| VVS Laxman (left) presents the best bowler trophy and certificate to Air India player Sonu Sharma at Moin-ul-Haq Stadium on Monday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
What Glenn McGrath & Co. could not do on 22yards, some silly cricket fans did at Moin-ul-Haq Stadium on Friday. They managed to scare away graceful VVS Laxman midway through a prize distribution function of a cricket tournament.
The fans went berserk after they were not allowed to go near the saviour of Team India in several Tests at home and overseas. Laxman, adept in caressing the ball on the either side of the wicket, softly asked them to behave. But the crowd turned down his appeal, compelling him to leave.
Wristy Laxman, who announced his retirement from Test cricket last August, was in the city to give away prizes in the final of Sadbhavna Cup, played between Air India and Uttar Pradesh XI. Led by Kolkata Knight Riders’ star Manvinder Bisla, Air India defeated Uttar Pradesh XI by nine wickets in front of more than 5,000 cricket fans and Laxman.
Till the match was on, everything was fine. But as soon as the prize distribution ceremony started, some spectators sitting in the pavilion end scaled the barricades and ran towards the prize distribution enclosure.
When they saw Laxman and Bisla — the Man of the Tournament — together, their eyes glowed as did Laxman’s whenever delivered a half-volley. There was a competition among them to go near the duo .
Around 12 cops tried to control them with the officials of Agrani Homes Pvt. Ltd, the organiser of the tournament. But their pleas to maintain decorum had little effect. In a bid to tame the crowd as he did the bowlers with the willow, Laxman took the microphone and requested the fans to maintain peace. When the elegant batsman said with utmost modesty that he was once in the town earlier way back in 1994 to play in a Duleep Trophy match between South Zone and North Zone, the crowd roared. Laxman’s voice was lost in the noise.
Sledging from behind the stumps could never stop Laxman’s glances and off-drives in Tests. But the screams of the over-enthusiastic fans forced him to stop his speech on Monday. Later, he decided to leave the venue with road construction department secretary Pratyaya Amrit.
Mritunjay Tiwari, the president of Bihar Players’ Association, said: “Today’s (Monday’s) incident once again tarnished the image of cricket lovers in Bihar.”