Australia cricket team bus attacked with rock in Guwahati
The T20I cricket series between India and Australia took a shameful turn on Tuesday. The latter’s team bus was attacked with a rock on their way to the hotel from the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati. (IND v AUS 2nd T20I highlights | Scorecard)
The incident occurred after Australia defeated India by eight wickets at the newly built stadium to level the three-match T20I series 1-1. No players were hurt in the incident.
When contacted by Hindustan Times, Australian cricket team’s media officer said that ‘local authorities were looking into the matter’. She added that Cricket Australia (CA) is unlikely to release an official statement on the matter.
Australian opener Aaron Finch tweeted a picture of a broken glass window of the bus. No one was sitting at the window, when the rock hit the glass panel.
“Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!” he wrote on Twitter. The post was also retweeted by stand-in captain David Warner.
The second T20I at Barsapara ended at around 10:05 pm while both the teams left the venue after an hour. The Australian cricket team bus was accompanied by local police and security officials on their way back to the hotel.
‘Have informed police’
Assam Cricket Association (ACA) vice-president Debojit Saikia said they have lodged a complaint with the police regarding the incident.
“The culprit should be found. We have informed the police about the incident. I am also meeting the Australian team officials to assure them of security on their way back from Guwahati. The atmosphere was great during the match and we will make sure that such freak incidents won’t mar the reputation of Assam cricket,” Saikia told Hindustan Times.
Cricket.com.au reported that “while no one was injured, the Australian players were understandably shaken up by the incident. Players and staff were travelling from the ground back to their team hotel when someone threw a rock, believed to be roughly the size of a cricket ball, at a window on the right-hand side of the bus. The projectile pierced through the glass and ended up inside the bus, shattering the window”.
This was the first time in seven years that Guwahati hosted an international match and the incident comes as a blot on the hosts.
This is not the first time that the Australian team bus has come under attack on their tour of the subcontinent.
In September, during their Bangladesh tour, a rock was thrown at Australia’s team bus when it was returning to the hotel after Day 2 of the second Test in Chittagong.
First time in India
However, an incident like this is definitely a first in recent Indian cricket history. While Indian fans are passionate about their team, throwing stones at a rival team bus is a different case altogether.
During the recently-held ODI series, Steve Smith was booed by spectators at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium after he got out. But Tuesday’s incident in Guwahati has taken it to another level.
India’s loss to Australia was their first against the team from Down Under in a T20I after seven straight wins. The series decider is on Friday in Hyderabad. Both the teams will be travelling to the southern city on Wednesday evening.
But before that this rock-throwing incident is bound to cause embarrassment to Indian cricket.
Two suspects arrested
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in a series of tweets, said that the ‘hooliganism’ was an attempt to tarnish the image of the state.
“Really unfortunate incident after a great game aimed to tarnish Guwahati’s reputation as emerging sports hub. We strongly condemn it. Vow to take strictest action against the culprits. Investigation is on full swing & Police have already picked up 2 suspects,” he wrote.
“So, whoever got indulged in the hooliganism did it on the sole objective of defaming Assam & derailing its journey towards the top,” said the former sports minister of India.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, current sports minister, also condemned the attacks. “Guwahati stone-throwing incident NOT reflective of our security measures. Aus team & FIFA are content w/those. India remains a graceful host,” he tweeted.
“Personal security of visiting athletes & teams is extremely important for us,” he added.