Cricket lovers across the world were eagerly awaiting the epic counter between cricket giants, India and Australia, considering this is team India’s first real encounter in 8 months.
However, during the the first One Day International (ODI) between India and Australia on November 27, protesters invaded the pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) with “no $1bn Adani loan” signs.
At least two protesters were seen reaching near the pitch but luckily, did not come close to any player. The incident was utterly shocking and disgraceful staining the sanctity of the sport, especially considering the current COVID protocol where players of both the teams are in a ‘bubble’. Had these protestors (surprisingly with clothes on) got within five metres of the sportsmen in the middle (Aaron Finch and David Warner), the game and potentially the entire ODI series might have had to be called off.
The pitch invasion after the sixth over in the first inning held-up the play for a few minutes while the protesters were being cleared. While the match is still going on, cricket lovers witnessed lackadaisical duty on the part of the security, considering sections of the security personnel were caught napping.
The incident has left a bad taste amongst lovers of the game and is being highly criticised by different sections of society. The cricketing community feels that ‘Stop Adani’ protestors have crossed the boundary this time, deeming this incident as a clear case of misplaced activism.
Even David Warner, sitting on his bat, had to ask the umpire what on earth was going on. Cricketing legend Shane Warne also pointed this out during the live commentary – “there’s not one security guard on the ground”.
On Friday, the Stop Adani group had issued a press release, urging the State Bank of India not to approve a loan of $1 billion Australian dollars to Adani. The group announced that the project had offered more than 1500 jobs to people in the state of Queensland.
— “Raj”ini Siva (@rajsviewfinder1) November 27, 2020
The ‘Stop Adani’ movement was initially started by activists in Australia over Adani’s Carmichael mine.
Fans have returned to the ground for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced games before empty stadiums across the world.
Cricket Australia has allowed filling up the stadiums to upto 50 per cent of their capacity in the India-Australia series.
The engagement comprises three ODIs, as many T20 Internationals and four Tests.