Eggs are what you will get in Australia these days if you happen to be a Sri Lankan. You wouldn’t be spared even if you are a member of the cricket squad; and if you are the skipper, you would need to talk about it as well.
Mahela Jayawardene had to do exactly that on Monday. Out to talk cricket a day before they kick-start their campaign in the tri-series, he was invariably asked to narrate the incident in Hobart where some members of the team, including Muralitharan, were abused and had eggs thrown at them. Surprisingly, Jayawardene sounded pretty cool about it. “Wish they could get Murali…it would have been fun,” he began with a smile, clarifying, as HT had reported earlier, that it was actually selector Don Anurasiri who was actually hit by an egg, not Muralitharan.
“It’s just a random thing and they all had a good laugh at it. We just needed to make a report at the police station to ensure it does not escalate and nothing serious happens… eggs are fine,” chuckled the skipper. “It’s not a big deal. We came here to play cricket and are looking forward to that. We just have to move on and not get too worried about such things,” he said, indicating the issue was dead and buried for them.
Dampening the spirits of a curious reporter, Jayawardene said the incident wouldn’t make his team overzealous to prove a point. “There’s nothing to get in terms of motivation from that incident. All it caused was a good laugh amongst ourselves and all guys were saying ‘wish it were Murali who got the egg, not the selector’,” he said.
And then he delivered even a bigger surprise. “Even Murali was laughing. He too would have hurled something back had he found something around. He told us that he would have chased the guys had they not sped off….so that’s Murali for you. He has gone through tougher things than eggs… it’s no big deal.”
Discovery of Australia
On a more serious note, he said they had realised how tough it is to be in Australia. “It’s a place where you are up against not just the aggression of the players, but that of the crowd as well. Everyone wants to win here. When teams come here, they have to come prepared for this,” he said. Alluding to the hostile reception that Harbhajan is getting from the crowd here following his altercation with Symonds, the Lankan skipper said he had advised his teammates to ignore everything and concentrate on cricket. “That’s the advice I got as a youngster, and that’s what I am giving to others,” he said.