As good as it is to see live crowd back in cricket stadiums, it was always going to be risky business considering their ability to invade the pitch and halt play. A familiar sight unfolded during the first ODI between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. After six overs were bowled in Australia's innings, a couple of protestors walked out onto the ground and in extraordinary scenes, held 'NO $1B ADANI LOAN' signs.
The bizarre part was that it took quite a while before the ground security escorted them back out of the ground. While the sight of streakers stopping play is not new, this one will go down as probably the most unique 'pitch invasion' of all time. It took almost 30 seconds before security jaywalked into the ground, grabbed the hold of the protesters and helped them out.
The security breach promises to bring in light the security arrangements during India's tour of Australia. At a time when players are battling the Covid-19 pandemic and are in secured bio-bubbles, outsiders entering the ground and standing this close to the players and umpires is high risk. Cricket Australia however, said there was no concern for a bio-security breach as none of the players got close enough to the invaders.
The front of the protesters' T-shirt said "#StopAdani", while at the back, it said "Stop Coal. #StopAdani. Take Action."
On Friday, the Stop Adani group had issued a press release, urging the State Bank of India not to approve a loan of $1 billion Australian dollars to Adani. It was in September this year that Australia's controversial and notorious Adani coal mine registered a victory against environmental activists. The group announced that the project had offered more than 1500 jobs to people in the state of Queensland.