Cricket: Pitch invaders get the all-clear

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WORLD CUP organisers will not attempt to stop crowd invasions at the end of future matches in the competition - as long as fans run onto the field "in an orderly fashion".

Even though some captains have called for increased security - notably the Australian captain, Steve Waugh - it is felt that a rush of spectators coming on to the field at the end of play is part of the game in this country.

But the head of the World Cup organisers, Michael Browning, stressed that security will be monitored on a ground-by-ground and match-by-match basis and come up with "an appropriate response".

A meeting was held between World Cup organisers and police at Edgbaston yesterday, but any safety measures for certain grounds and matches were not made public.

Browning said that of the 21 games played before yesterday, only 54 people had been evicted from grounds, adding: "it has been for a variety of offences for things like drunkenness, but it's only single figures for pitch invasions during play. That's not bad when you consider the thousands and thousands of people watching the matches.

"We wouldn't think about evicting people at the end of games because traditionally in England the crowds have been allowed to come on at the end and it's not something we want to stop. But there is absolutely no question in my mind the players have to be safe and feel safe.

"Steve Waugh said he didn't feel secure, and that's understandable in view of his recent experiences in the West Indies," Browning continued. "We have a responsibility to players leaving the field, and they have a responsibility to leave the field as quickly as possible."

The organisers have also been in touch with the Home Office as part of the future security procedure for the tournament. To date only one country has made a complaint - Zimbabwe, following their match against India at Leicester, Browning said.

"We are going to ask the crowd to come on more slowly and more orderly," he added. "We've got to make sure we get the players off as efficiently as we can.

"We will continue to vigorously implement our policy of removing and evicting any person who trespasses on to the ground during play or who, in any other way, seeks to spoil the enjoyment of the vast majority of other spectators."