Car stops Ranji Trophy game in Delhi

The Ranji Trophy game between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh was halted after a driver, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, drove onto the pitch of the Palam Sports Complex.

Delhi captain Ishant Sharma (left) and Gautam Gambhir (right) are perplexed as a car invades the pitch.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

'Trespassers will be shot' is the warning on the gate at the Palam Sports Complex, which is being maintained by the Indian Air Force. It is a restricted area for the public. Even the cricket fans have a hard time, getting in to watch the first class matches.

So, it was a shocker for the players of the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh teams to see a car driven right on to the pitch. The security lapse left the teams stunned at the fag end of the day.

Following extension of the day's play, the umpires were busy checking the light when they confronted this bizarre driver, who performed a pattern of 8 even as the players looked to save themselves.

Thankfully, the car tyres did not leave any impression on the pitch and referee Narayanan Kutty assured that the game would go on as per schedule on Saturday.

The driver, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, was reportedly first detained by the Air Force police and later handed over to Delhi officers for interrogation.

This was the second security lapse in a cricket match in the last seven days. On October 29, a spectator had defied the security at the Green Park Stadium during the India-New Zealand One Day International, bringing the game to a stop before he was escorted from the ground.

This August, a County Championship game between Surrey and Middlesex was abandoned after an arrow fired from outside the ground landed on the field.

Last month, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suspended Pandurang Salgaonkar, the Maharashtra Cricket Association curator, after reports emerged that he'd agreed to 'tamper' the pitch.