A Saga Of Chicken Headed Saffies And The Abandoning Of The South African Tour!

© Suni The Seeing Eye ~Sightscreens Unlimited For LankaWeb Sports.

August 10th,2008

While the consideration towards security for the departing South Africans seems a exaggerated non issue the prerogative to leave must surely be accepted as theirs by choice. Notwithstanding the inconveniences and embarrassments which obviously have ensued and the patience of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board as well as the cricket loving Sri lankan fans tested there seems a certain air of doubt about whether the Proteas really ran from a terrorist scare or the prospect of a resounding ass kicking and a possible whitewash of the ODI's by the Lankans and hence the merits of the cartoons of chicken headed Saffies in the local media and the ridicule they have faced over their decision somewhat credible given the consideration thet they aren't the only visiting foreign team in town as well as the massive security net which covered every aspect of their safety.

Thus has ended a sad story of the Springbocks literally running away from the Lions den ere they were chewed up beyond recognition in a cricketing sense, to fight another day! To add insult to injury the South African authorities have even ordered a visiting school team back to sunny South Africa which has more dangerous enclaves of unsafe repute than a whole plethora of world cities combined and hopefully the ICC will look at the South African decision objectively despite heeding the opinions of the security crew commissioned by them and set in place some justice for this rather misguided decision taken unilaterally by a bunch of chicken hearted Saffies! despit the reality that it was made in conjunction with ICC approved security experts whose expertise now seems to ne a tad questionable!

Granted! some of the media accusations levelled at the South Africans 'scrambling for safety' from a a bomb scare which seems to translate also into ' paranoid misconception' may be wide of the mark but it is slowly beginning to sink in around cricketing circles around the world as well as within the hub of it all in Colombo that South Africa's pull-out appears to be either an unjustified hastily made decision lacking credible evidence to back it up or a veritable run for cover to avoid humiliation at the hands of the surging Lankans!

Certainly Duleep Mendis, the chief executive of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board has not minced his words and is somewhat justified in interjecting that "What surprises me is that they were advised by a firm based in Dubai. This firm did not even come to Colombo to assess the situation." and has a very valid point that the South African decision tantamounts to paranoia rather than based on any valid reasoning beyond the need to scramble before they were scrambled by the Lankan Lions on the cricket field!!

There seems no question about the right to seek compensation by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board given all the controversial circumstances surrounding the Proteas bail out which fronts the issue of security as a lame excuse where the South Africans appear to have set a bad precedent and justice needs to be meted out towards the cause. Somewhat perplexingly it has been revealed through credible sources that South African Cricket somewhat incongruously claims that its relationship remains hunky dory with Sri Lanka Cricket despite the impasse of their recent pullout which realistically is a load of balderdash given the facts and circumstances and it will take a long drawn healing process for relations to return to normal between the two entities in this post Apartheid Era sadly.

It would be an understatement to suggest that The Sri Lankan Cricket Board and its executive committe are fuming at the decision and the manner in which it was made with no consideration to the protocols surrounding such a decision and authoritatively taken with little or no ICC involvement as purported beyond the IC sanctioned security based in Colombo. It seems also insulting and disrespectful that the SLCB have been the last ones to have been informed where they have learned about it from the local media which is disgustingly lacking in decorum and leaves the credibilities of the South Africans in limbo about what they might do in a worse case scenario with no consideration for the host nation now that they have set the precedent!

Undoubtedly the South African cricketers must have felt threatened and even genuinely rattled by Monday's car bomb involving the attempted assassination of the Pakistan Consul General in Colombo which resulted in 7 deaths and quite understandably their trepidations legitimate albeit the credible evidence pointing to the suspicion that they were misinformed about the risks posed to them which appear to have been exaggerated by security experts leading to the greater paranoia which eventually projected their final decision.

There have been a few lame exuses put forward in support of the South Afrcan decision by the announcement in Johannesburg by Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive. Quoting Cricinfo's Charlie Austin that " ' the clinching factor' was a threatening email from a group called the Tamil Tiger Youth League. To those in Sri Lanka, or those who know about Sri Lankan politics, this can be translated as: "The clinching factor " being a threat from an organisation that no-one has ever heard of before. It could have been sent from a Hotmail account.The decision to pull-out has prompted many hypothetical questions. Would South Africa have withdrawn from an England tour in the aftermath of similar terror scares to those witnessed before the fourth Test against Pakistan in the UK? Will South Africa refuse to travel to Mumbai for the Champions Trophy after the dreadful bombings earlier this year? Will South Africa pull-out of a Pakistan tour if a group calling themselves the Al Qaeda Children's Group sent them a threatening email? "

Consequently as Mr.Austin further points out most appropriately, quoting again with a word of thanks on behalf of all cricket loving Sri Lankans "Sri Lanka Cricket, a cricket board that only 18 months ago was faced with a serious financial crisis, now expects huge financial losses from lost broadcasting and sponsorship revenues. This triangular series was one of the most profitable in their current broadcasting contract with Ten Sports and a bilateral series with India still leaves them with a huge hole in their accounts. In addition, the damage caused to the country's tourist industry will be significant. In such circumstances, it is understandable that Sri Lanka Cricket will now want some answers as they consider a demand for financial compensation"

The icing on the cake inasfaras South African trepidations about the security in Colombo are concerned seems to be the relatively easy composure other South Africans visiting Sri Lanka are showing based upon the perfectly relaxed atmosphere at a local night spot just moments away from the scene of the bomb blast. Rhythm & Blues a popular nightspot where many South Africans were scene enjoying themselves without a care in the world seemingly attests to the paranoid nature of the controversial pullout of the cricketers. Like most people visiting Colombo, they seem to go about having fun despite the recent increased tensions in the island's North and East predominantly. The City of Colombo reputed for an almost non existenet crime rate by comparison to many other cities in the world seems to suggest that the South African media which initiated the unmitigated paranoia resulting in this somewhat questionable decision have been completely unaware of this reality and have unnecessarily initiated through their media coverage this decision by the South Africans which may come back to haunt them in a far greater perspective than being portrayed merely as chicken headed Saffies!



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