West Indies will again walk out if provoked on field

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2002, 22:11 [IST]
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Ahmedabad: The West Indies would not hesitate to abandon Friday's fourth One-day International against India here if the safety of the players was at risk, team manager Ricky Skerritt said.

"Of course we want the remaining four matches in the series to be completed, but if the players are at risk, we will walk out again," Skerritt said ahead of the day- night match at the Motera stadium. The tourists lead 2-1 in the seven-match series marred by crowd trouble in all the three games played so far in Jamshedpur, Nagpur and Rajkot. The West Indians walked off the field at Rajkot on Tuesday when Vasbert Drakes and substitute fielders Ryan Hinds and Pedro Collins were targetted with sand-filled plastic bottles. Match referee Mike Proctor of South Africa abandoned play and awarded the game to India, which was cruising at 200 for one in the 28th over chasing a victory target of 301 in 50 overs. Proctor held a meeting with senior police and cricket officers on Thursday in which it was decided that every spectator entering the stadium would be frisked. "We will not allow spectators to carry anything inside the ground that could be used as missiles to hit the players," a police officer said. "Among the 2,000 security personnel who will be on duty, many plain-clothed policemen will be seated in the stands to identify miscreants." Meanwhile, Proctor's unprecedented decision to declare India winners at Rajkot - the first time a host team has been awarded a crowd-marred match - has stirred a heated debate. Former West Indian great Michael Holding, here as a television commentator, said such a decision would encourage crowds to create trouble when it found the hosts were ahead on run-rate. "Very shortly, spectators will be seen going into the One-day venues with computers with the Duckworth/Lewis formula in hand and constantly keeping in touch with the proceedings," Holding wrote in his column. "Whenever their team is in front, they will just throw a few missiles, get the game called off and their team ends up the winners." Proctor defended his decision saying he did not want to penalise players for the actions of unruly crowds. "India made a fantastic start. They deserved to win. They were ahead (on run-rate)," the former South African all-rounder said. The Ahmedabad crowd will be on trial. In a Test match here in 1987, Pakistan captain Imran Khan ordered his fielders to wear helmets after objects were hurled at them on the field.

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