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South African cricketers chicken out

CRICKET: The South African cricketers pulled out of the Unitech One-day triangular series citing security concerns. The other teams to play in this series were India and Sri Lanka.

The South Africans who held a team meeting on Monday night were unanimous that they should call off the tourney and go home.

In refusing to play, the South Africans proved spoil spots and upset all arrangements that were made to successfully conduct this long awaited tournament.

One cannot understand the South Africans indecent hurry to skip the tournament, considering the fact the Interim Committee, even bent backwards to promise them the best of security.

The South Africans in citing the bomb blast were only making a flimsy excuse to skip the tournament. Obviously they would not have wanted to be beaten again after losing the Test series 2-nil.

The South Africans are used to playing under threatening conditions. In Protealand, too, there are security concerns.

There one has to be careful when even taking a stroll on their streets.

I have been to South African a few times and can vouch for the fact that it is not safe to be on the roads alone even in broad daylight for the chances of being, manhandled and mugged are great.

One incident that remains vivid in my mind was when Sri Lanka toured South Africa in March 1998. Lionel Ranasinghe who kept cheer leader Lionel Nawaragodagedera company was badly manhandled and mugged and robbed of all his belongings. He had to be hospitalised for several weeks.

Ranasinghe had gone to purchase his bus ticket and was on his way back in Johannesburg when he suffered this life threatening attack.

The South African coach Mickey Arthur has said that had the cricketers not been playing they would have been shopping at the Liberty Plaza. The bomb went off far from the Liberty Plaza.

What Arthur forget to tell was that the cricketers are here not to shop but to play cricket.

A similar statement was uttered by Australia's Shane Warne when the Australian's refused to tour Sri Lanka and honour their World Cup encounter in 1996.

He had asked what would happen if a bomb went off when they were shopping? The late Lakshman Kadirigamar was the Foreign Minister at that time and he gave Warne a terse answer when he said that shopping was meant only for sissies.




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