Fan exuberance is great, idiotic pitch invasions are not

A pitch invader entered the field to hug Rohit Sharma. Source: X.

A clip has gone viral of a fan running on to the ground to meet Rohit Sharma. Just as he does so, the security intervenes and pins him to the ground. A visibly concerned Rohit tries to reason with the officers, and even calls someone from the organisers to suggest they go a little easy on the fan. It worked to an extent, as the fan was escorted off the ground with Rohit looking on. 

For a second, spare a thought for the security personnel. It is their job to make sure such lapses don’t happen, for if the fan did something sinister, the fate of the entire tournament would be at stake. And the blame, needless to say, would fall on inadequate security. While the use of force on a fan can look ugly, these men and women have little choice. 

For Rohit, who at the end of the day is a fine human being at heart, it was painful to see someone being dragged and beaten because he or she had jumped on to the field to meet their hero. And it was only natural for Rohit to suggest that the agencies were a little lenient on the trespasser. 

Today, the world of fans look up to Sudhir Gautam. He is the best-known Sachin Tendulkar fan. Sudhir too started his career by jumping over fences, and running to meet Tendulkar. Not once, but twice in a matter of months. And each time, Sachin came to his rescue and cautioned him as well, after he was given a good thrashing by the security. It made Sudhir well-known, and he is now a cult figure. He makes enough money from his fandom and sustains himself as a semi-celebrity. These fans, and there are many of them now, are well known social-media influencers – it has become quite the career. 

When you very well know that you will be pinned down and abused by security personnel, what is the incentive to rush on to the ground? Is it about hero worship and meeting your idol? Is it about being seen by a million people, and winning a bet with friends? And, in turn, making some money? Is it about trying your luck so that you can then become a well-known fan? Or is it pure love for the game that resulted in a mistake? 

Honestly, I don’t have an answer. What I do know is that I have no sympathy for such fans. In 1989, as Tendulkar once told me, a fan rushed on to the ground in Pakistan and literally assaulted Indian skipper Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Kapil Dev. He tore the shirt of one of the cricketers, and was a radical who hurled abuses at them. With security taking longer to enter the field than usual, the man had a free run for a minute for so. Tendulkar, by his admission, was scared. And rightly so.

For More Sports Related Information Click Here


In a world where there are threats to sabotage games, and an India-Pakistan match is around the corner, fans need to be a lot more sensible than what we saw on Saturday night. Exuberance is good, idiocy is not. You can’t be plain stupid, and put yourself and the game in jeopardy. If, God forbid, something happened to a player, the entire tournament would be in jeopardy, and security would be in focus for all the wrong reasons. So, while we might blame the guards for employing excessive force, fans have no business forcing their hand in a world which is far from ideal.

With lone-wolf attacks in the news, why would anyone jump the fence and do what we witnessed last night? Such fandom, sadly, isn’t really needed for the sport and for Rohit. While India’s captain did what was human, let’s also say that he ran a risk by doing so. That’s the ground reality. 

We need to be safe rather than sorry in events like these. While it is the security’s responsibility to ensure there is no breach, it is also our responsibility as fans to make sure no one is forced to turn abusive or get involved in a physical altercation. Saturday’s was a scare. One can hope it is the only one in the entire tournament. With India-Pakistan a week away, that is a dire need.

Also Read: Easy ride against Bangladesh, but questions galore for India ahead of T20 World Cup