attacking you, you don't know what they are attacking you with. When someone's throwing things at a bus, and it is making a loud noise, you don't quite know what's going on."
The Daily Star also reported that a few fans on motorbikes threw stones at Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan's Magura home, leaving a window-pane broken. "I went to the mosque to offer prayers and heard that some unidentified people did it," Shakib's father Mashrur Reza, said. The police stated that the incident was an isolated one, and that security had been deployed.
The Bangladesh fans, Pont said, are usually better behaved. "I think we have crowds here that show their dissatisfaction vocally. They shout out and abuse the players if they are not happy. People pay their 400 taka and they come and have a shout, I understand that. [But] To resort to violence is never acceptable."