Cricket professionals at every level use safety nets during practice sessions. Safety nets aid in safe training where density of players is more. Moreover, by restraining the aerial shots by batsmen these nets nullify the danger of potential injury to the cricket-loving public.
But surprisingly these nets are often required to protect players of the fielding team in a match. One of the most famous examples of such incident is the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup where India was facing Sri Lanka. India was chasing Sri Lanka’s challenging total of 251 runs to enter the final. As Indian batsmen faltered in front of the 100,000 crowd at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata, the enraged crowd started throwing bottles at the Sri Lankan players near the boundary line.
The players had to leave the field for 20 minutes but the rage of the passionate supporters did not end. Even as the players returned to play, bottles were continually hurled at the players. Also, fires were lit in the stand. Unfortunately, due to irrational behaviour by the fans, the then Mach referee Clive Lloyd had to award the match to the Sri Lankans.
To avoid such untoward incidents which can potentially hurt cricketers and also tarnish game’s image, many stadiums these days have safety nets which help in successful conduct of a match where both fans and players can enjoy the match.