The ability of sports to connect with people and entice them thorough unheralded entertainment is what makes it a global rage. But, such has been the excitement on offer that, at times, it pushes the spectators out of their seats, quite literally. Over the years, we've seen matches coming to a standstill because of the pitch invaders who persistently chase their moment of stardom.
Similarly, in cricket, the fixtures are often halted owing to numerous reasons. Apart from the pitch invaders, a rain delay is something that's quite common in the sport. Then, there is bad light which also ends up affecting play every now and then. But, 'sun holds up play' is definitely not something you read on your television sets during a live broadcast.
That exception came to the fore during the first One-Day International (ODI) between India and New Zealand on 23rd January. The visitors were going about their business in their chase of 157-run total at the McLean Park in Napier when sunlight became too prevalent to continue play.
The 'sun strike', as we've come to know of, obscured Shikhar Dhawan's vision as he took his guard in the 11th over against Lockie Ferguson. And, as a result, the on-field umpires decided to halt play as the players made their way into the dressing room.January 23, 2019
"The setting sun is directly in the eyes of the batsmen. So, we got to consider the safety of the players, umpires. So, we have decided to suspend play until conditions improve. This is the first time in my 14 years that I have seen something like this happen on a cricket field. Good news is we have 30 minutes extra time. We are hoping to be back in 30 minutes and it will still be a 50-over game," umpire Shaun Haig explained.
The incident was first of its kind (at least in international cricket), but not new to McLean Park. The same venue witnessed a similar delay during a Super Smash - New Zealand's domestic T20 tourney - fixture earlier in January. But, the unique interruption of play surely caught cricket fans by surprise.
If you thought, the 'sun strike' was quite weird, wait till you read the following incidents where the gentleman's game got interrupted due to bizarre reasons:Car On The Pitch
In 2017, a Ranji Trophy clash between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh came to a standstill when an unidentified man drove his car onto the field of play. In a major security breach at the Air Force Sports Complex in Palam (New Delhi), a man was seen getting his car on the field, turning it around and driving on the pitch while the players including Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma and Rishabh Pant were still on it.November 3, 2017
Surprisingly, despite the man in question driving his car on the pitch, the match referee deemed it playable after examining potential damage.Food Delivery Gets Delayed
Lunch extended by 10 minutes in Bloem because Bangladesh team's Halaal food arrived late... true story. pic.twitter.com/JgLNBWc4tG— Neil Manthorp (@NeilManthorp) October 6, 2017
Earlier this year, the first day's play of the second Test between Bangladesh and South Africa at Bloemfontein was delayed by 10 minutes due to the delay in the delivery of food. Apparently, Bangladeshi players demanded 'Halal' food (or meat) for their consumption. The two teams had separate caterers, but the ones serving food for Bangladesh were given a wrongly printed menu that carried incorrect time.
As per media reports, the caterers said that while they were told by the organisers to set up at 11:00, the time printed on the menu was 12:30. However, it barely had any impact on Bangladesh as they continued to get hammered all around the park by the Proteas, conceding 256 runs in the first two sessions that day.Burnt Toast
The tales of burnt gravy setting off fire alarms and halting play between Lancashire and Kent at Old Trafford in 2007 have echoed in England's cricketing circles for years. But, it was reinvented during the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Queensland in the 2017-18 season.
With 18 runs for victory, New South Wales were forced to stop their batting after a fire alarm at Allan Border Field in Brisbane caused a 30-minute delay. Later, it was found that New South Wales very own Nathan Lyon had burnt his toast in the dressing room which set off the fire alarm.
In a sheepish confession, the Aussie spinner told ESPNcricinfo: "(The toast) popped up first and I wasn't happy so I put it back down and I got carried away watching the cricket. There's a first for everything". While his team eventually secured victory after the resumption of play, Lyon hogged the limelight for the bizarre incident.No Bails, No Play
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Back in 1981-82, the start of the third day's play of a Test match between India and England in Delhi was delayed after the umpires, shockingly, misplaced the key to the cupboard where the cricket balls were kept. A similar tale came to the fore at Lord's in 2009.
The third day's play of the Championship match between Middlesex and Glamorgan began late after the bails went missing. According to Wisden, what made matters worse was the fact that the groundsmen were on their mid-morning break and it took some time for umpire Garratt to find them before they got hold of the missing bails.Fried Calamari
In 1995, a Castle Cup - South Africa's domestic competition - fixture saw Boland hosting Border in Paarl. With Hansie Cronje and Daryll Cullinan at the crease, Border needed a mere 121 runs on Day 4. The home fans knew their side is going to lose so they probably thought of overcoming that grief with some fried calamari outside the boundary ropes.
During one of the overs, Cullinan had enough of the singles as he smashed Roger Telemachus for a towering six. While the maximum breathed some life into what looked like a one-sided affair, unfortunately, Cullinan's hit sent the ball straight into a spectator's frying pan where it lay among a generous portion of squid that was being fried.
It took 10 minutes for the ball to cool off before the on-field umpires removed the grease and play resumed. But, according to Wisden, Telemachus was still unable to grip the ball and it eventually had to be replaced.