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What is right for Waugh is not right for Ranatunge!!

By Andrew Jayasinghe

I have a habit of calling an apple an apple . It is hard to call it anything else. It looks like an apple it tastes like an apple so it should be an apple. It does not matter that the skin is red or green for that matter.

The reason for this crazy preamble is something that happened in cricket. I believe there is racism in cricket. Unbelievable is it not? Isn't this the gentleman's game. How indeed can gentlemen be racists!

Steve Waugh, after being given out for a nothing stroke to Nehemiah Perry in the second innings of the second Test against the West Indies in Jamaica, made a huge fuss. He talked to the umpire Peter Willey and appeared unwilling to leave when given out by the TV replay. The TV replay showed that he was indeed out and there was no reason for this undue petulance. Even after being given out he was seen in the third umpires room complaining. Now all this is not surprising. Steve Waugh is a hard character. He is known for this type of behaviour. Yet what is surprising is that the Australian press tried to play down this ugly behaviour. They also tried to explain the unexplainable. Nor did the ICC match referee think it necessary to haul Waugh before a disciplinary committee and give him a suspended sentence of six test matches.

Take this in contrast to when a similar situation developed in Australia where Ranathunge ,Emerson,Muralitharan and Peter Van Der Merve were the main players. In this occasion Ranathunge was not reacting to the fact that he was given out. No indeed nothing as simple as that could have caused him to react. In fact He was given out many times under questionable circumstances. Nary did he raise a finger then. Nor did he complain. He complained when one of his brood was discriminated against clearly by an unscrupulous umpire who had been put up to his dark task by authorities who know no shame. He questioned because as a human being he has a right to question. In fact there is none in the world that would not have questioned such a ridiculous decision.

Look at the condemnation he received. The press took to him like the rabid dog does to a bystander. The so called "Intelligent and gentlemanly" crowds started behaving like animals. When Ranathunge used his lawyers to defend himself the whole country erupted. The condemnation that was seen is unprecedented as was comical. Comical as in Australia the Rugby Clubs find it impossible to punish the worst of culprits who are animals enough to spray faeces in motels they lodge in due to fear of legal involvement, you would think Ranathunge can use a lawer without all this condemnation. No it seems that Ranathunge has brought the game to disrepute. Richie Benaud who is the voice of Channel Nine laments that Ranathunge's action will be a major stain on the game. He also goes on to say that the game as a whole will suffer due to this. He has not or will not raise pen to condemn Steve Waugh's petulance. Nor does he acknowledge the shameful Australian campaign which was used to discriminate against that brilliant Sri Lankan Bowler.

Peter van der Merwe was also saddened by Ranathunge using his legal rights to defend himself. Was he also saddened by the fact that the Australian Board had appointed an umpire whowas on sick leave. Nary a word to that effect. Nothing gentlemanly happened on that fateful day in Adelaide to suggest the gentleman's code would suffice to protect the Sri Lankans against the grave injustices heaped on them. Raman Subba Row the match referee for the test match in Jamaica saw no reason to call Waugh to a hearing . He considered it unworthy of mention.

The Australian Press saw nothing wrong with Waugh's reaction but sought to denigrate and insult Ranatunge. The South African referee saw it fit to give Ranathunge the harshest punishment ever but the English referee sought to ignore Waugh's outburst. It is always easier to preach against racism than to admit to it. This is always the case as the loudest preacher is usually the worst offender.

Well if this is not evidence of racism in cricket I do not know an apple when I see one.