The second cricket test between New Zealand and India was halted today, after immigration officials revoked the visas of the visiting Indian team.
News of the revocation reached the teams during the first session of day one of the test. The New Zealand team had been struggling after the loss of early wickets, but the game was called off when it became clear that the Indian players would have to leave the country immediately.
The cancellation of the game means New Zealand has won the series against India one-nil.
Immigration officials revoked the visas after fears were raised that excitable Indian fans might cause trouble for security at the Basin Reserve ground.
There have been reports of unruly Indian fans jumping up and down, singing and celebrating in previous games during the Indian tour, and in one incident the over-exuberance of a group of Indian fans led one man to drop a plastic cup full of beer.
Immigration officials have also cited concerns about a pitch invasion by riotous Indian cricket fans in Hyderabad during the third test of New Zealand’s 1969 tour.
Immigration NZ official Nathan Statham told National Radio this morning that the Indian cricket team had been granted permission to enter New Zealand, but only because officials had not been aware of the Hyderabad incident. They became aware of the incident just before lunch on day one of the test, coincidentally just as New Zealand wickets began to tumble.
“When we heard how the guys were batting…. um, I mean when we heard about the Hyderabad incident, and about how some beer had been spilt at one of the one day games, we made a determination that they posed a threat to public order, and revoked their visas,” said Mr Statham.
“Thank God, because we were being wiped out. What the hell was the groundsman thinking, preparing such a green pitch?”
Immigration officials also say they will make a decision shortly about whether to cancel the visas of visiting rugby league teams, who are here for the Auckland Nines tournament, after numerous incidents in the past of drunkenness and disorder by fans and players.
“But only if it looks like my team the Warriors might be losing,” said Mr Statham.