On South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka three years ago, Waqar Younis was found guilty of ball tampering during a one-day triangular match against SA. Match referee John Reid banned him for a match.
In a radio interview the following day, Jonty Rhodes was asked what he thought of Waqar’s conduct. “It’s against the laws of the game,” answered a straightforward Rhodes, “and I think he’s been a bit of a poepol.”
The only area of concern for the South African journalists on tour was nailing down the definitive spelling of poepol, but the Sri Lankans and Pakistanis, the problem was only just beginning.
Some reached the conclusion Rhodes had called Waqar a “bottom”, which raised a smile. “Bum” produced a frown or two but also plenty of smiles. Another translation produced was “arsehole” but Rhodes’ quip really got him into trouble when one unfortunate young reporter concluded that Jonty had, in fact, called Waqar a “shit pipe.” Ali Bacher even sent an order to Colombo for Rhodes to issue an apology.
The point about all those terms, even the last one, is that international sportsmen throughout the world wouldn’t bat an eyelid if they were flying around in the heat of battle. An Australian might actually fall over laughing at the softness of the terminology.
So why did Shoaib Malik protest at the (alleged) language used against him by Boucher? And why did the two men subsequently have to appear before match referee Clive Lloyd after Tuesday’s one-dayer against Pakistan?
Brace yourself, this may hurt. Sensitive readers should not proceed beyond this point… Malik alleged that Boucher had called him an…”arsehole.” Ahhh, no!
Lloyd dismissed the charge for lack of evidence, officially. And with complete and utter contempt, unofficially.
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