Saad Shafqat February 2, 2010

Australia needs to introspect

In fact, what happened with Pakistani fielder Khalid Latif in Perth is a timely reminder that it is Australia where such incidents of uncivil behavior are being seen more and more
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You have to ask, what is happening in Australian society to produce such agitation? © Getty Images

Imagine for a moment if the shoe were on the other foot. Pakistan has become so demonised, the spectacle is not hard to picture. During an ODI in Lahore or Karachi, an Australian fielder is standing at square leg. All of a sudden, a Pakistani spectator jumps the fence and sprints on to the field, tackling the Australian from behind and pinning him to the ground. What happens next?

Yes, security will run after the invader and subdue him, as happened in Perth. But after that? Do you imagine the Australian player picking himself up without fuss and walking up to his captain to describe the event with a wink and a smile? Do you imagine the Australian team shrugging the whole thing off and getting on with the rest of the game?

Probably not.

Far more likely, if a spectator jumped the fence like that in Pakistan – and despite the barbed wire they can still do it, trust me – Ricky Ponting would call his team into an exaggerated huddle, announce to the umpires that his team has had enough, and walk off the ground in a huff. The tour would be abandoned forthwith and the international media would start blaring nonstop what a rotten place Pakistan really is.

In fact, what happened with Pakistani fielder Khalid Latif in Perth is a timely reminder that it is Australia where such incidents of uncivil behavior are being seen more and more. Even a casual Internet search reveals several reports of crowd trouble in Australian sports. Australian football, it turns out, is no stranger to crowd disturbances, but over the last few years, a number of visiting cricket teams have also suffered and been forced to lodge complaints. This year even the Australian Open tennis tournament was marred by the need to eject unruly fans.

Still, I could not find any mention of a spectator assaulting a fielder in the middle of a cricket international. In over three decades of watching cricket obsessively, I certainly have never seen anything like it.

You have to ask, what is happening in Australian society to produce such agitation? The country has a troubling history. Its early settlers maltreated indigenous races, and even today there are reports of immigrants of South Asian descent being killed for no apparent reason other than prejudice. A widely cited survey conducted in Queensland and New South Wales during 2001 found that 40% of Australians felt certain ethnic groups did not belong in their country, and 10% had views that were considered overtly racist. Of note, the choicest venom was reserved for Muslims.

There is something arrogant and unwelcoming in all this – to put it mildly – and it is hard to deny that this attitude is now creeping into cricket. One would have expected more responsible behavior from an advanced industrial nation like Australia. In the event, the ones behaving responsibly in this matter were the Pakistanis. They showed great tolerance and good humor in picking themselves up and carrying on after the assault in Perth. But this should not and does not diminish the shocking scale of the incident.

Of course, it would be unfair to paint all of Australia with one brush, and it must be acknowledged that modern Australian society has opened its doors to many refugees and immigrants, the majority of whom enjoy a life of peace, fulfillment and dignity. At the same time, there is no denying that something is amiss. Incidents like the one in Perth are unwanted symptoms of a pervasive malady. There are forces in Australian society – government, social agencies, academia – that are hard at work to diagnose the root cause and fix the mess. The rest of the world is with them.

In the meantime, one must give full marks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for raising the issue in a formal complaint to the ICC. Unlike the national team, which had a spineless performance in Australia, the PCB is now standing up to this Australian boorishness. “Pakistan gets blamed for security breaches, but look at what happened in Perth,” a PCB official was quoted today as saying. This trenchant and hard-nosed attitude from Pakistan’s cricket authorities, who are forever playing off the backfoot, is long overdue.

For its part, Cricket Australia has tendered to the PCB an unconditional apology. Pakistanis are a forgiving bunch and the apology is accepted, but CA must make sure stuff like this isn’t allowed to happen again. If this becomes a pattern, we could soon be asking whether Australia is a safe venue for Asian teams.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Neil on February 13, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Can 'introspect' be used as a verb? This op-ed column shows what it truly is (bollocks) by virtue of bad journalism, broad generalisations, lack of backup data/evidence, and plain old poor English. The conclusion that one spectator characterises a nation's sports and cultural ethos is laughable, and I'm surprised that Cricinfo allows this kind of garbage to propagate.

