Guwahati: The Australian cricket team endured a security scare after the second T20 International against India here when the team bus was damaged in a stone- throwing incident, for which the state police has nabbed a couple of suspects.
A window pane of the Australian team bus was damaged in the attack. The incident took place after the visiting side defeated India by eight wickets in the second T20 to level the three-match series 1-1. No player was injured as the nearest seat to the damaged window pane was unoccupied.
But the incident raised a question mark on the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) and state police's security arrangements for the match at the newly-constructed stadium in Barsapara.
"Really unfortunate incident after a great game aimed to tarnish Guwahati's reputation as emerging sports hub. We strongly condemn it. Our deep apology. People of assam never endorse such behaviour.we will punish the guilty," Assam Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal tweeted. "Vow to take strictest action against the culprits.
Investigation is on full swing & Police have already picked up," he added.
Senior batsman Aaron Finch was the first to post a photograph of the damaged window pane on his twitter account, admitting that the players were scared. "Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!" Finch posted on his official twitter handle.
Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also reacted sharply, saying that security of visiting players is extremely important. "Guwahati stone-throwing incident NOT reflective of our security measures. Aus team & FIFA are content w/those. India remains a graceful host," Rathore posted on his twitter account. ACA secretary Pradip Buragohain said the incident took place when the team was heading back to the hotel.
"We made every attempt to ensure a foolproof security but don't know how this happened. It was near the team hotel and not at the crowded street near the stadium," Buragohain told PTI. "The police have already arrested two persons and are investigating into the matter. I can assure that such incident won't occur in future again. There will be a thick security cover when the Australian team leaves for Hyderabad," he added.
Senior India player Ravichandran Ashwin condemned the act, urging fans to show more responsibility. "The stone thrown at the Aussie team bus shows us in bad light, let's all act more responsibly. A vast majority of us are capable of that," Ashwin tweeted.
The state association also faced criticism from journalists owing to complete mismanagement at the media box. It proved to be a nightmare for journalists, who struggled with basic facilities like internet to cover the match. There was no internet connectivity in the media box, which had one TV to cater to about 250 jouralists, while the washroom ran out of power.
However, what worked inside the media box was the public address system that played out songs and "welcomed" the spectators with loud announcements till it was forced to be disconnected. — (PTI)