Melbourne: Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne Wednesday extended support for his hometown crowd against claims that the Melbourne Cricket Ground was among the worst three cricket arenas in the world for crowd disturbances.
The Australian Cricket Board (ACB), Victoria State Police and the Melbourne Cricket Club were appealing for calm among Melbourne fans ahead of Sunday’s Australia versus England one-day International.
More than 30 people were arrested for varying offences from drunkenness to invading the MCG playing field during matches, while more than 500 were ejected during the last Australian summer.
ACB chief executive James Sutherland said a repetition of these incidents could force the ICC to seek an alternative venue. “It’s pretty clear from the ICC’s point of view that the MCG is among the worst three grounds in the world for crowd behaviour based on the record in the last few years,” he said.
Sutherland said the ICC’s list of troublesome grounds also included two in India, where last month’s India-West Indies limited overs series was marred by missile-throwing.
(A Staff Reporter adds: When contacted in Calcutta, the BCCI president’s office said it had not yet heard anything on the matter and thus, declined to comment.)
“There is no doubt that the ICC has taken a much stronger view of poor crowd behaviour and they will shortly be introducing the powers to ban grounds where they don’t meet the standards or they have a record that has been inferior to the required standards in the past.”
Warne, Australia’s leading all-time wicket-taker, said the fans at his home ground were supportive of the national team and had been unfairly tainted by the allegations.
“I don’t think the Victorian crowds are the worst in the world, definitely not,” Warne said.
Meanwhile, Warne warned his Australian teammates to beware of wounded England.