The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Third time lucky with stone
- rowdies’ win shames india’s victory

Calcutta, Nov. 12: The fuse lit in Jamshedpur last week exploded in Rajkot this afternoon. And, with the West Indies refusing to continue with a losing cause, the third ODI was awarded to India on technical grounds.

It’s another matter that Sourav Ganguly’s team was, in any case, heading for its first win in the seven-match series. Fact is that the Madhavrao Scindia Stadium saw dubious history: Crowd trouble, not a rain interruption, forcing the Duckworth-Lewis Method to come into play.

Chasing 301, the Indians were a prosperous 200 for one (27.1 overs) when the visitors walked off after Vasbert Drakes became the target of a “sand-filled bottle”. They didn’t return, not even after police cleared the offending enclosure, which seated 3,500 spectators, each of whom had paid Rs 650.

Virender Sehwag, unbeaten on a blazing 114, was adjudged Man of the Match. The D/L Method gave India a huge 81-run victory. Sourav, by the way, topped 1,000 ODI runs for the year. At 1,019, he is just a shade behind No. 1 Herschelle Gibbs’ 1034.

As the cricket caravan now moves to Ahmedabad and Vadodara, a thoroughly embarrassed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has “requested” Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to specifically have three measures, including the strictest of frisking, implemented. The request was conveyed via a senior BJP leader who has ties with the BCCI.

While West Indies manager Ricky Skerritt refused to make a statement — “I will do so only after interacting with my board” — it’s confirmed the visitors were “adamant” about not resuming. Moreover, they wanted the “entire stadium” to be emptied and an in-camera finish (on the lines of the India versus Pakistan Test at the Eden, 45 months ago) enacted.

“That wasn’t practical…. Indeed, once the police acted and assured there wouldn’t be any repeat, the West Indies should have continued,” Saurashtra Cricket Association top honcho Niranjan Shah told The Telegraph. What he left unsaid is that given the situation in Gujarat, the local administration couldn’t have risked bigger trouble.

Apparently, Match Referee Mike Procter was inclined towards “abandoning” the game altogether, but was reminded about two factors: That India had already faced a minimum of 25 overs and, second, the visitors simply didn’t wish to again take the field.

Ironically, till a couple of insane elements took centrestage — Pedro Collins and Ryan Hinds were also hit, the latter by a “rock”, according to Skerritt — the behaviour of the capacity turnout was exemplary. Actually, it’s reasonable to assume the West Indies made Rajkot pay for the awful conduct at the Keenan and in Nagpur.

“Right through the many rounds of talks, the visitors kept speaking about the failed assurances in the first two ODIs. Of course, one isn’t condoning what happened today, but it certainly didn’t call for an extreme reaction,” is how a well-placed source, who wished anonymity, put it.

Whatever, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya was in touch with Procter and Skerritt during the crisis.

, key figures in the late-afternoon drama. That the West Indies still didn’t resume, is indicative of how strongly they felt about the missiles.

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