13 December, 2017

Blog

‘Beheading’ Murali

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

‘Beheading’ Murali: Cricketing Fundamentalists In Australian Cricket, 1995-98

The Western world is in shock as ISIS has gained control of a swathe of territory across Syria/Iraq and set up a caliphate state as a symbol of resurgent Islam of their crusading character; and, thereafter, when ISIS (A) beheaded several Western hostages in chilling video-theatre and (B) called upon like-minds in Western centuries to venture forth on random acts of decapitation in the heart of cities.

Australia has been in the grip of alarm for several days this past week as the ISIS call reverberated and the Federal Police launched precautionary raids on those radical Muslims they had been monitoring. Then, on the night of 23rd September one young Muslim of Afghan descent, Numan Haider, raised the scales by slashing and nearly killing two policemen in the vicinity of a Melbourne police station.

So, references to “Islamic fundamentalism” have ruled the air waves.

Murali

Murali

This phenomenon struck a chord in my memory bank. I went back to my own writings. Let me quote from a piece[1] written on 1st January 1996 under the title “Fundamentalism in Cricket: Crucifying Murali.”

In Australia … fundamentalism is not only suspect, it is detested. In this view (some) Muslims are the epitome of contemporary fundamentalism. Yet, reposing righteously in this anti-fundamentalist terrain is a species of fundamentalism. In the sunny field of cricket these purists have assassinated Muttiah Murlaitharan by the book. Their scimitar is both sharp and uncompromising. … Fundamentalists do not know the art of compromise. Their righteous zealotry is piously strict. They go by the Book. Darrell Hair has emerged as the champion of cricket purists. His ruling … has guillotined Muralitharan’s arm and placed the lad on the shelves of history.

Darrell Hair was not a maverick. He was carrying out the wishes of a powerful coterie at the heart of the Australian Cricket Board and the Australian team. On the morning of the 26th December 1996 Tim Lane[2] and Graham Halbish[3] were both aware that a momentous act would occur on the field of cricket that day. Grapevine tales in the Australian circuit focus on Bob Simpson, the Australian coach, as a key conspirator demanding such action; while Malcolm Gray and Colin Egar have also been implicated.[4]

Australia at this stage was the ruling hegemon in the cricket world, outmuscling the MCC and Englishmen. Its commanding figures believed that the game of cricket was sullied by the burgeoning phenomenon of “chuckers” — bowlers who threw the ball. In the early 1990s Warnaweera had appeared, persisted and disappeared without being called. Now, in 1995, they were seeing Dharmasena and Murali plying the art of bowling as chuckers, with Murali the most dangerous of them all as wicket-taker.

So, a line had to be drawn in the sand to save the game of cricket from degeneration at the hand of these (Asian) bowlers. Not only was there a touch of Orientalism, in the sense Edward Said, in this brand of thinking, but also more than a wee dram of moral righteousness of the sort that would have pleased Calvinist pastors.

So Murali’s arm had to be — metaphorically — decapitated. When the first burst of action initiated by Hair and others (including Emerson and McQuillan) could not be sustained,[5] a second attempt at ‘decapitation’ was carried out at Adelaide Oval on 23 January 1998 by Ross Emerson  acting upon instructions from “a senior Australian official.

The failure of these efforts, and the campaign as a whole, should not detract from its significance: namely, the force of moral righteousness and cricketing purism in seeking public acts of “execution.” To these minds, “chuckers” were infidels within the cricketing domain.

Murali’s arm as an ‘infidel’ chucking arm had to be stayed, cut-off. The cricketing gods demanded it.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAHY

Abbasi, Kamran 2006 “Wanted: A Radical Rethink on Suspect Bowling Actions,” in Roberts, Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 179-81.

CNN 2014 “Video shows ISIS beheading U.S. journalist James Foley,” http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/19/world/meast/isis-james-foley/

Maley, Paul 2014 “Islamic State horror hits home: plot to abduct and behead Australians,” The Australian, 19 September 2014, https://plus.google.com/114281934612203133760

Roberts, Michael & Alfred James 1998 Crosscurrents. Sri Lanka and Australia at Cricket, Sydney: Walla Walla Press.

Roberts, Michael 2006 “Fundamentalism in Cricket: Crucifying Murali,” in Roberts,  Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 4-5.

Roberts, Michael 2006 “Moral Crusaders as Menace to Cricket,” in Roberts, Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 51-56.

Roberts, Michael 2011a “Currents, Clashes and Issues in Sri Lankan Cricket,” in Roberts, Incursions and Excursions in and Around Sri Lankan Cricket, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 1-20.

Roberts, Michael 2011 “Saving Murali: Action On-field and Off-field, 1995-2005,” in Incursions and Excursions in and Around Sri Lankan Cricket, Roberts, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 111-38.