    As an Australian, I deplore the action of one bozo, and applaud the response of the Pakistani team (as do most Aussies, I think). But to demonise it as terrorism or the like is taking it way too far. The article is garbage.

  • Matt on February 10, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    What sensationalist tripe. Waist high fences around the playing fields, crowds who drink mass alcohol and an attendance this summer of at the least 200,000 people 1 drunken man manages to tackle a player and it's "a timely reminder that it is Australia where such incidents of uncivil behavior are being seen more and more" unbelievable. You've noticed the fences around subcontinent fields right? and the machine guns carried by the security guards too? and it's Australian society that needs to get things in order ha. I'm sure those internet searches you did directed you to at least 2 inaccurate reports about racist attacks, one being an Indian who set himself alight while trying to destroy his car for the insurance. The other a story of an Indian shot dead for which another 2 indians are being charged with murder. As they happened they're reported as racist but when the real story comes out no-one on the subcontinent cares. Try talking to people who have been here and see what they think

  • plsn on February 4, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    John scott, can u say the same thing about India, buddy?

  • Bert on February 3, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    I am a south african living in Durban. A few years ago, a drunken spectator [south african] tackled the referee during a rugby test South Africa v New Zealand. Not only did he get a few clouts accross the earhole from a few of the players for his troubles, he was also banned from all south african rugby union matches for life! This should be the punishment handed out to this aussie idiot! I have watched cricket all around the world, including at the MSG, the SCH and at Brisbane, and i was appaled by the behaviour of the local spectators. Young boys of 11 & 12 using foul language to insult opposition players and spitting etc. Yes, I think that aussie supporters have a lot to apologise for.

  • Al from Perth on February 3, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    There are problems in Australian crowds and society. We are becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol to have a "good time". Make no mistake that this could have been a much more serious incident and to suggest it is just as a result of one "moron" is not true. I no longer go to 50 Over games because 7 hours of drinking in the hot WA sun leads to all sorts of problems that are often overlooked. How could the WACA admin let the fine for on ground invasion slip way behind the fines that apply in the eastern states? Racism - unlikely; A deep rooted problem in Australian society - Yes. (There were even strong protests in Perth when crowds were not allowed to drink for a 30 minute skyshow to celebrate Australia Day by the Swan River, in Perth!)

  • Be Afraidi on February 3, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Tin pot journalism.

  • Cameron on February 3, 2010, 12:38 GMT

    Biased article as usual. The attack on the Pakistani player was a disgrace and everyone in Australia knows it, but to say it's a racist attack is a total joke, it was a pathetic action performed by a drunk fool who performed a clumsy football tackle (which i admit could've been serious if he had a knife or something). Security needs to be more alert and penalties MUCH higher. But it wasn't a racist attack, the person would've done the same thing to a white englishman or south african.

    Also, the tennis incidents were performed by Croatian nationals, not Australians and to compare a pitch invader to the people shooting at sri lankans in your own country is a total joke.

    People love clutching at straws to criticize Australia, especially playing the race card, but they lack substance most of the time with their arguments.

    I applaud the way Pakistanis handled the incident though, full marks to them.

  • Ashok Sridharan on February 3, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    Terrific article Mr. Shafqat. It's quite likely that the attack on the Pakistani player was just the act of a drunken idiot and was not racially motivated. Nevertheless, the fact is that such drunken madmen can indeed wreak havoc. Whatever the motivation behind the incident, CA authorities need to clamp down on rowdy elements to ensure there's no incident like the Monica Seles episode. Imagine someone like Clarke/ Dhoni/ Pietersen having his career finished off by a drunken idiot.

