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History of Crowd Violence in Cricket Stadiums

Yesterday, October 5, 2015, was never a good day for the game of cricket as violent behavior by some Indian fans made headlines in the mainstream electronic as well as social media. Apparently it was very hard for some Indian fans to digest their defeat. Hundreds of bottles were thrown towards the ground as India was losing the second T20 match against South Africa and it triggered a new debate of sports ethics and sportsmanship. Most cricket fans, even from India, severely criticized such a childish behavior. While, ex British cricketer Michael Vaughan called for a ban on this particular cricket stadium. This incident brought bad name to the sport but it was not for the first time that any such incident happened. History of most games, including cricket, is filled with such occasions when crowd interrupted match through their unethical behavior.

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It is not long ago when a similar incident occurred in Colombo during SL VS Pak ODI match in July this year. As Sri Lankan defeat became apparent, some fans started throwing empty bottles in the ground. Cricketers were forced to move back in to their dressing rooms and the game started later on once the situation was better.

However, the history of such violent incidents is as old as the history of the professional cricket itself. The history of such incidents in cricket field goes back to 1879 when a cricket pitch was invaded by almost 2000 Australian fans during a game between New South Wales and England. At least two English players were also hit in this incident.

It was again in Sydney, Australia in 1971 when during an Ashes match, Australian crowed booed John Snow, an English bowler. They also threw cans, bottles and beer in the ground. English captain pulled his team as protest. However, the match started after a small break.

A famous occasion is of 1996 cricket world cup semi-final. India was hot favorite to win this semi against a relatively weaker side of Sri Lanka. In the second inning, India was 120/8 in response of Lankan’s 251 runs. As the chances of Indian victory fell to almost zero with eight wickets down, some passionate and crazy fans starting throwing bottles in the cricket ground. Others were perhaps more passionate as they set chairs on fire. Match was stopped by the umpires at such a disgraceful moment of the game. The semi-final was later awarded to Sir Lanka, who then went on to win the world cup.

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The chain of such incidents goes on as Agra sports stadium cricket pitch was severely damaged by Indian extremist group Shiv Sena and the match between India and Pakistan was disrupted.

This was a brief history of crow violence incidents. Similar incidents are famous in various other games as well. However, as crucial as they may seem, reaction of some fans cannot represent a whole country. Therefore, such incidents should only be considered as an individual act, rather than a collective evil.

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