A man today drove his car onto the pitch during the Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh at the Airforce ground in Palam, a major security breach which left both the players and officials dumbfounded. International players like Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma and Rishabh Pant were present on the ground when the incident took place and it could have snowballed into something even more serious amounting to physical danger. A picture has emerged of the incident where Gambhir, Ishant and Manan Sharma were seen standing with the car parked on the centre of the 22-yard strip. The BCCI will be seeking a report from their affiliated unit Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) about the incident. At around 4:40 pm, 20 minutes from close of play, a silver grey Wagon R suddenly drove onto the field of play with Uttar Pradesh batting in their second innings.
The man, who identified himself as Girish Sharma, tried to swerve his car twice on the 22-yard strip before he was stopped. It was learnt that the main gate of the Airforce ground, which only allows entry of cars after proper checking remained open with the security not in his position. This allowed the man free access inside the complex and instead moving towards the designated parking lot, which is behind the main pavilion. He took a detour entering from the Palam B complex into the field of play and took couple of rounds of the pitch before trying to leave the ground. The security personnel at the ground swung into action after this and closed the gate in order to stop the man from fleeing. He was stopped at the gate. He was then detained for questioning by the Delhi Police.
BCCI acting president CK Khanna told PTI: “The BCCI will enquire into the incident. The relevant department will get in touch with the Services Sports Control Board as this is a matter of serious concern. “This is a breach of security measure at the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) ground. Imagine if the man had any sinister motive, then lives of international cricketers could have been in danger,” Khanna added. Delhi team manager Shankar Saini, who was present at the ground said: “Thank God, nothing untoward happened. There was a possibility that it could have been more serious.” The allegedly inebriated man was first detained by the Airforce Police before being handed over to the Delhi Police for interrogation. However, as per senior Delhi Police official, none of the involved parties lodged a formal complaint against the intruder.
“No formal complaint has been lodged. Preliminary investigations suggest that the Airforce security guard was not present at the gate. We have detained the man identified as Girish for questioning. He is around 30 years old and claimed that he works in a private firm. He seemed mentally disturbed,” a senior Delhi Police official told PTI. A DDCA official present at the ground said: “The man looked a complete mess. He was driving the car wearing a lungi. In fact, when he was being bashed up for his act, he hardly reacted. He did not look in perfect mental health.” Although the match is being held at the Services’ home ground, the host of this particular match is Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA). The Services is only the facilitator as they are providing the ground for the game. The match was supposed to be held at Feroz Shah Kotla but with India’s T20 game against New Zealand being held on November 1, the match was shifted to the Airforce ground.