Top 10: The most controversial crowd moments in cricket history

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South Africa’s six-wicket win against India in Cuttack was marred by crowd trouble.

Spectators at cricket matches are usually known to offer polite smatterings of applause to mark a boundary, emit the odd ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ if the ball whizzes past the edge of the bat, and respectfully say “Well played, sir!” if a batsman gets dismissed.  

However, South Africa’s six-wicket win versus India in the second T20 International at Cuttack earlier this week saw another side of the cricket fan rear it’s ugly head.

– PAKvENG: Pakistan tougher than Australia says Farbrace

– LEGENDS: Warne and Tendulkar take cricket to the US
– ENGLAND: Cook's men draw with Pakistan A in difficult UAE conditions

– INSIDE STORY: USA cricket is trying to fight back

After India batted first and were bowled out for 92, their second lowest T20I score ever, the home crowd showed their frustration by throwing plastic water bottles onto the outfield as South Africa cantered to an easy win.

Two separate half-hour stoppages in play ensued and the aftermath is likely to see the Barabati stadium, which was hosting its first ever international T20 contest, get banned from hosting India matches for the foreseeable future.

Far from the stereotypical image of spectators at a cricket match respectfully applauding in between sips of Earl Grey tea, Sport360 looks at ten moments in cricket’s history when sitting on a plastic seat all day just wasn’t enough.


During an ODI match against India in 2008 at Brisbane, a fan dressed in absolutely nothing interrupted play as he ran onto the field to complete a lap of honour around the ground.

Little did he know that running in the general direction of Aussie all-rounder Andrew Symonds was probably the single biggest mistake he would make in his whole life.

Symonds, who trained with a rugby club in the off-season, ended the streaker’s joy run with a classic rugby crash tackle that left him flat on his back.

Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds rugby-tackled a streaker in 2008.


Jamshedpur’s Keenan Stadium was the scene of an ugly fan mob during an ODI between India and the West Indies in 2002.

With the visitors needing just 12 more runs to chase down an imposing total, members of the crowd decided to start throwing bottles on to the pitch, light fires in the stands and rip apart advertising boards.

As the umpires and players rushed to the dressing room for safety, the match was abandoned with the Windies winning via Duckworth-Lewis. 

A match was abandoned at the Jamshedpur’s Keenan Stadium in 2002.


The seventh and final match of the 1971 Ashes played in Sydney was almost abandoned mid-way through because of crowd trouble.

On the second day of play, England fast bowler John Snow brought upon the wrath of the home crowd after he hit tail-ender Terry Jenner on the head with a bouncer, forcing him to retire hurt.

A drunk member of the crowd grabbed Snow after he retuned to his fielding position next to the boundary, sparking a melee. Beer cans were then thrown at the England team as skipper Ray Illingworth led his side off the field.

In the end, 190 people were ejected and 14 fans were arrested for offensive behavior.

John Snow is grabbed by a member of the crowd after Australian batsman Terry Jenner was struck by his bouncer delivery.


There are many ways for a player to deal with an attention-seeking streaker who strives to disrupt a cricket match. Andrew Symonds showed us one way with a flawless rugby tackle.  

Another Aussie, Greg Chappell, showed the world a slightly more humorous method of dealing with streakers during a Test match against New Zealand in 1977.

Clearly fed-up by what was the third pitch-invader to have disrupted the match, Chappell took matters into his own hands as he chased the nubile man, grabbed him, and spanked him several times with his bat on the backside. 

Greg Chappell (left) chased a streaker during a Test against New Zealand in 1977.


At 98-2, India were well positioned in the 1996 World Cup semi-final at Eden Gardens to chase down Sri Lanka’s total of 252 and book their place in the finals.

However, a dramatic collapse saw them reduced to 120-8, leading the usually respectable Eden Gardens crowd to vent their frustration – they set fire to large sections of the stands and hurled homemade missiles onto the playing area.

As things got uglier, officials were left with few options but to abandon the match and award the victory to Sri Lanka.    

Ugly crowd scenes broke out at the 1996 World Cup semi final at Eden Gardens.


Play is usually disrupted when the crowd gets involved with the players in one unsavory way or another.

But things took a slightly different turn during a One-Day International match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Premadassa Stadium earlier this year.

Play was stopped during Sri Lanka’s chase when fighting broke out between two sections in the crowd. Objects including rocks were thrown back and forth between the quarrelling sides and it wasn’t until police brought the situation under control did play resume in the middle.

The ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Premadassa Stadium earlier this year was disrupted.


The first recorded instant of crowd trouble in a cricket match dates all the way back to 1879 during a match between a touring English team and New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

When star Australian batsmen Billy Murdoch was controversially given out by umpire George Coulthard, more than 2,000 spectators stormed onto the field and assaulted the umpire as well as some of the English players.

The Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia pictured in the 1980s.


India and Pakistan matches are never short of drama but things went a bit too far during an ill-tempered Test match at Kolkata in 1999.

After Sachin Tendulkar was controversially run-out at a critical stage of the match, the Pakistanis were pelted by bottles and other objects by the furious Indian crowd. A three-hour hold-up in play ensued as police and security officials evicted more than 65,000 spectators from the ground.  

Tendulkar's innings ended during a Test match in Kolkata in 1999.


Inzamam-ul-Haq got involved with an Indian fan during an ODI in Toronto in 1997 when the fan hurled abuse at the burly Pakistani batsman through a megaphone.

Armed with a bat, Inzy charged into the crowd to get at the fan and it took several security staff and spectators to pull him away. The abusive fan escaped with a few bruises and a torn shirt.

Pakistan's Inzamam Ul-Haq was involved in a confrontation with a fan during the Sahara Cup cricket exhibition match in Toronto.


One of the bloodiest riots in cricket history took place when the West Indies played India in a Test match at Eden Gardens in 1967.

A ticketing error resulted in more than 20,000 extra fans showing up at the 60,000 capacity stadium and shortly before the day’s play had even started, fans began spilling onto the field as security officials struggled to contain the sheer number of people.

A full-out riot followed with spectators fighting with police and the day’s play was rightfully called off.

20,000 extra fans showing up at the 60,000 capacity stadium in 1967.

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Pakistan tougher test than Ashes says England assistant coach Paul Farbrace

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Paul Farbrace is plotting yet more success with England alongside Trevor Bayliss.

England believe they have unfinished business, as they bid to become the first tourists to beat Pakistan since the relocation of their home Tests to the United Arab Emirates.

Alastair Cook's team are between warm-up matches on Wednesday, and assistant coach Paul Farbrace is confident they have made a fine start.

– LEGENDS: Warne and Tendulkar take cricket to the US

– ENGLAND: Cook's men draw with Pakistan A in difficult UAE conditions
– INSIDE STORY: USA cricket is trying to fight back

– Pakistan: Bilal reported for suspect action

He also cited an opportunity for Cook, and three other veterans of England's 3-0 defeat here in early 2012, to make up for that setback at a time when they had just risen to the top of the world rankings.

After last summer's Ashes success, England hope to be on the move upwards again.

The three-match series set to start in Abu Dhabi next week is a hazardous stepping stone to future progress, but Farbrace senses England have the right motivation and personnel to fare well here under Cook.

Having worked together previously with Sri Lanka, Bayliss and Farbrace reunited for Ashes glory.

He said: "We've got senior players who've been here and experienced it, and I think there was a feeling that – although they lost the last Test series here 3-0 – it was one they could quite easily have won.

"They didn't, that's history, it's gone now.

"But I think we've got a great chance with this group to play some really good cricket, and we're looking to be as positive as we possibly can be."

Farbrace is under no illusions about the difficulties which lie ahead, some apparent already as England had to dig deep for both runs and wickets in their drawn tour opener against Pakistan A.

"We're coming here knowing it's going to be a very, very tough series," he added.

"I said at the end of the Australian series I expected this to be a tougher series for us to play in."

So it was already as England began attuning themselves in the middle with bat and ball in Sharjah over the past two days, to promising effect but with room for improvement too.

England start their second two-day tour match against Pakistan A on Thursday.

"We knew it was going to be tough, very different obviously from conditions we've just played in the Ashes," Farbrace added.

"The application with the ball was outstanding.

"The one thing we've just had a quick chat about is that, to win a Test match, you've got to take 20 chances – and we've missed a couple of chances [here].

"That's something we'll have to work very hard on, and something we prided ourselves on in the Ashes series.

"We've still got a good few days to go, so there'll be plenty of catching (practice) done over the next few days.

"But generally, I think we had a really good two days. We saw how players adapted quite quickly to the situation and conditions."

Moeen Ali is thought to be first choice to partner Alastair Cook at the top of the order.

England have one major selection issue to confirm, although it appears – after being given the first chance to impress alongside Cook at the top of the order – Moeen Ali is the preferred option ahead of the uncapped Alex Hales to do so too, for the first time, in next week's first Test.

Farbrace nonetheless said: "Everybody in the 16, I think, genuinely has an opportunity … at this stage.

"I wouldn't rule anything in or out, and I think we need to keep our options open as long as we possibly can.

"Mo's had first go in this practice game, and we were very pleased with the way he applied himself … and that first hour was very difficult."

