World Cup final: Pro-Palestine intruder leaves security personnel red-faced

Blue Wave takes over Ahmedabad as India fans converge from all parts of the country

The pro-Palestine supporter in the field
The pro-Palestine supporter in the field

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Ahmedabad: The security at the Narendra Modi Stadium was supposed to be watertight, but a major breach by a young protester in Palestine’s cause left the security personnel red-faced on Sunday. His intrusion onto the field in the 14th over stopped the match for a few minutes as he came close to Virat Kohli and put an arm on his shoulders before being apprehended by security officials.

 Dressed in white shirt and red shorts with a mask with colours of Palestine flag, the message on his T-shirt screamed ‘Stop bombing Palestine’ in the front with ‘Free Palestine’ at the back. Activists have often chosen the sites of marquee sporting events for protests to grab eyeballs in the media, but they are mostly done at the entrances rather than right on the pitch.

  The identity of the intruder is not yet known, though unconfirmed sources said he has been arrested and taken to the neighbouring police station. A fresh round of Israel-Hamas war erupted since October 7 with thousands having lost their lives and mass destruction and loss of lives continuing unabated.

No Imran Khan

The champions’ parade in the mid-innings break of the former World Cup winning captains in the ICC World Cup will have a conspicuous absentee – the 1992 winner Imran Khan. No, it’s not an issue of the frosty relationship between India and Pakistan or the lack of an invitation from the ICC or BCCI but the former captain-turned-politician is now in jail and in no position to travel. 

 Soon after retiring from international cricket after leading Pakistan to their only 50-overs World Cup triumph in 1992, King Khan plunged into politics by launching his own party Tehreek-e-Insaf. The former Prime Minister  is currently detained in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on judicial remand – being slapped with multiple corruption  charges by the current government.

 Imran’s name is missing from ICC’s closing ceremony brochure that has all other captains’ names and pictures on it. ICC could have taken the decision to not include Imran in it due to the ongoing trial on him. In his absence, no other player from the 1992 World Cup-winning side has also been invited, according to the ICC statement though Rameez Raja – opener of that team – had been present as a member of the broadcasting team. 

There will be huge cheer in the ground for former India captains Dhoni and Kapil. Dhoni led India to the World Cup title in 2011 at home while Kapil won the country its first World Cup in 1983 in England.

Blue wave in Ahmedabad

Meanwhile, a ‘blue wave’ descended on the city of Ahmedabad this morning as the Indian fans, dressed in Team India shirts, literally took over the streets leading to the venue. A huge procession of them was most conspicuous – comprising of the citizens – while one could see small clusters of blue shirts coming out of hotels of all budgets and hues to join the march.

 Inside the stadium, the crowd was raucuous as expected – cheering each and every shot of Indian batters as smoke bombs went off. However, the introduction of Hindi songs blaring on PA system during the breaks of the 50-overs World Cup, very much in the IPL mode, struck a disturbing note right through the tournament. 

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