‘Straightforward on the field, but it’s never just about the cricket’
Posted on March 15th, 2011

 Vajeera Warnakulasuriya, Melbourne

The Editor,
The Age


I posit my response to the following article of the 12th March 2011,

“ƒ”¹…”Straightforward on the field, but it’s never just about the cricket’ by Peter Roebuck


Peter Roebuck is a Cricket commentator and a writer, his expertise is only in this field. . He is not a political analyst of any sort.

Ever since 1983 unfortunate communal disturbance in Sri Lanka, the game of cricket has been targeted to capture the World attention to denigrate Sri Lanka by the supporters of the LTTE. When 2007 World Cup was held in Barbados, Sri Lankan Board of Cricket informed ICC of a planned demonstration by Amnesty International. Safety of the cricketers was also an issue at the time.

It is the cunning nature of the supporters of the LTTE to get around a NGO organization or a person who could be most effective at the time to deliver their anti Sri Lankan message to the International community. Last time one method was through Amnesty International. Whenever a match was played in Australia they hire ultra light planes to display anti Sri Lankan banners. Now that the decades of brutal conflict was over, they hired Peter Roe(Buck) to do the dirty work for them, obviously for handsome BUCKS for the trouble! He is not immune to say no to hire his pen if the price is right!

As for his ill informed wild accusations, competent writers have responded in point form with facts and has requested to look into his own backyard before pointing fingers else where. He should be ashamed being ignorant of his countries barbaric deeds of the past while plundering the riches of this beautiful Island.

The intention of this is for your esteemed journal to publish an apology for allowing reporting beyond the realm of cricket by Peter Roebuck. Refrain from sullying the “Spirit of the game” in field and beyond!

One must know how to Play up, Play up and Play the game!

Yours Sincerely,

Vajeera Warnakulasuriya, Melbourne

One Response to “‘Straightforward on the field, but it’s never just about the cricket’”

  1. cassandra Says:

    The writer has made a clever – and attractive – play on the word ‘buck’. But I think he is not exactly prudent, even if bold, to say “they hired Peter Roe(Buck) to do the dirty work for them, obviously for handsome BUCKS for the trouble! He is not immune to say no to hire his pen if the price is right!”

    I have read Peter Roebuck’s piece in The Age newspaper referred to in this article and must say it did not bother me, as it obviously has, the writer What PR has done is merely mention something that has been very much a part of the Sri Lankan rumour mill for some time now. PR is known to comment on peripheral matters while commenting on the cricket and often that makes his articles more interesting to read. Having said that, one could still reasonably ask if comments on matters political are really germane to a report on a game.

    PR is like any other foreign journalist who depends on local sources for local information and the information the latter provide is not always right. One thing I had noted, over time, from listening to PR’s ‘expert comments’ on radio was his apparent conviction – based, presumably on what he had been told – that Muralitharan had to face extra difficulties in playing for Sri Lanka because he was a Tamil.

    This conviction of PR was evident even in an interview he had with Murali when he was last in Australia. There is no doubt in my mind that PR will have been surprised with some of Murali’s responses which ran counter to what PR had previously been led to believe. I quote below the relevant part of that interview.

    PR: Growing up as a Tamil in Sri Lanka wasn’t easy in your early days?

    MM: There were riots but after 1983, it became normal. Remember I was staying at hostel in school for seven years and living with many Sinhalese and Tamils in the same dormitories so it was not that difficult.

    PR: But in the early days a lot of harm was done to the Tamils. Do you have any memories of that?

    MM: Our factory and our house were burnt down in 1977 and that was painful for a time. We were saved by Sinhalese. They came and stopped the crazy people before they killed us. We never forgot that. We rebuilt them and moved on. That was our family way. We are businessmen, not politicians. My father kept things as simple as possible.

    PR: Do you think that these troubles and growing up in a mixed community helped to give you strength of character? The Tamils had a hard time.

    MM: The Sinhalese as well. They had hard times when the Communist party came, they were targeted and a lot of people were killed.

    PR: You’ve never spoken up on political issues. You’ve been a unifying figure. Is that how you see yourself?

    MM: Our lives in Kandy were mostly fine. I could not talk about problems I had not seen.

    As will be noted, Murali’s responses were uncomplicated and candid, and PR will probably have been very surprised to find Murali saying “We were saved by Sinhalese” and again that it was not only Tamils who had a hard time but “The Sinhalese as well”. And how refreshing it is to find him saying “I could not talk about problems I had not seen”?

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