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|May 17, 1999||
Azhar calls for tighter security
Mohammed Azharuddin called for tighter security during the cricket World Cup after an intoxicated fan attacked him following Saturday's four-wicket loss to South Africa at Hove. South Africa reached the target of 254 set by India with 16 balls to spare.
The 36-year-old Indian captain said the man, who was of Indian orign, rushed onto the field and starting abusing him. "I tried to ignore him as he seemed intoxicated, but he came up and pushed me,'' Azharuddin said, adding that the man also attacked another player, Rahul Dravid.
Said Azharuddin: "We need to take these things very seriously. We need more security. This sort of thing has started happening more and more. We need to look very seriously at the increasing security for the players. Surely the security and policing of rowdy spectators must step up.
Ummpire Steve Bucknor, who was officiating in the match, also called for tighter security following the incident. "You don't expect to see this in England. The only answer is to increase protection for the players. The security issue has become very important, he declared.
The incident has forced the authorities to review security arrangements at all venues hosting World Cup matches. English Cricket Board (ECB) spokesman Richard Peel said the ECB was working with police and ground authorities to ensure similar incidents do not recur.
Concern about players' security was raised recently when an Australia-West Indies game in Guyana was abandoned following crowd trouble and another was marred by a crowd riot. At the time, Australian captain Steve Waugh said he feared for his life when spectators threw bottles and other rubbish at players.
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