London: A spectator who walked out from the Lord's pavilion on Sunday and onto the pitch to walk back in with India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has been arrested. Roger Knight, secretary of Lord's owners Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), said the incident was "potentially very serious" but added that he had not seen it himself. Tendulkar had just been dismissed for 12 in the first Test here against England when the male spectator, in a clear breach of security, accompanied the batsman back into the pavilion, clapping him all the way.
Knight said that while it was "always possible for an individual to get on to the field of play" he could not explain why none of the 500 stewards or indeed any of the numerous police officers around the ground had failed to apprehend the intruder before he reached the top of the pavilion steps. "We don't rush out and tackle people," said Knight in a reference to the tactics adopted by increasing numbers of British sporting bodies to deal with lone pitch invaders. "But clearly we need to get people to a person as soon as possible.
And from what you are saying it sounds as if we were a bit slow," Knight told reporters. "We need to look at that." Knight added that the intruder had apologised to both the Indian tour manager Ranga Reddy and coach John Wright, but that he had not yet had a chance to apologise to Tendulkar himself. Earlier England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokesman Andrew Walpole said the man, who was not named and appeared to be in his 30s, was a "member of the Melbourne Cricket Club. They have a reciprocal arrangement with MCC. Our information is that he jumped over the pavilion fence.
He is now in police custody." Only MCC members, their guests and those clubs with whom MCC has "reciprocal arrangements" are allowed to sit in the pavilion. However, Knight insisted it would be an "over-reaction" to alter reciprocal arrangements on the basis of one incident alone. He also said he had e-mailed his counterpart at Melbourne but what action he took would be a matter for him. Men are required to wear jackets and ties when sitting there although because of the hot weather here pavilion dwellers were allowed to remove their jackets Sunday. The intruder was wearing a collar and tie.
This latest incident came on the same day a group of Indian journalists complained that a steward had assaulted them on Saturday. "We have taken some witness statements and we are investigating," said Knight. Lord's ground regulations prohibit spectators from coming on to the ground at any time. This rule was tightened up after Australia batsman Michael Bevan was hit by a beer can thrown from the crowd beneath the pavilion during a post-match presentation ceremony following last year's triangular series Lord's final against Pakistan.