KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday received an unconditional apology from Cricket Australia over a breach of security during the fifth and final One-day International in Perth on Sunday night when Khalid Latif was tackled by a spectator.
‘The News’ learnt here on Monday that even the apology didn’t prevent the PCB from contacting the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the issue.“It’s a serious issue for us,” a Board official said. “I mean Pakistan gets a lot of criticism when it come to security issues but look at what happened in Perth,” he said.
Meanwhile, federal sports minister Aijaz Jakhrani has urged CA to set up barriers at grounds and ban alcohol following the tackling incident.Jakhrani advised PCB chairman Ijaz Butt to raise the issue with CA and said if he was not satisfied with its response, he would go directly to his counterpart, federal Sports Minister Stephen Smith.
“The thing that really worried me, what if that person had a knife, he got there and could have done anything he wanted,” Jakhrani told The Age.“They should ban alcohol at grounds. There should be some kind of barrier or restriction to stop people entering the ground.
“This is the right time to think about these things. It is no good waiting for someone to die before making decisions.” The International Cricket Council sent a terse letter to CA asking for an explanation into the incident, which resulted in a 37-year-old man being charged with assault.
“We are disappointed, there was a clear security breach and an international player was brought down,” an ICC spokesman said. ICC president David Morgan said the incident was “not a good look for the game”.
Latif was interviewed by police in the WACA Ground dressing room after the match, and later expressed his disappointment at the security lapse. Grounds in the sub-continent have barbed wire fences dividing players from spectators, which has prevented the ground invasions that are frustratingly common during the Australian summer.
Jakhrani added: “I have told the cricket board chairman that he should take it up with the Australian cricket board, this is not on. “Let’s wait and see what they say, otherwise I can definitely take it up with my counterpart in Australia.”
CA and the WACA asked for heftier fines to be imposed by the West Australian government as a deterrent, but offered no explanation as to how the spectator was able to reach Latif despite a large contingent of security guards patrolling the boundary.
Meanwhile, the irony of the incident was not lost on Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam.The ICC rules his country as unsafe for touring teams but then one of his own players is assaulted by a spectator.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” Alam said. “Especially these days. You have to be very, very careful to make sure these things don’t happen any more. You have to take very strict measures about it, people running on the field, for the safety of the players.
“The way he tackled him, he could have been very seriously hurt. They have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. He has a stiff neck, but he is OK. He’s not very seriously hurt, but he could have been very seriously injured. “You have to live life positively, not negatively, but this could be very, very detrimental as well, you know. You have to be careful these days, wherever you go.”