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  Monday, 18 June, 2001, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Time to take action
The pitch is invaded at Headingley
The invaders at Headingley were mostly Pakistanis
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew says measures to prevent pitch invasions must be introduced in the wake of scenes at Headingley.

International cricketers have been warning for years that their safety is in danger from marauding spectators and their pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears.

If there is anything to be grateful for in the aftermath of the desperate scenes at Headingley on Sunday it is that the ICC mandarins were all gathered at Lord's at the time, discussing that very issue.

Meanwhile, I have been called a racist for identifying the troublemakers at Headingley as Pakistan supporters.

That is so pathetic that it is hardly worth commenting upon except to say this: if people are determined to pass off honest criticism and comment as racism then this issue will never be solved.

The fact is that it was the Pakistan support that invaded the pitch at Headingley and ended the match, and anyone who says otherwise either cannot have been there to see it, or is determined not to accept the truth.

Waqar Younis
Waqar also blamed his fans for the invasion
Why am I a racist for saying exactly the same thing as the captain of the Pakistan team, Waqar Younis?

There have been occasions in the past when English fans have charged onto the field - after the final ball was bowled, mind you - but the recent invasions have been a mad dash to get the stumps to keep as some kind of trophy.

There was a nasty punch-up at Cardiff at the end of the Australia/Pakistan game that went unreported because it involved only the supporters and the game was over.

Headingley was entirely different and, since a steward was stretchered off the field after being kicked in the face and body, dispels the myth that these invasions are a bit of high-spirited fun and games.

It has to be stopped by any means, even if draconian measures like heavy fines or protection by guard dogs have to be introduced.

It is just so sad and completely unnecessary, but cannot be allowed to continue a minute longer.

Alec Stewart
Stewart's role smacks of hypocrisy
High on the agenda at the ICC press conference was the Alec Stewart situation and it seems that Sir Paul Condon will get his wish and interview him as soon as possible.

I was extremely uneasy when Stewart was appointed as Hussain's replacement because the corruption issue had not been addressed.

How could Lord MacLaurin criticise Pakistani players for not co-operating with the inquiry on the one hand, but exonerate Stewart on the other?

No other international cricketer has been criticised so strongly for failing to co-operate than Stewart and, yet, he continues to lead England: this is hypocrisy.

At least, in accepting all 24 of Condon¿s recommendations, the ICC appears to be keen to take a grip on the game at last.

It should do everything in its power to implement each and every suggestion as quickly as possible since it was the lethargy and self-interest of the ICC that encouraged many of the problems of the past decade.

 

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18 Jun 01 | Corruption in Cricket
18 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
17 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
18 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
17 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
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