~~Amla a Terrorist~~, a joke gone wrong: Border

Published: Friday, August 11, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Former Australia captain Allan Border feels Dean Jones calling Proteas Hashim Amla a "terrorist" was merely a ''joke gone wrong'' and he urged the cricket world not to ostracise his former teammate who, he said, has already been punished enough.

''This was a joke gone wrong. He has paid enough penalty and lets get on with it,'' Border was quoted as saying by The Courier-Mail.

The World Cup winning captain has, however, no doubt in his mind that Jones deserved to be criticised for rather flippantly calling Amla a ''terrorist'' while commenting during the South Africa-Sri Lanka Test. But, Border argued, Jones, who was sacked by Ten Sports after the gaffe, has already been punished enough.

''You don't condone what he said -- it was stupid -- but there should be balance in this,'' Border said.

Border also felt that the incident didn't portray the real Jones character.

''In the days when there was angst between the Australians, Pakistanis and Indians and Deano was one of the first guys to try and break down those barriers. He got to know those players very well.

''He has always enjoyed playing and being in the subcontinent and the differences between their nations and ours,'' Border said.

''We have a brashness about the way we play our cricket and there was always suspicions from those nations. Deano helped changed that.

Let's get it right about his character,'' he added.

Playing down the incident, Border claimed, ''A lot of the South African players had jokingly referred to (Amla) as the terrorist.

But it was an in-house joke you would never say publicly. And Deano wasn't meaning for it to be public.

''It was said in a jovial manner and it backfired terribly.

Deservedly he has got a wrap over the knuckles and a good kick up the backside,'' Border said.

''But he's very well-liked globally including Indians, Pakistanis and South Africans, as a good man and a straight shooter.

''Deano does lead with his chin at times but we've got to get this in context,'' he explained.

''The guy does a lot of work for charity. He did a charity walk, which raised over a million dollars. He did not go to South Africa when the money was on offer (in 1985). He stayed loyal to Australia and was not enamoured with the politics over there (in South Africa),'' he elaborated.

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