Cricket: 'I feared for my life' says Waugh

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The Independent Online
STEVE WAUGH, the Australia captain, said that he feared for his life as the fifth one-day match against West Indies ended in chaos.

Waugh suffered a whiplash injury after being shoulder-charged, jostled and threatened when more than 1,000 fans invaded the pitch on Wednesday following the final delivery. The International Cricket Council's adjudicator, Raman Subba Row, eventually declared the result a tie and ordered an immediate inquiry into the pitch invasion.

Waugh, who needed a police escort to reach the safety of the dressing- room, said later: "It doesn't get much scarier than that on the sporting field. You are risking your life. It only takes one guy with plenty to drink to take out a knife a la Monica Seles and it's over for you.

"That could easily happen, it's not over-dramatising it. I have whiplash to my neck and I'm happy to get away with it that lightly."

Seles, the former world No 1 women's tennis player, was stabbed by a spectator at a tournament in Hamburg in 1993. Waugh said he was verbally harassed as he went to meet Subba Row to help determine the result. "As players we are sick of it," Waugh said. "Guys were being threatened outside the ground and I was threatened a hundred times on the way to the score box.

"People were saying: 'If you get a tie we are going to be after you'. Is cricket really worth that much? It's certainly not worth risking your life for. It's a ridiculous situation that in a professional game of sport this could happen."

The trouble came as Waugh and Shane Warne were attempting to complete a third run which would have tied the scores at 173. Waugh hit the final delivery into the outfield and he and Warne dashed through for two as the throw came in.

Keith Arthurton then took off the bails with Warne safely home but as fans ran on to the pitch and tried to steal the stumps the batsmen struggled to cross for the third run. Chaotic scenes ensued as Arthurton tried to return to the stumps to complete a run-out but they had been stolen by the fans.

The incident mirrored a pitch invasion at the Bourda ground in Georgetown six years ago during a tense finish to a one-day match between West Indies and Pakistan. Subba Row also ruled that result as a tie.

Meanwhile Javed Miandad, who quit as the Pakistan coach on Wednesday, is rumoured to have been unhappy with the appointment of Sarfraz Nawaz as his bowling coach for the World Cup. According to The News newspaper, Sarfraz's role in Pakistan's World Cup plans was a surprise "since it is well-known he never got along with Miandad... "

Sarfraz, one of Pakistan's leading pace bowlers in the 1970s, is a controversial figure who in the past has made match-fixing allegations.

The Englishman Richard Pybus has also been appointed as a technical coach for the tournament by the Pakistan Cricket Board. But the PCB chairman, Khalid Mahmood, said he did not think Miandad was at odds with that appointment.

Pybus will join the team on 1 May after resolving a dispute with South African officials. He coaches the provincial side Border.

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