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
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
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
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.