  • Andrew on February 3, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Please do your research, Australian Football is one of the safest spectator sports in the world where opposing fans, including families sit together with little or no trouble. Comparing a drunk idiot to some of the problems in Pakistan is silly

  • Roamer on February 3, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    I agree mostly with the article and with some of the comments, that Pakistan itself donot strong very highly on these grounds but atleast we all have to admit this was a very serious thing and shouldnot be ignored and brushed under the carpet. Remember what happened to Monica Seles (that attack almost finished her career) so anything could have happened here too but we should appreciate the way Pakistan team management has behaved .... I think this is the first time I am appreciating their actions.

  • Neil on February 13, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Can 'introspect' be used as a verb? This op-ed column shows what it truly is (bollocks) by virtue of bad journalism, broad generalisations, lack of backup data/evidence, and plain old poor English. The conclusion that one spectator characterises a nation's sports and cultural ethos is laughable, and I'm surprised that Cricinfo allows this kind of garbage to propagate.

    As an Australian, I deplore the action of one bozo, and applaud the response of the Pakistani team (as do most Aussies, I think). But to demonise it as terrorism or the like is taking it way too far. The article is garbage.

  • Matt on February 10, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    What sensationalist tripe. Waist high fences around the playing fields, crowds who drink mass alcohol and an attendance this summer of at the least 200,000 people 1 drunken man manages to tackle a player and it's "a timely reminder that it is Australia where such incidents of uncivil behavior are being seen more and more" unbelievable. You've noticed the fences around subcontinent fields right? and the machine guns carried by the security guards too? and it's Australian society that needs to get things in order ha. I'm sure those internet searches you did directed you to at least 2 inaccurate reports about racist attacks, one being an Indian who set himself alight while trying to destroy his car for the insurance. The other a story of an Indian shot dead for which another 2 indians are being charged with murder. As they happened they're reported as racist but when the real story comes out no-one on the subcontinent cares. Try talking to people who have been here and see what they think

  • plsn on February 4, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    John scott, can u say the same thing about India, buddy?

  • Bert on February 3, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    I am a south african living in Durban. A few years ago, a drunken spectator [south african] tackled the referee during a rugby test South Africa v New Zealand. Not only did he get a few clouts accross the earhole from a few of the players for his troubles, he was also banned from all south african rugby union matches for life! This should be the punishment handed out to this aussie idiot! I have watched cricket all around the world, including at the MSG, the SCH and at Brisbane, and i was appaled by the behaviour of the local spectators. Young boys of 11 & 12 using foul language to insult opposition players and spitting etc. Yes, I think that aussie supporters have a lot to apologise for.

  • Al from Perth on February 3, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    There are problems in Australian crowds and society. We are becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol to have a "good time". Make no mistake that this could have been a much more serious incident and to suggest it is just as a result of one "moron" is not true. I no longer go to 50 Over games because 7 hours of drinking in the hot WA sun leads to all sorts of problems that are often overlooked. How could the WACA admin let the fine for on ground invasion slip way behind the fines that apply in the eastern states? Racism - unlikely; A deep rooted problem in Australian society - Yes. (There were even strong protests in Perth when crowds were not allowed to drink for a 30 minute skyshow to celebrate Australia Day by the Swan River, in Perth!)

  • Be Afraidi on February 3, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Tin pot journalism.

  • Cameron on February 3, 2010, 12:38 GMT

    Biased article as usual. The attack on the Pakistani player was a disgrace and everyone in Australia knows it, but to say it's a racist attack is a total joke, it was a pathetic action performed by a drunk fool who performed a clumsy football tackle (which i admit could've been serious if he had a knife or something). Security needs to be more alert and penalties MUCH higher. But it wasn't a racist attack, the person would've done the same thing to a white englishman or south african.

    Also, the tennis incidents were performed by Croatian nationals, not Australians and to compare a pitch invader to the people shooting at sri lankans in your own country is a total joke.

