NEW DELHI: In a security breach during the World Cup finals at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a pitch invader donning a white ‘Free Palestine’ t-shirt and red shorts, could be seen trying to hug Indian cricketer Virat Kohli on Sunday.
The incident occurred during the 14th over when Kohli was sharing a partnership with KL Rahul.
The pitch invader, identified as a Malaysian national residing in Australia, jumped over the security fences to hug Kohli, while fist-bumping the former skipper. According to social media, his name is Jack.
FLASH: A pitch invader sporting a ‘Free Palestine’ t-shirt was seen running towards Virat Kohli. Many have started questioning the security arrangements at the #NarendraModiStadium during the #IndiaVsAustralia ICC World Cup.
— The New Indian (@TheNewIndian_in) November 19, 2023
Jack’s t-shirt also displayed a ‘Stop Bombing Palestine’ sticker plastered over, while wearing a Palestinian flag as a wrap-around mask over his face. When he invaded the pitch, he tried wrapping his hand around Kohli to hug him but was shooed away when security personnel turned up at the scene.
Presently, the pitch invader has been taken to the Chandkheda Police Station in Gujarat’s capital. While talking to the media, he said, “My name is John, I had entered the pitch to meet with my hero, Virat Kohli.” When asked about why he was wearing a pro-Palestine shirt, he said that he supported Palestine and wanted to stand against the Israeli occupation.
This incident has raised several questions concerning the security capabilities at such important places where events of such importance are being conducted, such as the ICC Cricket World Cup. Concerns have been raised regarding how someone invaded the pitch during the course of the World Cup final in the presence of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, at his namesake stadium.
This is the second instance of pitch invasion recorded during this World Cup with the first coming about at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, which was also, ironically, a match against Australia. India had won the match with nine overs remaining. The stadium had been breached by serial pitch invader Daniel Jarvis, or Jarvo, who was later apprehended by security personnel.
Jarvo was banned by the International Cricket Council from attending any of the other World Cup matches, and was later deported to Australia.