Island Cricket

Sunday, October 28, 2007

In a country Murali bashing is a sport

It is a well known fact that it is only the hard at heart who can go to Australia for a cricket series and survive to fight another day. The slightest hint of a team/player or both posing a threat to their supremacy will set off a rankling which will have many repercussions on and off the field – some times even the authorities find it hard to douse. That’s cricket in Australia and the Sri Lankans at present are there to play a two Test series which is more interesting academic wise than the end result of the matches itself.

The Australians are back on their own soil though winning the Indian ODIs convincingly are smarting with the racial barracking they got from the Indian crowds – something that they savoured for the first time. One of the most senior International Cricket Umpires in Sri Lanka—Asoka de Silva once came up with an interesting anecdote about the cat calls and racial abuses in India. It went like this “I was standing with Englishman David Shepard in a match that involved India and the West Indies about 4-5 years ago in Mumbai. That time also they targeted only one player. It was the best West Indian fast bowler at that time -- Mervyn Dillon whom they targeted. There were cat calls, honking like monkeys and at times they just came out in raw filth

“But, at that time there were no ICC indicators on crowd behaviour nor, were there any official complaints from the West Indian cricket management. So the Incident was just swept under the carpet. “Nevertheless there was one thing that was very significant. There was this dinner that followed the match. There umpire David Shepard was invited to speak. During his speech Shepard took up this incident and said that he would like to see an end to this sort of crowd behaviour at cricket matches before it scales down to the levels of soccer hooliganism”. A very significant but, untold part of cricket history.

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Courtesy of Sunday Times, Sri Lanka.

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