NEW DELHI – In what appears to be the first incident of its kind, a man drove his car straight onto the pitch during the Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on Friday.
The ride raised the eyebrows of officials and international players like Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma and Rishabh Pant who were present on the ground when the incident took place.
A picture that stumped the internet showed Gambhir, Ishant and Manan Sharma standing helplessly with the car parked on the centre of the 22-yard strip.
Sharma also took to Twitter describing the scene ‘shocking’
— Ishant Sharma (@ImIshant) November 3, 2017
The driver who identified himself as Girish Sharma, tried to swerve his car twice on the pitch before stopping. He claimed that he got lost and strayed into ground.
Investigations revealed that the main gate of the Air-force ground, which only allows entry of cars after proper checking remained open with no security in position which allowed the man free access inside the complex.
The driver instead of moving towards the designated parking lot drove straight towards the field of play, leaving everybody awe-struck.
He was first detained by the Air-force Police before being handed over to the Delhi Police for interrogation and according to a senior Delhi Police official, none of the involved parties lodged a formal complaint against the intruder.
‘We have detained the man identified who is around 30 years old and claimed that he works in a private firm. He seemed mentally disturbed,’ a senior Delhi Police official said.
A Delhi District Cricket Association official present at the ground said that the man looked a complete mess as 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’ declared the official
Irked by the major security breach, Board of Control for Cricket in India acting president CK Khanna said that the relevant department will get in touch with the Services Sports Control Board as this was 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.
Although the man drove for a few seconds on the pitch, even then the match referee deemed the pitch “playable” after an examination and the four-day match will resume as scheduled on Saturday morning.