Spectator violence in stadiums is part of a large set of problems related to misbehaviour in sport and concert arenas. It is related to issues of crowd control at locations.
Waving the Indian tricolour, I and my friends shouted “We want four” to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan batting with the score reading a dismal 184 for 8, with just 2 overs remaining and trailing a good 36 runs behind the Pakistan score of 220 for 6. This was a crucial match being played at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground in Delhi for the ‘Champion’s Trophy. Earlier in the day, the Pakistani Captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq had won the toss and opted to bat, on a wicket that was green and promised to be full of runs. How right his decision was, became evident with the steady flow of runs.
The Indian response to this mammoth total was disastrous, with the front order batting crumbling to the pace of Shoaib Akhtar. With certain defeat staring in the face, the tension in the crowd became palpable and increased as the run rate per over mounted. Unhappy with the slow scoring, a section of the crowd started raising slogans and hurling bottles into the field. This was objected to by others, and soon a melee ensued. The people ran for shelter for cover. There was utter confusion in the stadium for over fifteen minutes. By then, the local administration swung into action. The match was halted, and the organizers appealed to the audience to remain calm and maintain order. In the meantime, the police rounded up the mischief mongers and herded them out of the stadium. With some semblance of order, the umpires decided to continue the match.
Taking a cue from our motivating gesture, the crowd too joined in and the stadium reverberated with the slogan: “We want four”. In the very first ball of Shoaib Akhtar’s last over, M.S. Dhoni responded with a four. This was followed by two consecutive fours and a six. With victory in sight, the crowd became ecstatic. As the last ball was bowled to Dhoni, he valiantly lofted the ball over long-on. It was a six. The crowd went berserk with joy and happiness. I and my friend returned home, jubilant at India’s victory.