    People love clutching at straws to criticize Australia, especially playing the race card, but they lack substance most of the time with their arguments.

    I applaud the way Pakistanis handled the incident though, full marks to them.

  • Ashok Sridharan on February 3, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    Terrific article Mr. Shafqat. It's quite likely that the attack on the Pakistani player was just the act of a drunken idiot and was not racially motivated. Nevertheless, the fact is that such drunken madmen can indeed wreak havoc. Whatever the motivation behind the incident, CA authorities need to clamp down on rowdy elements to ensure there's no incident like the Monica Seles episode. Imagine someone like Clarke/ Dhoni/ Pietersen having his career finished off by a drunken idiot.

  • Andrew on February 3, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Please do your research, Australian Football is one of the safest spectator sports in the world where opposing fans, including families sit together with little or no trouble. Comparing a drunk idiot to some of the problems in Pakistan is silly

  • Roamer on February 3, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    I agree mostly with the article and with some of the comments, that Pakistan itself donot strong very highly on these grounds but atleast we all have to admit this was a very serious thing and shouldnot be ignored and brushed under the carpet. Remember what happened to Monica Seles (that attack almost finished her career) so anything could have happened here too but we should appreciate the way Pakistan team management has behaved .... I think this is the first time I am appreciating their actions.

  • Gustov on February 3, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    "Do you imagine the Australian team shrugging the whole thing off and getting on with the rest of the game?" haha type ANDREW SYMONDS into YOUTUBE and see what an Aussie player would do. I'm certainly not excusing this one individuals action however lets not be to histerical.

    @laros and @aegrem comment sums up the true situation

    @Nafees Sharif all those stated are genuine captains. Is afridi a genuine captain? especially considering his other actions during the ODI. The pakistan board need to get some stability instead of constantly changing their squad based on one games performance.

  • SSChicago on February 3, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Great perspective. I was dying for someone to write this. Aussies make a huge fuss about everything. And it is astonishing to see how the administrators have different rules for different countries - White men can't fault. Why can't they just put a freakin' fence around and talk of saving lives instead of aesthetics. They are all about superficial, cocky talks. Ricky was quick to comment how he would have reacted, but in essence, he would have reacted ten folds if it were to happen in Peshawar and not Perth. Pak would have been put on unconditional non playing territory rendered unsafe. Why would you drink the freakin beer while watching sports. Get some punch for godsake!

  • Paul on February 3, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    The problem is the combination of alcohol and ego.

  • Alex (UK) on February 3, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    John Scott .. thank you for your input ! Your comment about banning Pakistan from playing in Australia, clearly highlights the dumb Australian mentalality and it backs up the artical superbaly, especially being the first reponse. Classic !!

  • Z A on February 3, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    Perhaps Afridi can be forgiven for wanting to know odor of the cherry... for staying on the pitch huh?

  • redneck on February 3, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    well said Aegrem, could not agree more! you may be interested to know mr Shafqat that the attack on indian fruit picker in nsw was actually done by an indian couple! and the one that got burnt actually did it to himself!!! funny how indian news didnt think that was worth reporting back to the indian public after they trashed us aussies reporting the murders in the first place!

  • Jim on February 3, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    If you think the Australian player wouldnt do the exact thing as the pakistani in this situation then you have no idea about Australians no should you comment on them. Complete dribble from someone who has no clue about Australian society other than watching them play cricket.

  • Django on February 3, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    At least we dont shoot at touring teams. Seriously it was a horrible display and I was very ashamed of it. Introspection is needed but the horse your on is not very high.

  • Seano on February 3, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    Probably a bit over the top this article but i agree in parts, Australia is soft and i am a white Australian. I actually think Pakistan's home matches should be played in pakistan and if we dont go then its a forfit and they win, that would make most teams actaullt tour. Lets face it there not too scared of the IPL now are they????

