Shut up and play your game Aussies

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 10:53 [IST]
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In the midst of the turmoil over Muralitharan (which I will address later), Marvan Atapattu's feat of scoring his sixth Test double-century went almost unnoticed and commented about. If that is still the case, my response is a resounding, "Congratulations Marvan!"

He is now on par with Javed Miandad (another great!) and he achieved it in lesser Test matches! Marvan and Murali are the two M&Ms candy (Murali is from Kandy!) of the Sri Lankans that give the Lankan fans a sweet taste but their rivals a bitter one.

One of those rivals who just cannot get the bitter taste out of his mouth is the Australian Prime Minister. For a statesman to make such remarks is very disturbing to say the least. A political figure of his stature should keep his opinions out of this avenue and even if he was pressured to give an answer, he could have done so diplomatically.

I am not a bit surprised that Murali is not going to tour Australia. Better yet! How about Sri Lanka sending a second string team to Australia and let there be another farcical series. This is the time for the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as well as the players to show that they are indeed united and stand by their countryman!

It certainly seems to me that the host (the Aussie PM) is already telling his Sri Lankan guests, "We don't particularly relish your chances of winning here, so please stay home ". What genteel behaviour! Wah ji Wah!

I wonder how many lengths Mr PM would have gone to to defend Trevor Chappell in that infamous "underarm" incident had it happened during his tenure? A head of state should be the first to defuse controversies instead of adding fuel to the fire!

However, should we be surprised at his remarks? We all remember the infamous "McGrath and Sarwan" incident. Rather than coming out and condemning McGrath's outburst at Sarwan, Mr PM sympathized with his errant ward by stating that what the Pigeon "dropped" was "A very Australian thing to do". Need I say more?

I believe that the comment pretty much sums up their manners code. Doesn't it? How about the time when upon getting out against the Lankans, while in the dressing room, Darren Lehmann yelled out racial slurs against his Lankan opponents? Had those offending remarks not been overheard, would Lehmann have come out and apologized? Did he apologize only because he knew people heard him loud and clear? Where was Mr PM then? Did he say anything? Maybe that too is a "Very Australian thing to do."

If that's the way the authorities handle cases of churlish behaviour, they are only compounding the problem by emboldening the offenders to carry on undaunted. Yet, when an Asian player says something or gives a certain "look" who did we usually see whining like crybabies? Yes, the Aussies! The "I don't care how you feel about my behaviour" chaps.

Pardon me guys, but what sauce is for the goose should be for the gander as well. If you dish it out then be prepared to take it on the chin as well. Otherwise, just shut up and play the game! Grow up and quit whining! Otherwise, your opponents might have to bring some cheese with them to the field to go with your whine!

The aforementioned being excused by the powers that be is tantamount to saying, "We just have no manners unlike our Asian counterparts. That's just how we are. Stop bothering us". One wonders whether any apologies given in those incidents were real or just lip service?

I am sure some who read my column will be agitated. How dare I say such things? My reply, "I guess you now realise how Murali feels". End of story.

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