Anorak News | Crime & No Punishment

Crime & No Punishment

by | 12th, December 2003

‘FORMER England cricket captain Nasser Hussain yesterday escaped a Test match ban after allegedly calling Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan “a fucking cheat” and “a fucking chucker”.

The new Mike Gatting

Match referee Clive Lloyd gave Hussain the reprieve because he said he could not prove that he made the remarks, although they appear to have been heard by Murali’s teammates.

However, what the papers can’t decide is what Hussain’s greater crime was – if indeed he did make the remarks.

The Sun says he escaped a ban for use of the F-word, while the other papers tend to think that calling a fellow player a “cheat” in an unprovoked attack is offence enough.

There is no doubt that the incident will cause further acrimony between two sides who are not known to be the greatest friends, although ironically Murali and England’s Andrew Flintoff are genuinely good mates.

However, at least the matter is sorted out in the space of 24 hours. If this had been football, it would still be dragging on next summer.

So long has passed since Rio Ferdinand famously missed his drugs test that unless something happens soon, the player will have finished his career before any ban comes into effect.

But Rio is taking no chances and has, says the Sun, hired top barrister Ronald Thwaites to argue his case at the hearing, which is supposed to take place next week.

As well as Ferdinand employing a top barrister, Manchester United have the country’s biggest paper on their side.

For instance, the Sun this morning suggests that the England centre-half could be hit with a three-month ban if found guilty – as if that were the worst punishment he could expect.

If he is found guilty of deliberately missing the test, one would certainly expect the ban to be a lot longer than three months.

After all, Eric Cantona was banned for nine months for his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan – an offence that is in sporting terms much less serious than ducking a drugs test.

If all this is adding to the stress on Sir Alex Ferguson’s heart, then so will news in the Mirror that many Manchester United shareholders want to vote down his three-year contract extension.

The paper says they think the Scot should only be offered a one-year rolling contract when his present deal runs out in 18 months’ time.

Who knows? He might still be at Old Trafford when Rio Ferdinand’s case is finally decided.’

Posted: 12th, December 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink