A LEADING OFFICIAL of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been bowled a bouncer by West Indies coach Ottis Gibson.
In the aftermath yesterday of a stone-throwing incident on the West Indies team bus that ICC chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat described as “minor and not worthy of serious punishment”, Gibson branded the comment as “ridiculous”.
“I just want to make it clear first of all and remind Haroon Lorgat of his responsibility,” Gibson told reporters in the Indian city of Chandigarh.
“He can’t sit in a hotel room in Chennai and say they were pebbles. What we heard hitting the bus and smashing glass didn’t seem to us to be pebbles.
“It is not fair to make a statement like that. We as management of West Indies team here believe that was a ridiculous statement to make.”
West Indies soundly thrashed Bangladesh by nine wickets after limiting the co-hosts to a modest 58 on Friday at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in the Mirpur suburb of Dhaka.
On the way back to the hotel, angry Bangladeshi fans threw stones at the bus carrying West Indies players.
“The players are looking to move on and looking forward to play their next game. We don’t want to make a big thing out of it,” Gibson said.
“But at the same time, to us, it wasn’t a minor incident like Mr Lorgat was trying to say. Lorgat has the responsibility to be careful of what he says in this situation.”
At a news conference in Chennai on Saturday, the ICC chief executive played down the episode, saying it was only a few individuals that had thrown pebbles at the bus.
“We were in the bus and enjoying ourselves after the win. Some [fans] were taking pictures outside. We saw a hell lot of people . . . . Suddenly stones were thrown at our bus and couple of windows smashed,” Gibson said.
“The glass broke, but it did not shatter and no rock came inside. No player suffered injury. Most of us ducked down on the floor of the bus.”
It emerged later that the Bangladesh bus was also stoned, as was Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan’s house.
In an effort to prevent a recurrence of the stone-throwing scenes for the remainder of the tournament, Bangladeshi officials said yesterday armoured personnel carriers were likely to join police vans to provide extra security for players.
The incident drew an apology from key Bangladeshi officials and fans, some of whom stood outside the West Indies team hotel on Saturday with placards that carried messages of remorse.
“Friday’s incident tarnished the image of the country and it should never be allowed to recur,” Abdul Karim, principal secretary to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told reporters in Chittagong yesterday.
West Indies arrived in Chandigarh yesterday and there were reports that security had been stepped up at Hotel Taj Palace, where the team is staying ahead of their game against Ireland in Mohali on Friday.