  • Arun Joseph on February 3, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    One of the more ordinary articles I have read recently. If these kinds of incidents are the ones to lead a country to introspect, I wonder what those of us from the sub-continent needs to do. Remember the Eden Gardens World Cup game? Or the more recent attack on Sri Lankan team in Pakistan? Come off it! There are idiots everywhere, and no matter what is done, these idiots will find a way to be idiotic. Your article does nothing to put matters into prespective, but only to draw more anger from those true cricket fans who came to watch a game of cricket.

  • Vinod on February 3, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Great article, well written. Having gone through it, I came across the very first comment, by one Mr. John Scott who seems to be from the barbarian era. But I would like to appoint him as my 'court clown jester'.

  • Swami on February 3, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Saad, you would do well to analyse the response of PCB when a spectator invaded the field in Karachi and attacked Srikkanth and tore his shirt in the 1989 series. Compare the PCB response to that of Cricket Australia for a fair and well balanced analysis.

  • tym on February 3, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    A terrible incident, for sure, but to link it to attacks on indians is stretching things too far (just as roebuck did). One drunken bum is not indicative of all australians. every country has ethnic problems and, right or wrong, australia is being hammered for that now but the waca incident has nothing to do with it. remember terry alderman at the same ground? btw.banning alcohol at cricket is not the solution. crowds would plummet. better security might be an idea

  • Hardy on February 3, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    Wow...keep to the cricket issues. The Pakistan team handled it admirably, shame you didn't. You have used one person's actions to take a pot shot at the whole country's society. It's a shame Cricinfo allows you a podium for your agenda but reading Roebuck's article, I'm hardly surprised.

  • Macca1970 on February 3, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    As an Aussie, the guy who tackled Latiff is an idiot. Full credit must go to Pakistan (Latiff) for carrying on. Alcohol is to blame. However CA are in a bind as VB are a major sponsor.

  • Steve Thomas on February 3, 2010, 2:36 GMT

    "If Pakistan, and other Asian teams, for that matter decide that Australia is no longer safe for them, then so be it. No great loss - other teams will pick up the slack."

    No great loss?? I do not really want to argue on the basis of talent, but if india, srilanka, bangladesh and pakistan dont tour australia, there in not much money in the sport.

  • David on February 3, 2010, 1:59 GMT

    Ban Pitch Invading, Ban Alcohol, next Ban Fans ... I stay home to watch the cricket now, I will never pay for a cricket match ever again - Security is out of Control!

  • William on February 3, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    This article is misleading. The security concerns regarding Pakistan and the continual political and social unrest resulting in almost daily violence and destruction are a world away from a few idiots at a sports ground who have had one too many beers. It is true that the Pakistani player and team reacted to the issue very well and Latif should be applauded for his mature response. It is not true that Australia is a racist dangerous place.

  • Kumar on February 3, 2010, 1:11 GMT

    The shooting of Sri Lankan cricketers in Pakistan and PCBs denial of any responsibility is a far more serious issue. At least CA has admitted the issue, issued an unconditional apology and are ready to take action. Compare this to the PCB chairman's insensitive vitriol against some of the folks affected by the shooting in Pakistan. And have those involved in that crime been booked yet? Pakistanis need to fix their house first before complaining against others.

  • Brian on February 3, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    It is a mistake to draw racist conclusions from this incident. The man who tackled Khalid Latif is a drunken fool. Australia has its fare share of them, but probably no more than any other country.

  • jdr on February 3, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    That field invader wasn't "agitated". He was a drunken buffoon. He had no intention to harm Khaled Latif, he just wanted to be a "hero" among his drunken mates by doing something "crazy".

    Ban him forever, find him guilty of assault, and raise the fine for field invasion at every ground to $50,000...and impose the fine!

    One or two idiots shouldn't have everybody pointing fingers and shouting RACISIM!

    It's a few clowns drinking too much ALCOHOL!

    Please! Let's grow up!

