Security has been slammed after the Cricket World Cup final was halted briefly by a pitch invader who made their way to the middle of the pitch and managed to touch Indian star Virat Kohli.
The incident happened in the 14th over as Kohli and KL Rahul were batting, with the protester apparently attempting to make a statement about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
They were wearing a shirt with “Free Palestine” and “Stop Bombing Palestine” written across it, as well as wearing a face mask with the Palestinian flag on it while also carrying what appeared to be a rainbow flag.
Kohli remained composed as the protester managed to put an arm around him before they were wrestled to the ground.
The apparent ease of access to the field and players, Kohli in particular as one of the most prominent people in India has drawn criticism across the world. While the television broadcast made the decision not to show the invader, as is common practice with incidents like this, photos have circulated on social media.
“Just not good enough from the ground security,” wrote one user on X. “Dangerous for both the fan as well as the players.”
“Ban from watching cricket in stadium,” wrote another.
“That’s so wrong, please let them play and let them focus,” offered a third commenter.
On the television broadcast, the fans in attendance can be heard roaring as Rahul faces up to Australian spinner Adam Zampa. Zampa pulls up before the ball is bowled and turns around to see what is happening.
A very brief aerial view of the invader and their interaction with Kohli was shown, with half a dozen security personnel scrambling some distance behind, before the shot cuts to Australian captain Pat Cummins and then the two batters.
There was no mention in commentary of the incident.
While pitch invaders are nothing new in cricket, there are serious concerns as to what could have happened - particularly how easily the protester was able to gain access to the middle of the ground.
“This is dangerous to Virat Kohli,” was another comment on X.
“He must be banned from watching the sport for a lifetime,” wrote another.
There was some support, however, with one X user commenting “let him protest peacefully” while it was put simply by another as “Where’s the security?”2023-11-19T20:48:40Z dg43tfdfdgfd