World Cup 2019: After planes, it's a van

Updated: Jul 15, 2019, 08:48 IST | Harit N Joshi |

Authorities fail to prevent menace of political messages despite making Lord's a no-flying zone after series of aircraft incidents in the tournament

The advertising van with a political message stationed outside the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London yesterday. Pics /Harit N Joshi
The advertising van with a political message stationed outside the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London yesterday. Pics /Harit N Joshi

Harit N JoshiLondon: The local authorities made all efforts to ensure the ICC World Cup final at Lord's goes off smoothly yesterday. But it still wasn't enough as far as preventing politicisation was concerned.

Despite making Lord's a no-flying zone, taking a cue from a few airplane incidents during the tournament, the authorities could not completely prevent politically-sensitive messages from being displayed.

A huge LED advertisement van, which was stationed opposite the Grace Gates at Lord's, displayed a message: "Help end enforced disappearances in Balochistan." The fans and Marylebone Cricket Club members were not amused.

A little ahead, another advertising van, ferried around the ground with a message: "End mob lynching, save minorities in India."

The police and ground authorities appeared helpless at the events unfolding in front of them. A ground security official told mid-day: "It is a paid advertisement van. They have every right to be parked here and drive on the roads. Anyone can pay money and advertise whatever they want. We have no control or authority over them."
The World Cup has been marred by such political messages. An airplane with political messages flew for the first time during the Pakistan v Afghanistan match at Headingley. Then, during the India v Sri Lanka match at the same venue on June 6, an airplane hovered over the stadium with a message: "Justice for Kashmir, India stop genocide and free Kashmir and help end mob lynching in India."

The ICC was forced to issue a statement, slamming the incidents. However, there was no official word from the ICC on yesterday's messages.

Match ball lands at Lord's thanks to Red Devils

Wayne Shorthouse
Red Devils parachute regiment Captain Wayne Shorthouse after delivering the World Cup final match ball yesterday

A Plane hovered over the Lord's for close to half an hour before the final kicked off. As curiosity built up, the presenter at the ground was quick to dismiss any fears. A short while later, nine parachutes landed on the Nursery End ground, pouring red colour to make it a spectacle. Even England pacer James Anderson watched it with a lot of excitement.

The parachuters were members of the Red Devils parachute regiment freefall team which landed at Lord's to deliver the match ball. Captain Wayne Shorthouse, who handed over the match ball to umpire Aleem Dar, was thrilled to do the honours. "I played cricket in my childhood. It was an absolute privilege to present the match ball for the final," Shorthouse told mid-day.

The overcast conditions made the act a bit difficult, said Shorthouse. "It was very cloudy and we had to get a minimum height of 1,700 feet to land properly. So it was tricky, but we managed it quite well in the end," he said.

Indian roots but it's three cheers for England

Rhiti Patel
UK-born Rhiti Patel (centre) at Lord's yesterday

It wasn't just the England fans rooting for their team in the final, but also a few Indians. UK-born Rhiti Patel, 26, who has Indian roots and has opened the batting for Kent with current England women's team opener Tammy Beaumont, was here at Lord's yesterday to support Eoin Morgan's team. "I am glad it is an England v New Zealand final, otherwise I don't know who I would have supported. But today, I am fully behind the England team. They have played well in the tournament and they deserve to be here," said Rhiti, who is also a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club. Her father Bipin is a fine photographer and was at Lord's covering the final yesterday. 

Female pitch invader stopped and ejected

The security guards at Lord's were on their toes for the final. During the first Powerplay of the New Zealand innings, a female pitch invader tried to sneak past security on the boundary line, but an alert guard stopped her and an untoward incident was avoided. The lady, identified as Kinsey Wolanski, wearing a black swimsuit, was immediately ejected from the stadium. Later on Twitter, Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, YouTube prankster and founder of an x-rated channel, revealed that it was her mother trying to streak at Lord's yesterday. Wolanski had also tried to disrupt the June 1 Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham in Madrid.

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