In an incident that brought to the fore lax security measures, protestors invaded the Sydney Cricket Ground during the first Australia-India ODI, and could walk around the playing area unchecked for what seemed a significant period, before eventually being escorted out.
The incident occurred before the start of the sixth over of Australia’s innings, when the protestors walked into the middle, carrying a placard that read “No $1BN Adani loan”, and wearing T-shirts printed with the words, “Stop Adani”.
Incredible scenes at the SCG. Adani protesters allowed to stand in the middle of pitch for what seemed an eternity before security eventually walked out.
— Ben Horne (@BenHorne8) November 27, 2020
The protests were presumably directed at the State Bank of India, who have reportedly offered a INR 5,000 crore [£50m] loan to Adani Enterprises Ltd’s Australian mining company earlier this month. The new deal reignited a long-drawn controversy surrounding the Carmichael coal mine, with the ‘Stop Adani’ group protesting against the project for years due to its harmful impact on the environment.
Well that was possibly the oddest pitch invasion I’ve ever seen. #AUSvIND
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) November 27, 2020
The protests weren’t impromptu: a press release indicated a joint initiative to send a message on the first day of international cricket in Australia since the Covid-19 induced break.
Protesters congregated at the SCG and used cricketing phrases like ‘Bowl over Adani’, ‘Hit Adani for a six’ and ‘Adani should be out’. The protests extended to Melbourne and Canberra, where the protesters targetted Indian consulates.
— Stop Adani (@stopadani) November 27, 2020
Not sure SCG pitch invasion was part of the plan …
Stop Adani spokesperson Varsha Yajman: “We need to come together and stand in solidarity with Indian communities battling climate change and coronavirus, to pressure the State Bank of India to rule out funding Adani.” #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/3saCv3SH2m
— Sam Landsberger 🗯 (@SamLandsberger) November 27, 2020
Cricket fans, however, couldn’t help question the slow approach by the security at SCG to banish the invaders; while the safety of the players was the major topic of discussion, others found a lighter side, wondering if the security was exercising ‘social distancing’.
Adani I think couldn't see the sign – maybe it's the same security used for Melbourne hotel quarantine 😛or they were just social distancing 😂😂😂😂😂😂
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) November 27, 2020
David Warner, the Australia batsman was seemingly unimpressed by the delay in tackling the pitch invaders, and was seen raising his hands in the air and looking around, even as the protestors walked about, mask in place, displaying their placard to the crowd at SCG.