Wijesuriya, Glucka 2006 “Murali and the Bowling Issue,” in Roberts, Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 4-5.

Roebuck, Peter 2006 “Secret Filming reveals Extent of Bowlers who Chuck,” in Roberts, Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 321-22.

Suhaib, Hilal 2010 “Ross Emerson admits to no-balling Murali due to orders from the top,” 8 July 2010, http://www.islandcricket.lk/news/60670708/ ross_emerson_admits_no_balling_murali_due_orders_from_the_top

Thuppahi 2014 “Media Tsunami in Australia over Islamic Terror WITHIN … and Beyond,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/media-tsunami-in-australia-over-islamic-terror-within/

Thuppahi 2014b “Terror Australis,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/terror-australis/

White, Alex 2014 Unmasked: Aussie jihadists heading into Islamic State terror zones,” Herald Sun, 18 September 2014.



[1] I was watching the match at the MCG on the 26th and got back to Adelaide on the 31st night. I penned this article there and then. It was printed in the Daily News in Sri Lanka but no Australian newspaper accepted it. It has been reprinted in my Essaying Cricket.

[2] Tim Lane told fellow radio commentators ha t morning that something major would take place that day. This story went the rounds once Murali was no-balled.

[3] As they drove to the MCG on the 26th December morning Halbish told Owen Mottau, his mate from the same Prahran Cricket Club, that Murali would be no-balled that day (info communicated by Owen to me).

[4] See Roberts 2011a: 6-8 and Roberts 2011b: 114-17.

[5] This was due to an offer of testing from Daryl Foster of the Biotechnology unit at the University of Western Australia — a friendly gesture that was taken up with alacrity by Duleep Mends and the BCCSL. For details see Roberts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8
    4

    Murali survived and went on to active even more greatness, he had the last laugh.

    Why write this now? wanted to remind everyone you still exist ?

    • 6
      4

      .
      Then they were against Muralidharan and later Pirabaharan, and now against Wigneswaren.

      :-)

      • 6
        4

        Please don’t support this greedy guy who happened to be a cricketer once supported by the entire SL Cricket lovers.

        For money he betrayed himself. He didn’t groom youngsters or did help his college but he is helping India and Australia.
        What a Traitor. The other rascal is Sanath.

        They didn’t play for the country but for themselves.

        Don’t compare Mr. Wigneshvaran with a worthless case like Murali.

        • 6
          2

          Murali has lost all his credibility as Sana boy and Ranatungas with either supporting the dirty regime of either with Cricket board politics.

          Murali is used by the regime to tarnish the image of Tamils as in the case in point in the time of CHOGM and ever since by asking Murali to organise fake meetings with UK parliamentaries with full board expenses from GOSL and use as pawns to hide the Human rights issues.

          Further Murali’s family members are given land and free license to import drugs and Ethanol and then let rewarding for Murali’s dirty work for the regime.

          One of his brothers company was caught by customs 3 times in importing container loads of Ethanol and drugs and all these times, Rajapaksas got them let go as I was informed by my relative who is a top customs dept official and was told the instructions came from the presidential secretariat.

          This man is a shame for the Trinity College as well.

          • 3
            1

            Matilda – Moneydaran is an Anthonian not a Trinity product.

            Nothing wrong with SACK of course but he is a shame his alma mater and I am relieved that Muttiah, Uncle Sana and that rogue Ranatunga who his killing SLC aren’t from the Great Trinity.

    • 5
      2

      What some academics and writers do to get publicity for them when they are nearly forgotten. Murali is now history and we are all grateful to the lad’s performances in the field. But why does Roberts dig into this at this irrelevant stage when the focus is on global Islamic terrorism. We recall, years ago, Roberts resurrected – well after a quarter of a century – those few incidents Tamil lads broke into the pitch in London in the 1975’s – also for the reason of getting some attention is the immediate conclusion. Roberts can be anti-Tamil and pro-Tamil at different occasions.

      Kettikaran

      • 1
        0

        Kettikaran

        “But why does Roberts dig into this at this irrelevant stage when the focus is on global Islamic terrorism.”

        He is a historian whose business it is to dig into the past.

        There was no Islamic terrorism 30 years ago.

        I didn’t know terrorism had religion until you mentioned it.

        I take it that there are Hindu, Buddhist, Judaist, Christian, ….. Vaishnavaite, Saivaite, Jain, Sikhs, Bahá’í, Taoists, Confucianists …. terrorism.

        • 0
          0

          Native V is usually quick on the uptake. I was clear in the assertion “.. at THIS irrelevant stage when the focus is on global Islamic terrorism…” So there is so much on Islamic
          terrorism for Roberts to write on. After all, until recently,
          for decades he was Down Under – as we learn. His Tamil cover Murali is now washed out and virtual history. From the Tamil perspective – not the better part of their recent history, if you carefully read the comments of many readers. To take the subject a trite further Murali fits in to the strange description of the ingrissi-speaking Spokesman of the BBS demagogue Dilantha Withanage – who has coined the phrase Sinhalese-Tamils.

