5 instances when the gentleman's game was marred by fan violence
The image of cricket as a gentleman's game has often been impaired by instances of violence and brawls in stadiums. While sometimes it is the fans who are united in their frustration against a particular team or player and at others, rival fans clash among themselves and the violence spills on to the playing arena. A few times, instances of players reacting against rival supporters have also materialised.
Probably the most famous albeit slightly amusing moment came in 1997 when then Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq rushed into the stand with serious intentions of smashing the head of a spectator who had called him a “potato” on the megaphone. Eyewitness accounts of that day widely reported about how surprising it was to see the seemingly perennially lazy Pakistan captain rush into the stands.
Brawls breaking out between rival fans is an embarrassment not only to the countries involved but also to the legacy of the game. Here are five instances where rival spectators clashed in public causing significant damage to people and public property.
1) Attack on Sudhir Gautam in 2015
Sudhir Gautam's attack in Bangladesh in 2015 was a horrific one and the fact that the man became something of a mascot for the Indian cricket team did not help matters. Gautam's typical appearance in every game along with his very outspoken devotion for Sachin Tendulkar made him an easily recognisable target for angry mobs.
This happened immediately after the conclusion of the second ODI in the series. Describing the incident Gautam told Indian Express, “As soon as I left the stadium, people mobbed me and started snatching the Tricolour, breaking the handle of the flag. Two policemen who were outside the stadium came to my rescue and they escorted me to an auto-rickshaw. But the mob further attacked the auto and tried to break into it.”
The reason for this allegedly unprovoked attack still remains unknown although speculative news reports have suggested that it was an act to avenge Bangladesh's loss in the quarter-finals of the ICC World Cup.
Fortunately, Sudhir Gautam managed to escape unscathed.