New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Christchurch January 4, 2006

Mixed reaction to tighter security

Cricinfo staff

Trouble is brewing after some fans reacted angrily to tough regulations on alcohol introduced by New Zealand Cricket during the ODI at Christchurch on Tuesday.

Bars inside the ground stopped serving wine and beer midway through the game, even though there was no unruly behaviour. But what appears to have really angered some people was the level of security on entering the ground. There were intensive bag searches at the gate, and no liquid at all - even water and thermos flasks of coffee - was allowed to be brought in. NZC countered by arguing that things were thrown onto the outfield during the second ODI at Eden Park and any container is potentially dangerous.

Peter Dwan , NZC's marketing manager, defended the measures. "For every person who says that security was a bit intense in terms of the bag searches ... there are another 15 or 20 people saying, 'It's great we can go to the game of cricket and have a safe and enjoyable day'. "The bag checks have been thorough and a lot of people have come for the full day out, other than just to get legless," he continued. "There's been a slight attitude change, it's the time of year when people are more relaxed and the crowd have been pretty laid-back."

But Warren Lees, the former New Zealand international and coach, was less than impressed, warning that large numbers of spectators could be put off by the over-zealous security.

"We're basically breeding aggressive crowd behaviour through our approach to crowd control," Lees told the New Zealand Herald. "People are turning up at the cricket ready to be treated as criminals. It's not a good scene."

He added that the confrontational style of the security teams would drive many away for good and that it was an overreaction to isolated incidents. "Security are continually misjudging the type of crowd they are dealing with. They are actually riling law-abiding folk with their heavy-handed and antagonistic attitude. There's no need."