          Kettikaran

  • 3
    4

    Glad to read the Islamic version of the story. Beheaded!

  • 5
    3

    You have a sick mind like that of the ISIS be headers

  • 6
    0

    Dr Roberts is shedding crocodile tears over Murali’s fate. This is long after the latter was effectively sidelined by not being considered for the captaincy of the SL cricket team, a position that he justly deserved.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 8
    2

    It is not Murali’s arm that is his problem, it is his head. He has become such a brown nosed sycophant of the Rajapakse regime, he was saying that the complaint of poor Jaffna mothers about their disappeared children was nothing but a drama. He was desperately trying to lobby with the visting Prime Minister Cameron that there is nothing lacking for the Tamils in the North. He went on to mention that Sinhalese are more affected by the war than the Tamils. Here is the example of a man who will sell his mother for money.You do not have to behead him , he has already lost his head.

    • 5
      2

      The deliberate chucker in cricket did try to play the dirty game in a big scale after the retirement with the politics of Rajapaksas for millions of Rupees as side kick of the ill gotten money from drugs, Ethanol and land deals etc.

      This man should be exposed in CT of any other independent media, there is a lot of dirt under is smiling face.

  • 5
    2

    In cricket “chucking” is not allowed. Whether you chuck voluntarily or involuntarily (due to a malformed arm) the rule is the same. No amount of biological research into Murali’s elbow configuration can refute the fact that what he does is chucking.Remember his name and fame is not due to his talent but due to an unfair anatomical advantage.

  • 5
    2

    Murali has let down the game of cricket by his base ball type of bowling and his excuse of a deformed elbow. He has also let down his Tamil brethren who are reeling from the devastaion following a 30 year old war. He has proved that he will do anything to win.

  • 6
    3

    Murali had forgotten that 1.5 million of his ancestors from the Hill country were disenfranchised,despite some of their families had come there about 100 years before the disenfranchisement.Most of them were sent back to India to die as homeless destitutes. Now Murali is a government spokesman against Tamils who are losing their land and lives.If not for his crooked arm he will be in the slums with his stateless compatriates.

    • 2
      3

      You can blame the Vellala Tamil politicians as well for that.

  • 2
    0

    This is how Australia operates. Networks deals etc. They are so cheap that you can buy them for a bottle. No chiropractor or class or stand up for anything because they thing it is difficult. A country with such a cult. You must recount even the prime minister of the day John Harward got into the debate because he thought that there were some votes in it. A big country with very small people.

  • 2
    1

    Murali and his team brought out the greatness of Sri Lankan cricket and the smallness of Australian cricket. A great victory for Sri Lankan cricket. in and out of field.

  • 1
    0

    You cannot deny that Murali got his fame from chucking. He is also a conniving rascal trying to promote his brother’s drug business. He bum sucks the politicians by selling his his own ethnic brothren.

  • 0
    0

    No australian newspaper wanted to accept you’re article? haha hardly surprising. You’re using Isis to bring up Murali? talk about trashy writing.

    Some thoughts.

    “fundamentalism” seems negative in your eyes, yet it is simply following the rules of the game. you’re not allowed to chuck. mural was investigated and cleared but only after they changed to rules to accommodate him. if they hadnt changed the rules he wouldnt have played. yet it was solo terrible to call him for chucking?

    “failure of the campaign as a whole”?, 26 cricketers have been banned in the last two weeks, seems to be alive and well.

    chuckers are infidels mate, they chuck.

    banning chuckers didn’t start with murali, 22 bowlers were called for chucker before mural. 6 aus, 8 eng plus sa, wi, in, zim. the only difference is their captains didnt spit the dummy and walk off the field.

    some thoughts on the comments.

    most australians were sympathetic to murali, i watched at the gabba when he was no balled and the umpires were abused and booed. our sympathy ran out with ranatunga who we thought was using runners illegally and engaged in ridiculous time wasting.

    when people shout out no ball at the cricket, people shouldnt talk it that seriously, we make fun of lots of cricketers, even our own. it’s different over here

    finally, when i went to sri lanka for the T20 world cup and i asked who sri lankas number 1 enemy in cricket is i was very surprised to hear “australia”. really? because of a couple of umpires 20 years ago? we barely even think about sri lanka. our number one is england, then south africa, then india, then west indies, then new zealand, then pakistan, then finally sri lanka. you we only care about zimbabwe less.

    sri lanka really should get over the australian/murali/umpires in the 90s thing. it’s only an issue for you guys

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.