In 1996, the Indian national cricket team embarked upon a tour of England on the back of a disappointing World Cup campaign on home soil.
World Cup '96
#india hosted Sri Lanka in the semi-final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. At 128 for 8 in the 35th over chasing a Sri Lankan total of 251, the Kolkata crowd angered by their team's embarrassing collapse, started hurling bottles on to the pitch and fire erupted in some areas of the stadium. The game was subsequently abandoned by the match authorities and Sri Lanka was awarded the victory by default. The visitors would eventually go on to win the World Cup beating Australia by seven wickets in the final.
The Indians, utterly despondent, left Kolkata by the first available flight in the next morning to get some rest and start preparing for the big tour of England. They were scheduled to play a three-test series at Edgbaston, Lord's and Trent Bridge.
Tour of England
The squad included two young talents in Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid who would make their Test debuts in the series and go on to dominate the Indian batting line-up for years to come.
Ganguly scored a century on his debut at Lord's and another at Trent Bridge. Dravid made 95 and 84 at the same venues. There was cause for celebration for the Indians for witnessing two phenomenal batting talents but they subsequently lost the series 1-0.
Off the pitch, there was an incident that somehow managed to go under the radar in the last two decades. Sachin Tendulkar, writing in his autobiography - "Playing It My Way", mentions that Ganguly and Navjot Singh Sidhu were once held at gunpoint travelling in the tube in #London.
As the two batsmen were enjoying themselves in London, they encountered a group of young lads who presumably had too much to drink that night. They started "making gestures" at the two Indians and eventually one of the drunk boys threw a can of beer at Sidhu.
The former top-order batsman who is now a Member of Parliament and a television personality in India had a reputation for being a bit hot headed. Understandably, he confronted the group. It turned ugly and a fight ensued until they reached the next stoppage where the group staggered off the train. But moments after that, one of the drunk boys barged into the train and started waving a gun at Ganguly and Sidhu.
"At this, Sourav's first reaction was to drop to the ground and cover his face in fright, but then he started pleading with the boy and dragged Navjot away as quickly as he could," writes Tendulkar in his book.
"Looking back at the incident, it seems funny in some ways, but it must have been pretty scary at the time."
It was a bizarre yet serious incident that astonishingly didn't give rise to an international issue. #Cricket