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From Car to stuck in a lift: Bizarre incidents that forced cricket to be halted

Last updated on 28 Dec 2023 | 10:06 AM
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From Car to stuck in a lift: Bizarre incidents that forced cricket to be halted

Cricket is quite a tough sport to explain to new viewers, especially how play has been halted due to different reasons

Toilet breaks, water breaks, cramps and injuries have become quite common reasons for cricket to be halted, but on Thursday (December 28), the sport added a new reason for play to be halted. 

Play was halted in the ongoing Boxing Day clash between Australia and Pakistan because the third umpire, Richard Illingworth, was stuck in the lift, delaying the start of the post-lunch session. 

Here are some of the bizarre incidents that have halted a game of cricket: 

Illingworth stuck in a lift

In the more recent incidents, the Englishman Richard Illingworth was stuck in the lift, which caused a ten-minute delay to the start of the post-lunch session in the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan. 

The broadcasters panned their camera towards a vacant seat in the third umpire's box while two on-field umpires, Michael Gough and Joel Wilson, were seen informing the two batters - David Warner and Steve Smith.

"We have got a stoppage in play because the third umpire is stuck in a lift. We had a bit of delay before because of a little bit of drizzle. Now everything is ready go, but we have an umpire stuck in the lift,” Wasim Akram, who was one of the commentators, commented on the incident. 

Play restarted when the fourth umpire, Phillip Gillespie, stepped in the hot seat to take charge as the temporary third-umpire. Gillespie also filled in when one of the on-field umpires went off the ground for a few minutes. 

When Solar eclipse eclipsed cricketing action

The Golden Jubilee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) couldn’t have seen a more bizarre reason for play being delayed: a solar eclipse. With the game scheduled to start on February 15, February 16 was the day when the solar eclipse was set to have an effect. 

BCCI did not want the 50,000 spectators to be affected by the eclipse, which led to them pre-poning the rest day from day four to day two, cancelling an entire day’s play. The solar eclipse would be the first full eclipse witnessed in the country in the 20th century.

Talk about solar eclipsing cricket. 

Bright sun halts play between India and New Zealand

Now, this is a natural progression. Cricket is a funny sport, rain halts play, storm halts play, there is even fog which recently halted play, but bright sun halting play? In the 2019 ODI series between India and New Zealand, a game was halted due to the excessive brightness of the sun. 

It occurred during the Indian innings, in the 11th over, when Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan struggled to spot the ball from New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson just an hour after the dinner break. The setting sun was at an awkward angle and straight in the batsman's eye, and it wasn’t the first time play was halted at the venue for this reason. 

The reason behind it: the east-west alignment of the pitches at the ground. Most of the cricket pitches around the world run from north to south, which made it difficult for the batters to face the pacers. At the same venue, a Super Smash clash between Central Districts and Canterbury was delayed for the same reason. 

It wasn’t just that; in the preceding year, a T20I clash between New Zealand and Bangladesh was also halted, making the venue a repeat offender. 

When a car halted a Ranji Trophy clash

We have all heard of ‘drives’ in cricket, but this was a drive from a spectator who drove his car onto the pitch during a Ranji Trophy clash between Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in the 2017/18 season. It was a clash that had several stars, from Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma to Rishabh Pant and Suresh Raina. 

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

On the third day of the clash, the car swiftly made its way to the middle of the pitch before making two laps around the ground, avoiding the officials, who made a valiant effort to shoo off the intruder. The driver could only make his way to the ground because of a direct connection between the stadium and the main road, with little security for domestic games. 

While the officials caught the driver, he pleaded innocence, stating that it was an ‘honest mistake’, which remains one of the most bizarre reasons for play to stop.

Burnt Toast, Gary! 

Nathan Lyon is an all-time great, but that doesn’t mean the off-spinner wasn’t involved in a hilarious exchange. The off-spinner, who was playing for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield clash, had burnt a TOAST, which led to the clash between NSW and Queensland being stopped for half an hour. 

The story goes like this: Lyon had left the toaster unattended after the off-spinner wasn’t satisfied with the toast in the first place. When the fire alarm was triggered, there was complete chaos at the Allan Border Field in Queensland before they realised that the burnt toast triggered the fire alarm. 

“(The toast) popped up first, and I wasn’t satisfied, so I decided to put it back down. However, I got completely engrossed in watching the cricket,” Lyon later explained. 

Hungry players, delayed clash

To date, this remains the most hilarious reason why the play was halted. Not many would have batted an eye if this happened in a low-profile clash, but this happened in a Test match involving South Africa and Bangladesh in 2017. The second session of the first day’s play of the second Test was delayed, and guess why? 

During the lunch break, the visitors Bangladesh encountered a minor delay as their lunch only arrived a few minutes later than the scheduled time. You would think it is because of the food arriving late, right? Nope!

It was later revealed that all of this chaos was due to a print error in the menu, with the delivery of Halal food delayed. 

Duck down, there are bees

This is quite a common interference in cricket; by that, we mean it has happened multiple times in international cricket. Once, during an ODI clash between South Africa and Sri Lanka in 2017, the third ODI was halted due to a swarm of bees across the Wanderers ground, which led to the then South African skipper Faf du Plessis instructing his team to lie flat on the ground. 

It wasn’t the first time Bees halted play, with a clash between India and Australia suffering the same fate at the now Arun Jaitley Stadium, with the players from both teams going down on the ground. Even in the clash between England and Sri Lanka in the 2007/08 season, a similar incident occurred, making it familiar.

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