BANGALORE: The ball hitting a girl who suffered a nasal fracture may be a one-off incident. But shouldn’t the organisers of the Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament take precautions to protect spectators in the stands? A Chris Gayle thunderbolt landed right inside the pavilion and hurt Tia, the 11-year-old girl, who had come to watch the match. Fortunately nothing serious happened as she was rushed to hospital, a surgery was performed and she is recovering well.
But what if the ball had struck some in eye or the temple or the back of the head. Most often, people can be caught unaware by a ball coming at them at thunderous speed if they aren’t diligently watching every ball. Hitting a sixer is not only a matter of timing and strength but the quality of the bat with which the batsman is playing. According to the ICC rules, “The playing area shall be a minimum of 150 yards (137.16 metres) from boundary to boundary square of the pitch, with the shorter of the two square boundaries being a minimum 65 yards (59.43 metres). The straight boundary at both ends of the pitch shall be a minimum of 70 yards (64.00 metres). Distances shall be measured from the centre of the pitch to be used. In all cases the aim shall be to provide the largest playing area, subject to no boundary exceeding 90 yards (82.29 meters) from the centre of the pitch to be used.”
Of course all grounds must have the minimum dimensions and most of them do. Therefore, hitting a six on such grounds is a none-too-difficult task. With the boundaries dimension already known, one wonders what logic lies behind measuring every six that is struck using hawk-Eye technology? For, the number of runs that are credited to the batsman remain constant at six, no matter how far the ball is struck. Probably some official will come with the idea next year that a sixer hit 100 metres or more longer should fetch eight runs.
In any case, the spectators watching these matches are always at a risk of being hit by the ball, knowingly and unknowingly. Often, one finds people trying to catch the sixer once it begins to land into the stands. Someone might end up with a broken finger some day.
The organisers ought to take into account all aspects and ensure the safety of spectators. After all, they lose no opportunity in increasing the price of tickets but do little as far as safety precautions are concerned. Tickets at the Eastern stands which cost `220 last year have now been priced at `330 and `400. Someone seated in the stands itself wasn’t safe and had to undergo surgery.
To prevent people from throwing all kinds of missiles onto the field, the Karnataka State Cricket Association had used ‘huge’ porous nylon nets to cover the galleries. The dropped down from the roof of the stadium and covered the eastern stands.
The lower portions are partially protected by a sufficiently high metallic fencing but the upper portions are unprotected. Perhaps, the KSCA should make use of these nets all around to provide protective covering to every gallery thereby ensuring that the ball will not enter the gallery and incapacitate anyone to any extent.
This is very much needed in Twenty20 cricket as the need and tendency of every batsman who comes to bat is to go for the shot which will fetch them the maximum number of runs.
Perhaps, the KSCA can show the way to other hosting associations thus forcing them to adopt these safety measures. All IPL teams are duty bound to protect the paying spectator and it the state association is unwilling to do so, the teams must chip in.
Why should any Tia have to undergo a nasal surgery only because she turned up to watch a T20 game?