Cricket: Waugh angered by crowd trouble

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The Independent Online
WORLD CUP organisers are under pressure to increase security after a crowd invasion at Worcester yesterday prompted an angry reaction from Australia's captain, Steve Waugh.

Waugh complained that his players were "jostled" by supporters, many of whom had been drinking, as they left the field at the end of their six-wicket defeat of Scotland, who had a large following of noisy fans in a 5,200 crowd.

"After what happened in the West Indies it is very disappointing because we were promised that security would be the highest priority at this tournament," Waugh said, recalling incidents during Australia's recent tour of the Caribbean when players' safety was threatened and Waugh claimed to have been in fear for his life.

"It obviously isn't the priority," he added. "Today there appeared to be no security at all. We had a couple of streakers allowed to run around the field for two or three minutes with no one seeming to care and then supporters jostling us as we came off.

"The crowd should not have access to the players like that. I was jostled out there and that should not be allowed to happen. I'm sick of saying it but sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.

"I've made my feelings known in my match report. I just want to get on with playing cricket and it is disappointing to have to be talking about things like this."

Yesterday's invasion followed an incident at Hove on Saturday when the Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, was confronted by a drunken spectator after South Africa's win. "I don't know what the answer is," Waugh said, "but drinks were available here and in those circumstances you don't know what can happen."

Match officials insisted that security was adequate yesterday. "The arrangements were correct for an international match," the England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman, Andrew Walpole, said. "There were 50 stewards on duty and they acted in accordance with their instructions."

However, the tournament organiser, Michael Browning, confirmed that all the host counties would be "asked to review their security arrangements" after the incidents.