  • Mick on February 3, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    There seems to be an awful lot of knee-jerk reporting caused by this one alchohol fueled moron. While I am not going to deny that we have racist people here, I am fairly sure that that is true of every single nation in the world (just look up the comments in essentially any youtube video infolving an indian/pakistani player if you want proof that you guys can be racist too).

    As for your comment that crowd troubles are happening "more and more" I find that hard to believe. The crowd troubles are the same as they have always been, and probably always will be. It doesn't matter how many rules, regulations or barbed wire fences you put in, the world is still full of idiots, and race has nothing to do with being an idiot.

  • Raj on February 3, 2010, 0:06 GMT

    I do agree with you 100%.english media are not saying anything.why becuase it happned in australia.if it happned in asian ground then english media made a big issue..Is this fair?? but as a cricket fan i am glad that pakistani captin shahid afridi did a good job to continue the game..that is sportsman ship. I hope other team captins do same in the future..

  • Zak on February 2, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Afridi didnt lead the team off because he had just been caught ball-tampering and this affected his judgment of the spectator incident.

  • EelcOZ on February 2, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    Absolutely rubbish. I do agree it is a huge stain on Oz but to use this is as an excuse to link other recent events in OZ, c'mon on. This wasn't raciallly motivated ( neither were other events but that is a different discussion ). The guy who did it was , a certain David Fraser let his name be for ever in shame, is 37 yrs old; hardly what I call a youth. The only thing slack is the low fine of $500 that can be currently imposed in WA. He shouldn't have even been granted bail. If you want to make a statement this is not done, take them off the field as Ponting said. I would applaud the Pakistani team for doing that. Unfortunately Pakistan has a history of leaving the field , hence they didn't use that option. Cricket in OZ is for the enjoyment of many and we should keep it that way. A huge fine should be enough and let the pitch invader suffer, not the families that want a nice day out.

  • Lou on February 2, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    This is an odd article. Punter came out almost straight away and said he would have led the team off the pitch if the boot was on the other foot, so why is it 'suggested' that he would? It just makes the blog sound very poorly researched.

    There has been other incidents. Terry Alderman springs to mind. No racist motivation there.

    Booze is a definite problem at sports events in Aus, but that bloke looked like he was possibly on some other popular substance with that gormless grin on his face.

  • David on February 2, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    The problem with this article is that it implies that the attack was somehow race related. What a load of nonsense. This attack and appalling conduct of the spectator was not race related is was simply an idiot, probably drunk, running onto the field to make a dill of himself. Australians don't condone this behaviour nor does anybody else. As someone else points out Terry Alderman was attacked by spectator also at the WACA. I doubt that was race related.

  • Ali Abbas on February 2, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    Interesting to see a trend here. All Farhans, Jamals and Zahirs (Presumably Pakistanis)praising the article and calling it "gem" funny indeed, wake up people we cant hide our own shortcomings behind one drunk idiot's stupidity. All Peters and Roberts (obviously Australians) positively appreciating the reaction of Pakistani Team and making a point that it is beyond stupidity to compare/link this incident with situation in Pakistan, wonder why the arrogance though, Pakistanis are champions of WorldCup in which Aus couldnt even make it to the semis. And finally my brother Shyam standing out with an entirely irrelevant perspective yet had to be included because he cant help it.

  • Jarrod on February 2, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Ponting would have taken the team off if this happened to Australia in Pakistan. Why? Oh, the simple matter that the Sri Lankan team were attacked by armed militia not that long ago.

    Comparing the safety of the two countries so frivolously is inept.

  • C on February 2, 2010, 21:22 GMT

    What happened in Perth is a disgrace and all Australians should feel ashamed.

    To draw any connection between this incident and the mistreatment of Asian students is way off the mark. The students have, in the main, been attacked by other Asians. There is no white Australian conspiracy against Indian and Pakistani people.

    We are very sorry for the disgraceful attack on Khalid Latif and we will deal with the offender.

