Watching the cricket yesterday Rach and I commented on the high level of security surrounding each player as he comes in to bat. Presumably this is to provide protection from overzealous fans. Not so in the old days, when it was common for spectators to invade the ground at the end of play, or even during a match.
Those of you with a few grey hairs may remember the famous incident involving Australian fast-medium-pacer Terry Alderman at the WACA in 1982, when a scuffle with an English fan during a pitch invasion resulted in Alderman dislocating his shoulder and missing a year of cricket.
Watch the video of the incident below. The fan clips Alderman around the ear and then takes off. He is quickly caught – Alderman is a fast bowler after all – and wrestled to the ground. That’s none other than Dennis Lillee who jumps in to give the offender a good going over, aided by Aussie opener Graeme Wood. Where are the police when all this is going on?! Rod Marsh wanders over, notices Alderman is injured and signals for assistance.
I think it’s a bit rich of the commentator to chide the Aussie cricketers for defending themselves. “It’s a job for the police, not the players. The players are to play cricket and cricket alone, and the police are there for protection.” What police, you dimwit?!
Anyway, Terry Alderman couldn’t play cricket for a year after this, at a time when he was 26 years old and had recently been named Wisden Cricketer of the Year. In 1985 he chose to take part in an unsanctioned “rebel” tour of South Africa, a decision which cost him a further three year ban from the Australian Cricket Board. However, he did return to play for Australia in the late ’80s, retiring in 1991. He is now part of the ABC Radio cricket commentary team.
In case you were wondering, the 1982 WACA test against England fizzled to a draw.