New Delhi: Panic prevailed at the Jamia Millia University ground, just before the start of a Vijay Hazare Trophy match on Thursday morning, when a member of the ground staff was struck by a pellet possibly shot from an air gun.
He was busy removing the covers from the pitch at that time.
The incident happened around 8.20 am. The 23-year-old groundsman, Shadad, suffered minor injuries when the pellet hit him below the ribcage. He was taken to a nearby hospital and was discharged after being administered first aid.
“We were shocked by the incident. However, it had no effect on the match,” said an official at the Jamia ground.
“I have been involved with sports here at this ground for more than 30 years. I never faced such a situation before.
“The match started late because of wet ground conditions and was reduced to a 32-overs per side encounter,” he said.
Haryana beat Punjab by seven runs. Batting first, Haryana scored 153 for eight in their 32 overs. Punjab could manage only 146 for eight.
A team official of Punjab said he was not aware of the incident. “It is news to us. The match was played under normal circumstances. None of the players knew such a thing had happened in the morning,” he said.
Later, it was learnt that the officials made sure that the teams did not come to know about the incident.
“We did not want them to panic. However, we tightened the security at the ground,” said one of the organisers.
According to a police official, the victim was alone at the ground at the time of the incident. “He shouted for help and said that he had been shot. The university officials called the police after that.”
The police are yet to pin point the location from where the pellet was fired. They are also in the dark about who might have shot the groundsman.
“Shadab was alone at the time and there was not much sound from the shot either. We have not yet been able to nab the shooter,” added the officer.
A case of endangering life or personal safety under section 336 IPC has been registered and investigations are on, the police said.
Police are also not ruling out a personal angle to the incident. They are interrogating people who know Shadab to find out if this could have been a fall out of a personal animosity.
Another groundsman said they had no idea from which side the shot actually came from. “Later, we went around the ground but did not see anything suspicious. Shadab has been working here for the past couple of years,” he added.
In another match of the zone, Delhi beat Jammu and Kashmir by 38 runs. Gautam Gambhir (58) top scored as Delhi made 256 for eight. Virender Sehwag scored only 15.