Top 10: The most controversial crowd moments in cricket history

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
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.

Know more about Sport360 Application


Most popular