ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 18, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 25

Sorry… Mr. Warne your fangs are showing!

SUNDAY MUSINGS with S.R. Pathiravithana

There is a local saying that one must never trust even a kitten born beyond the Bentara River. Well……now I have the feeling that it’s high time to dump that age old cliché and have a new one. I feel it should read as “never trust an Australian when it comes to cricket”.

The fangs of the werewolf are now showing. First it was all brawn Jason Gillespie who uttered anti-Murali slogans while still under contract to Cricket Australia. Then Cricket Australia comes up with another ruse by imposing a media ban on the agencies. Then it was the turn of former Australian spinner Terry Jenner to stink the atmosphere with another distasteful utterance. Now the bad boy of Australian cricket Shane Warne has come with another wrong’un just prior to the beginning of the second Test match in Hobart.

Many will agree with our view that this is a calculated move by those living Down Under in a bid to tarnish or take the shine off a Murali record if he takes those magic seven during the second Test. To do that he has another possible twenty Australian wickets on offer and he only needs a little bit of support by the ten remaining Lankan players who will ‘don’ the national cap during the said game.

The first match was a disaster. On the first day itself of the match when Murali was about to take the upper hand the rest of his team mates led by none other than skipper Mahela Jayawardena let him down by grassing at least five possible chances. May be they were sharp but at that level of cricket, every half chance is counted and had the Lankan fielders held on to the ones offered by the Australian batsmen, the final outcome of the match could have been different. By gone is now by gone. Not even father time can alter the fate of that Test match now.

What the Sri Lankans did to lose that match is not the core issue here. The core issue here is that how the Australians plan out a strategy on a victim to single out long before the visiting team even arrives in the country and starts to address the issue in their own sinister way. The strategy never lets up till the last ball of the last match is bowled and Australia emerges the ultimate victors. Ironically this strategy does not stop to the activities inside the boundary lines. But, it spills over to every sphere of Australian life and some times it includes the Prime Minister of the vast Island Nation.

At the same time I also believe the incident involving the two original umpires for the first Test – Aleem Darr of Pakistan and Steve Bucknor of West Indies not being present to officiate in the middle is also more than intriguing. Was there any connection between their absence and the way that Sanath Jayasuriya was dismissed at the hands of New Zealand umpire Tony Hill? It is a well known secret that Sanath Jayasuriya’s fortunes in a Lankan match has a huge bearing on the rest of the deeds in Lankan performances in the outcome of the game. One bad decision against a player of that nature really could tilt the balance of the scales of a match especially if it is played against Australia on Australian soil. To give the devil its due the Australians are a bunch of professionals and they do possess the ability of converting an inch into a mile if the circumstances let them do it. However the sad part is that they seem to employ even other factors besides their own cricketing abilities to ensure their claim to the cricketing throne in the World of Cricket.

I was also rather intrigued when Cricket Australia agreed to play the Aussie-Lankan series for the Warne-Murali trophy. Well to launch a series of this nature and and name it after two individuals I suppose you have to get the consent of the two individuals who would sign on to that deal.

Now after agreeing to name the trophy in their name and even letting Cricket Australia take a cast of his bowling hand Warne has tracked back on his consent while writing for the Courier Mail. Now the so called champion bowler who was once proved positive for the usage of performance enhancing drugs has called for Murali to be tested in match conditions.

Murali is a bowler who already has been cleared by the Sports’ governing body. Then why should Warne call for other Tests on the Lankan bowler after consenting to name a trophy after them. This is a real Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation.

Even the Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee member and former Lankan opening batsman Sidath Wettimuny was saddened by this latest Warne stunt. He said “It does leave a bad taste. I wonder why he came out with such statement after giving his consent to the Murali-Warne series. It’s a very sad situation indeed”.

But I honestly feel that Mr. Shane Warne should not be let loose on those lonely streets of St. Kilda’s, Melbourne, especially on a full moon night.

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