There is no doubt England will have two spinners in their Test team, debutant Adil Rashid to join Moeen.

Farbrace said: "It's exciting [to have them bowling together].

"It's the way we want to go, and I know [coach] Trevor (Bayliss) is a huge fan of two spinners in the side."

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Memon: Big challenges ahead for Manohar

Ayaz Memon 7/10/2015
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Shashank Manohar was named president of the BCCI for the second time last week.

Within a couple of days of beginning his second innings as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BBCI), Shashank Manohar was reminded of a major challenge that confronts him in the days ahead.

This did not come from the man whose ambitions he has stymied, N Srinivasan, or any other threat to his position within the administration, rather the way cricket is being administered in the country.

– LEGENDS: Warne and Tendulkar take cricket to the US

– ENGLAND: Cook's men draw with Pakistan A in difficult UAE conditions
– INSIDE STORY: USA cricket is trying to fight back

– Pakistan: Bilal reported for suspect action

The shameful behaviour of the Cuttack crowd during the second T20I match against South Africa – when bottles and other debris were thrown on the outfield to protest against India’s poor performance – was a more serious blow to the prestige of Indian cricket than the loss of the three-match series.

The attitude of the spectators was disappointing. India’s obsession with cricket is part of cricket lore, but this does not marry well with being sore losers. However, this was not the first time something like this has transpired (remember the 1996 World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens?) so obviously the state association should have been better prepared.

Crowd trouble disrupted India's second T20I clash against South Africa in Cuttack.

The Cuttack cricket administration and the local police were not only unprepared, but also unwilling to take any action for a period long enough to turn the match into a fiasco way beyond the miserable cricket played by India. With the authorities lax, the vandals had a free run, resulting in mayhem.

One hears that Manohar, stung badly by the embarrassment caused by the unruly behavior at Cuttack is looking at punitive punishment against the local cricket administration: this could mean a fine or a ban on future matches for some time or both.

If this had to move from intent to action, it would be a major step in Indian cricket administration otherwise enmeshed in an unseemly game of votes-for-favour for a long time now. The plank on which Manohar had been voted to power was to bring back stability and credibility to the BCCI, and reining in vagabond state associations would be a great start even if it may seem less newsworthy than fighting Srinivasan.

BCCI President has asked Orissa Cricket Association for a report on unruly crowd behaviour in Cuttack in 48 hours.

— BCCI (@BCCI) October 7, 2015

To be fair to Manohar, the riot at Cuttack is something that he could not have anticipated. Even if he had some apprehensions, this came too soon after his ascension for him to have done very much about it.

Indeed, Manohar had been pretty much on the front foot when spelling out a fairly robust agenda to improve the processes and systems of administration and thereby the stock of Indian cricket.

There were some significant measures he announced straightaway in his first press conference, among them being a strict monitoring of the finances of state associations. There have been too many stories of money being squandered or pilfered to ignore.

N Srinivasan did not attend the Special General Meeting in Mumbai last Sunday.

Just because Indian cricket is rich the bottom line is not affected. But if the money is not well spent, at some stage there is bound to be a boomerang effect. The tendency in the past had been to turn a blind eye to such financial vagrancy in consideration for support during the BCCI elections.

The more important decisions, however, are to put up the accounts of the BCCI (and state associations) online for public scrutiny, the appointment of an ombudsman to look into actual and potential conflicts of interest involving officials and players (which seem to crop up every now and then) and to work closely with the government in tackling corruption.

These are stellar measures long overdue and it can only be hoped that they will not remain only as a wish list on paper or as sound bites for media and public consumption.

But apart from this thrust of initial bravado, there were also some intriguing developments where N Srinivasan and his relationship with the BCCI is concerned. For the record, not only did the former president not put up a rival to Manohar but he also did not attend the Special General Meeting in Mumbai last Sunday.

Manohar has announced he plans an overhaul of state associations' finances.

A day after Manohar was elected, the BCCI’s request to the Supreme Court seeking advice on how to deal with Srinivasan was met with an admonishment from the apex court. “Why are you asking us?’’ was the substantial missive of the SC.

Interestingly, on the same day, Srinivasan withdrew the perjury case he was pursuing against BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur. This was followed by some reconciliatory noises from Manohar that BCCI’s affairs should be tackled within the Board itself.

Some insiders aver that all this suggests some kind of a thaw in the frosty war between the two factions. Does this mean that Manohar will not pull the plug on Srinivasan’s position as ICC chairman?

Nobody knows for sure, but history suggests that while the BCCI’s internecine politics can be harsh and ruthless, differences can dissolve just as suddenly to make it a cosy club where everybody survives.

The next Annual General Meeting carries a lot of suspense.

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