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Thursday, April 22, 1999 Published at 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK


Sport: Cricket

Waugh: I feared for my life

Steve Waugh: "It only takes one guy to take out a knife and it's over for you"

Australian batsman Steve Waugh has admitted he feared for his life when a pitch invasion brought a premature end to his country's one day international against West Indies in Guyana.

Match referee Raman Subba Row declared the fifth one-day international a draw an hour after stumps, after talking to Waugh, West Indies captain Jimmy Adams and both team managers.

Keith Arthurton was unable to run out Waugh (72 not out) or Shane Warne (19 not out) as they attempted to level the match because all six stumps had been uprooted as 1,000 fans swarmed onto the field.

Afterwards Waugh said he feared a Monica Seles-style stabbing on the cricket field.

Waugh was pushed and shoved before police came to his rescue and escorted him through the threatening crowd at the Bourda Ground.


[ image: Steve Waugh finds a boundary prior to the invasion]
Steve Waugh finds a boundary prior to the invasion
After the match, Waugh said: "That was just crazy, an embarrassment for cricket - something has got to be done.

"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, it's just ridiculous to have 2,000 people running in and taking the stumps while the ball is still in play."

Seles, the former world number one women's tennis player, was stabbed in the back by a spectator at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, in 1993.

Best interests of the game

In a match reduced to 30 overs because of overnight and morning rain, the West Indies made 173 for five and then restricted Australia to 172 for eight before Subba Row adjusted the score to 173 for seven, ruling Warne had not been run out.

At first West Indies seemed to have won by one run after Waugh failed to hit a winning four off the final delivery, but Subba Row decided the Australians were prevented from making a third run to tie the game by the crowd.

Australia needed six runs off Keith Arthurton's last over, which was preceded by a smaller pitch invasion when play was halted for five minutes because replacement stumps had to be found for one end.

Waugh hit a ball towards the boundary and had completed two runs with Warne before Arthurton removed the bails as spectators invaded the pitch.

Waugh then started running a third towards Arthurton's end, by which time all the stumps had been taken by spectators.

To effect a run out Arthurton had needed to uproot one of the stumps with the ball in his hand.

Subba Row said: "It's in the best interests of cricket. The batsmen were obviously attempting a third run but with the spectators on the ground it became impossible."

The seven-match series is still all square at 2-2 after five matches.



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