There are some Australian cricket fans still furious at England’s time wasting to draw the first Ashes Test at Cardiff, none more so than “Steve”, the mysterious friend of David Penberthy, Editor of The Punch.
In an article published yesterday, Penberthy uses an SMS from “Steve” in the USA to take the long handle to England’s tactics:
The question “Did the Poms cheat?” was perhaps put most succintly by mate Steve, watching the game online in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who inquired via text message in the final few overs this morning: “WHY IS THERE A MEMBER OF AL QAEDA HOLDING A F***ING GLOVE AND A FAT POM IN A TRACKSUIT OUT IN THE MIDDLE?” It’s a fair if offensively-crafted question, and one which is now on every Australian mind, none more so than Ricky Ponting.
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I know what you are thinking, how dare Penberthy’s friend Steve call Steve McCraig (England’s Physio) a fat Pom, he is an Australian after all. But if you look beyond the fat Pom quote, you may see the reference to Al Qaeda, which was aimed at Bilal Shafayat from Nottinghamshire who was 13th man for this game. Bilal is a Muslim. Which apparently means he is in the perfect candidate to be labelled a terrorist for comedy’s sake.
The English media hasn’t caught onto this yet, but there is a fair chance that when they do, they won’t take it as the “fair if offensively-crafted question” Penberthy describes it as. They might jump to the rather extreme conclusion that calling a Muslim cricketer a member of Al Qaeda is more than offensive — that it is racist — even if he was wasting time on the cricket field. However, it was nice of Penberthy to censor the word “f-cking”, as that would have really offended people.
It was only three years ago that Dean Jones was commentating in Sri Lanka and accidentally let slip the famous “the terrorist has got another wicket” as Hashim Amla of South Africa took a catch. Amla is also a Muslim.
There are rumours that various cricket boards may have been informed of this, and if so, how long before lawyers get involved? Steve’s mate Dave could find a nasty letter arriving shortly. And to think all this could have been avoided if Australia had just taken one wicket in the 69 balls they had.
Bloody Al Qaeda.