First International series in over a year, and this happens
The much anticipated Gandhi Mandela Series of 2015 got underway last week and it hasn’t gone anywhere near as the Indians would have planned. The tourists, South Africa are considering the idea of pulling out of the tour and leaving it crashing midway, with just two T20 Internationals. The news is huge, and the suspected reason(s) are believed to be not only the displays of the embarrassing crowd of Cuttack, but a few others too which are yet to be confirmed.
The hosts were bowled out at Barbati Stadium, Cuttack for second lowest total of in their entire T20 history. The South Africans, as expected emerged victorious in easy fashion. The collapse of the highly rated Indian team wasn’t taken too lightly by the local lads and lassies that were there after spending on the tickets. The angry crowd launched a barrage of bottles on the field, forcing the crowd management and officials to bring the game to halt two times. Despite the embarrassing delay, the match was completed with South Africa bagging the T20 series by six wickets.
This South African tour was the first International series to be played in India in more than 12 months. But that is no excuse for the horrible behavior put on display by the Indian fans at the Barabati Stadium. The incident spilled shame and disgrace on the name of the game, a game which is among the most popular sports in the world.
South African players and board unhappy
The South African players and management are believed to be furious with what transpired. According to a few reliable sources, the proteas are considering the option to abandon the tour, leaving 1 T20 and 4 ODIs begging. The interesting thing is that there are a number of reasons for their decision. The Cuttack saga might be the pivotal one, but there are a few others too.
Before the first T20 a warm up game was to be conducted between India A and the South Africans. It was proposed by the Delhi District Cricket Association to move that warm up game out of Delhi, but the proposal was rejected by the BCCI. The warm up match proceeded in Delhi, but was welcomed only by a few fans. India A came out victorious in that match, but what followed was anything but safe. Throughout the game, fans were bound to the boundary ropes, and as soon as it ended, the same fans came surging down the field. Fortunately, no onfield player or umpire got hurt in the process. The entire senior South African side was playing in the match, and what happened couldn’t be taken lightly. These are events that used to happen ages back, and it is disgraceful to see them at this day and age.
Apart from the misbehaving crowds in Delhi and Cuttack, India’s lack of form might also be a reason for the proteas taking their interest off the tour. A South African representative is reported to have said:
“What happened in Delhi and Cuttack have forced us to revise security arrangements and see what best we can come up with. The support from the Indians has been excellent but the contests haven’t been as great as expected. We never thought India, with their IPL and stuff, will submit this meekly.”
Its a massive shame that the series named after two of the greatest men in history, “Gandhi” and “Mandela”, is going through such turmoil. Whats best for cricket would be that the Indian fans show respect to both sets of players and let cricket be its beautiful self. Whether the tour will proceed as usual or not, depends totally on the South African management and board. We shall have to wait and see whether they confirm their withdrawal from the tour.