Being Freddie - The "I got shot in Delhi" extract

Extract from "Being Freddie" (courtesy Times Online):
AS AN England player you are a target, as well as a hero, but a line was crossed when I was fielding on the boundary for England in Delhi in 2002. I felt something hit me and, looking down, saw pellets on the ground. You expect to have plastic bottles thrown at you when you are playing on the sub-continent, but you don’t expect to be shot.

Nasser Hussain got very heated about it in the middle and Phil Neale, the tour manager, came to find out what was going on. We carried on, but the whole thing seemed to get swept under the carpet.

This is supposed to have happened on 31st Jan 2002 during the ODI in Delhi. The match reports can be found here - (a) BBC, (b) Cricinfo, (c) Indian Express and (d) The Hindu.

The alleged incident is supposed to have happened during the 29th over with Ganguly and Kaif at the crease. Needing 272 to win, India was 135/3 at that stage. (This was a game that India should have won but ended up losing by 2 runs - Those were the days when Ganguly was at his best when it came to hitting the spinners out of the ground -- cant blame you if say it was ages ago; also how can a team give away 5 wkts to Ashley Giles?). Flintoff was definitely hit by something (possibly a bottle cock), play was held up for a while and then resumed. Flintoff thinks it was a pellet (from an air-gun or a toy gun or whatever) and that it shouldn't have happened, he was not there to be shot at (who disagrees?) and was disappointed that not much was done about that. And he writes the same in his auto-biography (forget the ghost writers). Now what is wrong with that? If he doesn't write about things like that in his auto-biography, where else will he express his opinions? What else should he write about - the bland vada-pav or the spicy curry chicken that he ate there?

The Delhi police and DDCA have immediately rubbished the claim saying that this is just a publicity gimmick used to promote his book. The officials now say that they would have done something about it, had it been brought to their immediate notice. I dont think it was a "life-threatening" bullet that was shot at Flintoff, but all the same the Delhi Police (/DDCA) did not really have a great day on the ground to have been able to do something about it. Read this article that was run by Indian Express on the day of the game about policemen letting in ticketless spectators onto the ground. The DDCA and the police officials had a very bad day, the "controlling the crowd" aspect was a big fiasco and they should acknowldge it. I understand that the security measures at the Indian grounds have improved a great deal in recent years and playing in India now is as safe as you can get.

Ever since that excerpt from Freddie's book came out, people have been saying "why rake it up now?".. Well, why not? It is just an extract from "auto-biography". Not a treatise on "security in India".

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