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Rock thrown at team bus shakes Australian team

Indian sports minister jumps in fray to soothe nerves

Image Credit: PTI
Cricket fans take part in a demonstration in Guwahati on Wednesday to condemn the attack on the Australian team bus.
Gulf News

New Delhi: India’s sports minister on Wednesday sought to reassure Australian cricketers about their safety after a rock shattered a window on the bus taking them to their hotel following a series-levelling win in the second Twenty20 international.

The incident in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati was the second in two months, after Cricket Australia said in September that the team’s bus window was broken by a “small rock or stone” in Bangladesh after a Test match.

“Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!,” batsman Aaron Finch tweeted after the eight-wicket win against India.

The photo he posted on Twitter showed a shattered window pane with a large hole.

Indian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, an Olympic silver medallist in shooting, said there were tight security arrangements in place for the Australian team as well as for the players taking part in the Under-17 Fifa World Cup.

“Personal security of visiting athletes & teams is extremely important for us,” he tweeted.

“Guwahati stone-throwing incident NOT reflective of our security measures. Aus team & Fifa are content w/those. India remains a graceful host.”

Two people have been arrested as police investigations into the incident continue, the Press Trust of India reported.

Cricket Australia’s news site said no one was hurt when the window was broken by a rock roughly the size of a cricket ball, but the Australian players were “understandably shaken up”.

A CA spokesman told AFP they were “satisfied with the levels of security provided”.

Top Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said guests should be treated with respect and urged restraint from his countrymen.

“The stone thrown at the Aussie team bus shows us in bad light, let’s all act more responsibly. A vast majority of us are capable of that,” he wrote on Twitter.

“In a remarkable piece of good fortune, no one was sitting on the seat next to the window when it was broken,” CA’s report said. “While no one was injured, the Australian players were understandably shaken up by the incident.”

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the incident had damaged the state’s reputation as a reliable host for major sporting events and that state police had identified two suspects.

“Really unfortunate incident after a great game aimed to tarnish Guwahati’s reputation as an emerging sports hub. We strongly condemn it,” Sonowal said on his official Twitter account.

“Investigation is on full swing & Police have already picked up 2 suspects.

“Whoever got indulged in the hooliganism did it with the sole objective of defaming Assam & derailing its journey towards the top... the culprits will face the full force of the law & given exemplary punishment.”

Australia are scheduled to play India in the third and final Twenty20 of the series in Hyderabad on Friday.