Friendly T20 ends in ugly riot,players unhurt

India openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir escaped unhurt as cricket crazy crowds clashed with police,hurling stones and scuffling with men in uniform,at the Moinul Haq Stadium...

Written by Press Trust Of India | Patna | Published: January 20, 2009 11:53 pm

India openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir escaped unhurt as cricket crazy crowds clashed with police,hurling stones and scuffling with men in uniform,at the Moinul Haq Stadium here on Monday during the prize distribution ceremony of an exhibition Twenty20 cricket tournament.

None of the members of the Indian squad — including Praveen Kumar — who have been named for the Sri Lanka tour beginning later this month,were injured.

The stadium plunged into utter chaos when scores of unruly fans,eager to have a close look at their stars,scaled the iron mesh fence and climbed down on to the field where the stage was set for prize distribution.

As they scrambled to come close to the players,the police overpowered a couple of them and rained baton blows. Angry at this,hundreds of others in the stands began throwing stones at the police,inflicting minor injuries to two of them. Many other fans streamed into the ground through a portion of the fence that gave way.

Soon more policemen guarding the periphery of the stadium were called in and a security cordon was thrown around the players and the VIPs,including the Governor. The chaotic scenes continued for about half an hour.

Former India cricketer-turned BJP politician Kirti Azad,also president of Association of Bihar Cricket (ABC) which organised the T-20 festival charity tournament for raising funds for the state’s flood victims,also came to the field to try and calm the crowd.

Meanwhile,police escorted Governor R L Bhatia to the Raj Bhavan and whisked away the cricketers to their hotel. “Thankfully,none of the players nor VIPs were injured. All were escorted to safety,” police superintendent Anwar Hussain said. Earlier,Sehwag led ITC XI to a 34-run victory over rivals Frontline XI led by former India all-rounder Ajay Jadeja.

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