Aussie legends take a dig at ~~dead-set sooks~~ CA

Published: Friday, February 29, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: Former Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson and rugby great Tommy Raudonikis have condemned Cricket Australia"s move to reprimand opener Mathew Hayden for his “obnoxious weed" remark against Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Labelling CA officials as 'sooks', Thommo and Tommy, both of whom are regarded as Australia's most colourful sporting greats, lashed out at the political correctness being promoted and described the reprimand of Matthew Hayden as "over the top".

Former Test firebrand Jeff Thomson insisted Hayden's official reprimand was "bulls..t'' while legendary rugby league hardman Tommy Raudonikis labelled cricket officials as 'sooks'.

The Daily Telegraph quoted both as saying that political correctness would turn the game's characters into robots.

"Every time someone says something, some official pulls them in,'' Thomson fumed. "I am sick of political correctness. Someone asked Hayden what he thought of Harbhajan and he gave his view. Aren't you allowed to give an opinion any more? It's bulls..t.''

Raudonikis, the former Australian league enforcer, also weighed into the furore to slam cricket's laws gone crazy.

"They are so weak. They are dead-set sooks,'' Raudonikis said of cricket's officialdom. "To see Hayden in trouble for what he said is ridiculous.

"Aussies are known for our toughness, and for calling a spade a spade, and there is nothing wrong with that.''

Hayden defended his actions last night, claiming he was "saddened'' that he was disciplined by Cricket Australia.

"It saddens me that my employer has to discipline me for my behaviour,'' Hayden told The Daily Telegraph.

"I can see that my comments were insensitive but they were not intended to be denigrating and especially not contrary to the spirit of cricket.

"The cricket environment I have grown up with is probably a little bit different from today.''

The Australian Cricketers' Association also backed Hayden to the hilt.

"The ACA is disappointed that Matthew was charged for expressing a personal opinion about another player,'' ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.

Mystified players privately questioned why the process to find Hayden guilty and then slap him with a reprimand took nine hours - suggesting it was a politically based decision with pressure brought to bear from India.

Hayden had argued his comments were said in a flippant manner but code of conduct commissioner Ron Beazley thought otherwise.

There were suggestions that CA had caved into pressure from India to sanction Hayden, the one-day player of the year at the Allan Border medal.


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