Wanderers security told to be on alert for crowd abuse after Stokes incident
Security staff at the Wanderers have been told to be “more proactive” in monitoring abusive comments from the crowd following Ben Stokes’ angry exchange with a fan on day one of England’s fourth Test against South Africa.
Stokes was walking off the field after being dismissed for two on the first evening in Johannesburg when he became enraged at what he described as “repeated abuse from the crowd”.
He launched into a foul-mouthed response as he approached the distinctive players’ tunnel at Wanderers Stadium, and is likely to be hit with disciplinary action after his comments were captured by the host network’s cameras.
Ashley Giles, director of England men’s cricket, claimed after play that members of the touring side’s support staff had also been targeted and said a request had been made for “enhanced” stewarding and security arrangements to be applied.
Reuben Niekerk, a representative of the venue operations centre, was oblivious to that appeal but said the matter had been addressed.
He told PA news agency: “The stadium is not aware of this request and we also feel that the currently deployed security numbers is sufficient. Throwing additional numbers to a problem is not the solution.
“We have again reiterated to the field of play security (and other sensitive areas) to be more proactive in identifying spectators’ comments when players are in and around their respective areas (fielding on the boundary close to them or entering and exiting the field).
“In addition to this, the England team security have agreed to ensure that at any given time at least one of them will be down at the dugout/tunnel entrance from field to closely monitor any comments from the spectators.”