Waugh calls for change after violent end to Windies tour

AFP - 26 April 1999

BRIDGETOWN, April 25 (AFP) - Australian captain Steve Waugh expressed frustration with crowd violence Sunday after Australia's loss in a one-day match against the West Indies that had his players fearing for their lives.

``The result was irrevelant,'' Australian captain Steve Waugh told ABC Radio. ``Cricket once again was a loser.''

``It's just ridiculous, risking our lives again for a game of one-day cricket. If it keeps going on like that there's no point in us playing.''

``You've got to do something about it. I'm lost for words because I'm so disappointed at what's happened in the last couple of games. It makes you wonder what you're playing cricket for.''

Play in the final one-day match of the seven-game series between Australia and the West Indies was interrupted after spectators began throwing bottles at Australian players following the run-out of West Indian opener Sherwyn Campbell.

Campbell was run out after he collided with bowler Brendon Julian while he was running down the pitch.

He was later recalled after a meeting off the field in which it was decided that giving him out would pose a greater danger to Australia's players should they return to the field.

The bottle-throwing came just four days after spectators invaded the pitch in the closing moments of the fifth match in Georgetown, preventing Australia's last pair from scoring a third run to level the scores. That match was eventually declared a tie.

Waugh said it was hard to determine just who was accountable for the incident on the pitch between Julian and Campbell. But he said something had to change if crowds were going to react to controversial decisions by storming the pitch.

``The bottom line is you can't behave like that at a game of cricket. Just because you pay your money it doesn't mean it's a free-for-all if you're not happy with what's going on in the middle,'' Waugh said.

``You can't risk blokes' safety for a game of cricket.''

Bottles missed his head by less than a foot as he was leading his team off the field, Waugh said.

``It was sheer luck it didn't someone on the head. It's only a matter of time before someone get's killed, which is right. It will happen.''