Guwahati's history of crowd violence makes it undeserving of international cricket | KNO

Guwahati's history of crowd violence makes it undeserving of international cricket | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

News Desk

In 2003, when Jacob Oram ran down to stand 20 feet away from where I was sitting, fielding at long-on in a low-scoring Australia versus New Zealand ODI in Guwahati's Nehru Stadium, the crowd instantly began hurling insults at him, forcing him to swap places with Daryl Tuffey mid over. This is the only incident I remember from the first cricket match I attended at a stadium because I couldn't understand why the crowd would get personal with a player during a tri-series match where the home team wasn't even playing.


This photo tweeted by Australian batsman Aaron Finch shows the broken glass of one of the windows of the Australian team bus in Guwahati. Twitter/ @AaronFinch5This photo tweeted by Australian batsman Aaron Finch shows the broken glass of one of the windows of the Australian team bus in Guwahati. Twitter/ @AaronFinch5

Instances of the crowd getting rude and unruly during a cricket match are far from unheard of, and several players have been caught reacting to such behaviour too. But Guwahati stands alone when it comes to the sheer number of incidents involving members of the audience getting downright violent during or after a cricket match.


Indian cricket witnessed one of its darkest episodes in 2006 when frustrated fans in Guwahati gave vent to their anger by torching billboards, throwing broken bottles and burning bonfire at the Nehru Stadium after an ODI between India and England was abandoned without a single ball being bowled. I remember the Indian team taking rounds of the field to calm their dejected fans down, but the crowd resumed the violence once the players went away.


Eventually, the police had to fire tear gas shells to evacuate the stadium, resulting in injuries to at least a dozen people, including policemen.


Growing up in Guwahati, an international cricket match was an annual affair at best. With the construction of a new stadium that suffered multiple long delays, it took seven years for cricket to return to the city, since the last encounter between India and New Zealand (there were only a couple of international fixtures organised between these two afore-mentioned times New Zealand visited the city).


On Tuesday, after Australia pulled off an eight-wicket win over India in the second T20I of the series in Guwahati, having dominated the hosts, the Australian team bus was attacked by a mob.