Monday, February 4, 2008

Rotten egg prank could have turned bad

According to Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan would have pursued the egg throwers if not for a traffic signal...

A Tasmanian car containing a batch of egg throwers was fortunate to escape after pelting a small group of Sri Lankans in Hobart last week. Muttiah Muralitharan would have been in hot pursuit of the drive-by yolkers if he and his fellow tourists were not so shocked by the flying object, which hit a selector in the back, but they laughed it off as a random act.

While the Sri Lankans reported the incident on Friday, Mahela Jayawardene, their captain, said a green light saved the car's passengers, who were "probably drunk", from being chased by the men in the group.

"If Murali had a stone or something near him he would've thrown it back," Jayawardene said in Brisbane. "By the time they had realised what had happened the car had raced down the road. It was lucky for the guys in the car that the traffic light was green, otherwise Murali said he would have chased them."

Jayawardene joked it would have been funny if the egg had hit Murali instead of a selector. "It was a just a random thing and not a big deal," he said. "We all had a good laugh about it. We didn't want the matter to escalate so we lodged the complaint and left it at that. Murali was part of the group and the only recognisable person, but we all are fine with the matter."

Muralitharan has received a lot of poor treatment in Australia and even though it was unlikely the occupants of the car recognised him, the fact that a group of Sri Lankan tourists was singled out is a poor reflection on the host country.

Another spinner, India's Harbhajan Singh, has also been targeted following his part in the race controversy involving Andrew Symonds at the SCG, and Symonds' home crowd chanted "Harbhajan's a w***er" during the opening ODI of the CB Series.

Jayawardene said it was important to "block everything" out during tours of Australia. "When you come here it's not just the players who are aggressive, it's also the crowd who are as aggressive as their team," he said. "Everyone wants to win here in any sport, so teams need to prepare for that.

"We should block everything else apart from what needs to be done in the middle. The Indians showed that with the way they bounced back in the Test series recently after what all happened in Sydney."