Shamik Das

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hersch: sinner or sinned against?

The "Gibbs ball" - Shane Warne takes the crucial wicket in Australia's thrilling semi-final clash with South Africa: the ball pitches miles outside leg stump, turns square (à la Gatting) and sends the off bail flying!

South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs has been banned for two Tests for the use of racist language during the First Test of the series with Pakistan. He was suspended after his comments were picked up by a stump microphone on day four at Centurion and broadcast live on TV.

Gibbs is reported to have referred to a group of rowdy Pakistan supporters as "a bunch of bloody animals" and "f***ing Pakistanis" in response to extreme provocation from sections of the crowd who were seen making monkey noises and shouting derograty chants of "baboon" at his black teammates.

The incident is the latest in a long line of controversy that has engulfed both sides. A year ago, South Africa's players were subjected to racist abuse on their tour of Australia - so severe that Proteas captain Graeme Smith voiced his concern for England's Monty Panesar - fearing the Sikh would be the victim of similar abuse during the Ashes.

Pakistan's supporters, meanwhile, have long had a reputation for causing trouble, especially when their team are underperforming. I remember an incident during the NatWest Series of 2001, when Pakistan had just been trounced by Australia in identical fashion to the their World Cup Final defeat two years previously.

An angry Pakistan fan shakes his fist on the outfield at Lords    Michael Bevan smarts after being struck with a beer can

Michael Bevan, celebrating on the Lords balcony, got hit flush on the face by a full can of beer by an angry Pakistan fan. Leaving aside the irony of a Muslim hurling a can of Victoria Bitter - imported from Down Under - at an Aussie cricketer, it was a disgraceful incident to all who saw it, a damning indictment of the lunatic fringe who follow Pakistan.

While the headlines will be grabbed by Gibbs's outburst, I feel the supporters who goaded him should not get off scot free. Lastly, a plea to all those reading this article: please don't be tempted into using lazy, outdated stereotypes about "'typical' racist South Africans"; after all, name another country with so diverse a line-up - of religion, race and background ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...


IMHO, it's the generalisation that makes something racist. I.e., "bloody animals" was not racist in the circumstances, whereas "f******* Pakistanis" was. That said, it's the kind of casual generalisation that isn't necessarily meant. "F******* Pakistanis fans" (which is probably what he meant), like "bloody animals", might be bigoted but not racist.

Now, aren't you sorry you asked me to comment on your blog? Good to see you on Saturday!


16 January, 2007 15:29

Blogger Sham said...

Frank, great to hear from you! Saturday was good fun!

There are a couple of sites with good coverage of the conference:
The Daily - and
Harry Barnes's blog -

16 January, 2007 16:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links, Shamik! I saw the glowing tribute to your crowd participation. What was the blog name of the other blogger we were with on Sat night?


16 January, 2007 19:12

Blogger Sham said...

I saw the glowing tribute to your crowd participation.

Just seen it myself! It's all harmless fun!!!

Here are the details of the other bloggers from Saturday:

Cllr Brown - &

... and the mystery Scouser -

16 January, 2007 20:41

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's all harmless fun

I'm sure you love it :-)



16 January, 2007 23:37

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent job, man. Bookmark!

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17 January, 2007 16:48

Blogger Sham said...

Are you saying I need to lose weight?

Begone with you, man!

17 January, 2007 23:46


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