Unruly Behaviour at Hambantota T-20 WC Cricket Game Could Have Far Reaching Consequences!
Posted on September 24th, 2012

Top Spin By Suni

September 24th 2012 

What transpired at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium ~Soorirawewa Hambantota  during and after the T20 World Cup game on Sunday between Sri Lanka and South Africa  is not only shameful but dampens all related proceedings although the circumstances involving what was tantamount to  a mini riot at the stadium does not leave room for any tolerance on the part of the authorities who have been caught in a quandry over the sheer timing of it all and at a time when the circumstances were already trying due to the weather conditions!

 Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that  the skies opened up and washed the game away, a rarity for Hambantota where the recorded rainfall is very minimal. The inclement weather has effectively quelled a massive throng of unruly spectators who wrecked the stadium, stoned exiting vehicles and acted like a bunch of demented, miserable hooligans and thugs who should be sought out and punished for the sheer disrepute it has brought to Sri Lanka Cricket as the reprisals which could affect tourism as well as the good reputation surrounding the game of cricket could be far reaching!

 This is the first  time such an incident involving spectators at a cricket game has ocurred in Sri Lanka which at times has been known to have happened in countries like India and the West Indies going back in time where no excuses are acceptable whether it be a shortage of tickets or the loss to South Africa and hopefully the last time it will ever happen as Sri Lankan crowds normally have a reputation of being cordial, congenial and well behaved with a touch of the festive moods similar to the Carribean and the last thing Sri Lanka needs to tarnish her national image is something this contentious and contemptible.

 World Twenty – 20 hosts Sri Lanka will now be compelled to strengthen security after angry fans clashed with the police  in Hambantota and to to ensure that this will never be repeated where local residents are said to be blamed where they have stormed the ground after they were told that tickets for Saturday’s match at the 35,000-capacity Mahinda Rajapakse International Stadium had been sold out, according to police reports.The problems hads started when a large crowd of would be spectators were informed that all tickets had been sold out but is this the exuberance needed by ardent fans known for being cricket mad and almost fanatical in their love for the game or do they know anything about the gentlemanly nature of the game?

Heck this is not Papua New Guniea where the teams and crowds are said to get homicidal at times ending up maiming, injuring and even killing opponents in their particular version of cricket!

 While it seems common knowledge that mob rule, organised crime and thuggery does  exist in other environments whether marginally or appreciably within Sri Lanka and inconsequential towards the reality of its reprehensibilities, for such an incident to happen at a cricket game poses many questions about whether the importance of tolerance and respectable behaviour at a tournament of this stature commands no exceptional status or decorum and is now being infiltrated by lawlessness which the Nation knows fully well in the aftermath of a three decade long terrorist insurgency as the civilised world in all bewilderment and in all probabilities looks on! And needless to say a crying shame .

 It seems also fair to say that while it was not the spectators within the stadium that have been involved, comprising of decent and respectable people including guests, dignitaries, tourists, peaceful men, women and children horrified at what was taking place, it is disgusting that the throng of thugs who made merry have seemingly got away and need to be sought out and punished severely. 

 Concerns for the safety of all spectators, players and staff alike needless to say must now take top  priority in all future sporting events although there are musings that this could be a tough ask from a nation of 20 million overrun with cricket fanatics with a tendency to lose control. 

According to some  Press Reports based on the statements of officials, some security staff and eyewitnesses requesting anonymity, “The crowds got very boisterous and they smashed the barricades and forcibly entered the grounds.The Police baton charging them was no deterrent. A few thousand got into the grounds. Heavy rains then shortened the group C game to seven-overs-a-side, which South Africa won by by 32 runs. Local fans pelted stones at vehicles leaving the match venue after Sri Lanka lost the match. A heavy presence of the elite Special Task Forces commandos could not deter the angry crowds.Their anger was because they could not enter the grounds. Then they broke down the barricades, came into the Stadium , started shouting and making a big commotion.” which was unacceptable and to reiterate, viewed from any perspective constituted rank lawlessness!

Camillus Abeygunawardena, the Chief Security Officer for the tournament, was also quoted as saying “there were unruly scenes outside the stadium, although players and spectators inside the stadium were well protected.” but the trauma of it all would have left many fearful particularly over their vehicles being stones as they left the stadium.

 Although Hambantota is not due to host any more matches it should not detract from the importance of security being beefed up for the rest of the tournament in Pallekele and Colombo, where the CSO seemed confident there will be no repeat of Saturday’s incident.

The clashes between police and fans came despite an unprecedented security operation for the tournament, the biggest sporting event ever to be hosted by Sri Lanka and it would be a wasted effort if any team for the sake of safety pulled out of the tournament prioritising their personal safety.

2 Responses to “Unruly Behaviour at Hambantota T-20 WC Cricket Game Could Have Far Reaching Consequences!”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    COMING COLOUR NO GOOD ~~~~ so they say.

    SRI LANKA, it appears, is becoming a ROWDY country. Please pardon me if Iam wrong. Cricket and Rugby during my days were known to be played and watched, by Gentlemen. What has happened today.????

    It is my point of view that, when~~~some~~~LEGISLATORS, POLITICIANS and their Siblings turn out to be ROWDIES OF THE FIRST ORDER, in the nude, in full public view, making the Law Enforcement a mere Vegetable, the ordinary person begins to EMULATE them. Nobodies become Somebodies. It is an achievement. THIS IS THE DISGUSTING ASPECT OF IT.

    The President of the Country can be equated to a Principal of a College. The Principal has no control over every student. It is the Masters responsibility to discipline the students, and put them on the mat when necessary. If the Masters become Jokers, and they too show no discipline, then it is a direct insult to the Principal. The question here is, if the Principal seeing the breakdown, takes no action, it is a slur to the very office he holds. So the PRINCIPAL becomes a sort of PIED PIPER.

    With great deference, Iam sad to say that, the aforesaid is tantamount to todays situation in SRI LANKA.

    COMING EVENTS ARE CASTING THEIR SHADOWS.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Becoming like India and Pakistan?

    This is no good.

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