Pitch invaders in cricket are not an unusual sight. In countries like Australia and England, these invaders can often be streakers as well. In India also, we have had our fair share of intrusions from random members of the crowd. However, over the last few years, the most common type of pitch invaders have been fans of Sachin Tendulkar who are looking to get close to their hero and, in some cases, touch his feet.
But if you thought that such infiltrations onto the playing area are a recent phenomenon or restricted to men in India, a video from 1975 would change your perception. During the 1974/75 home season, the Indians hosted West Indies for a 5-match Test series.
The last Test of the series was played at Wankhede Stadium on January 23-29 in Mumbai (then Bombay) and was the first staged by this iconic venue. It was the last and deciding Test of a gripping series where the visitors had won the first two matches but then lost the next two against a spirited Indian team. The final Test also saw an interesting fight but the West Indians, powered by Clive Lloyd's big double hundred and Lance Gibbs' 7-wicket haul in the first innings, ended up winning the Test by 201 runs and triumphing in the series as well.
? Lovely memory from the first test at the Wankhede — Brijesh Patel being kissed after scoring 50 against the Windies in 1975. This was the second such incident. The first involved Abbas Ali Baig against the Australians in 1959-60, also in Bombay but at the Brabourne Stadium https://t.co/te9tExC0e8— Ashok Malik (@MalikAshok) July 18, 2019
In those days, there was no live television coverage of matches in India. But this series was recorded by the Film Division of India and footage of the match must have been used in newsreels that were played in cinema houses before movies.
One really unique and memorable incident from the game was captured by the cameras and has now been shared on Twitter by a user named Indradeep Khan. In the second innings of the match, India were chasing a target of 404 runs but their top-order gave way and defeat was imminent. However, batsman Brijesh Patel played a defiant knock of 73 not out. When he got to his fifty, many fans, as was customary in those days, rushed on to the field of play to congratulate the batsman. But the most interesting intruder was a lady, clad in a black saree, who decided to congratulate the batsman by giving him a kiss.
This very novel video has become popular on social media and even drew a comment from senior journalist and, presently, press secretary to President of India, Ashok Malik. Who says that it's only men who love the game in India? The lady in the video seems as big a fan as any.