  • Steve on February 2, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    Sheesh, its one brain dead Moron out of around nearly 600,000 people who have watched a Aussie cricket match this season. Reality check people!!! Other than having an IQ test at the gates the odd moron will always be a problem - security should just watch the crowd and not the game - problem solved

  • Lallu lal on February 2, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    And yes, full credit to Latif and Pakistani team to have continued in their stride. Yes they could have abandoned the match but they did not. Kudos! It definitely shows the willingness of the team to continue against all odds. I hope they had won the match too, to make a perfect Statement.

  • Lallu lal on February 2, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    yes this incident happened in Australia but does that make Pakistan any safer place by comparison. Please don't forget that Sri Lankan team was shot at, with some players suffering gunshot wounds. How can you compare that with this tackle? I am not condoning the behavior of the spectator here but making the case that whatever happened Australia is still more safer than Pakistan. That idiot would be charged and fined and whatever. Were the perps who attacked SL team ever caught? Please don't confuse the issue. Player safety is a real risk in Pakistan and not so much elsewhere.

  • I Redpath on February 2, 2010, 21:10 GMT

    I dont agree with this article. There is always a background to a story. If a pakistani cricketer would have been tackled in India, then it would have been a big issue. Or for that matter an Indian cricketer in Australia would have been a big issue. There is a lot more logistics to the whole reaction from the Pakistan team. The bigger issue is the Shahid Afridi chewing on the ball. Pakistan media is trying to divert the attention to something else. Afridi, once cheat ... forever a cheat...

  • Glenn on February 2, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    Also wanted to say - Great article. Pakistan is my favourite cricket team and I loved seeing them be so humane in handling the stupid behaviour of one idiot spectator.

  • Shortleg on February 2, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    This was not a "racially motivated attack", so I'm not sure why there's the comparisons to the apparent racism in Australia. Besides; are other countries better? Australia has a massive and expansive immigrant population, large enough to bring racial issues into the spotlight a lot more often. So, what really happened in this incident? If you view the footage, you'll see a (probably) drunk, middle-aged man run onto the field, and a pudgy security guard waddling after him. There's no point putting a refrigerator-sized guard on the fence to protect a largely open area. Put him in front of a doorway and hire someone who can run.

  • Andrew - Sydney on February 2, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    This article is garbage in its assertion that this attack was racially motivated. The sad reality is that at all grounds, some drunk idiot thinks it is OK to jump the fence and run onto the ground. The fact he tackled a player was a disgrace and he should be put in jail for a few months so to deter anyone from doing the same ever again. However, he was a drunk fool, not a racist. If it was racially motivated, he would have attempted to cause more harm then a drunken bear hug/tackle. Why is it that with every incident involving a minority, it is racially motivated? Australia is home to hundreds of cultures and they do clash at times. But overall, we are a very diverse and tolerant nation. I would also like to point out that the incident at the Australian Open was caused by Croatian Nationals!!! I really wish you 'journalists' would do some decent fact checking.

  • Rajesh on February 2, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    The idea of calling this "an assault" is an affront to people have really been assaulted. It's a bear hug, the Australian version of the love an Indian spectator directed at Ricky Ponting. It was far more innocuous than the "tackling" Australian's watch in their other codes of footy.

    Talk about exaggeration... Australian's are not concerned about being "tackled" in India or Pakistan. It was the ultimate non-event, there was never danger to anyone. This whole article is fear-mongering and a pathetic attempt to draw false equivalence between this, and the REAL threats players face particularly in the sub-continent. If this had happened on the sidelines, not right in the middle of the pitch would we even be talking about it? I don't think so. If this is what players fear, they would be living in solitary confinement.

  • Brendan on February 2, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Saad, I think you'll find the majority of problems can be traced directly to alcohol, not by Australia's racist undertone.

    While Peter Roebuck raised the point of banning alcohol at games, it would never happen. Alcohol (Such as VB) is to prominent a sponsor to invoke a ban.

  • R.Pragg on February 2, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    when on the losing end,that's typical Aussie behaviour,Viv Richards had none of it,remember Terry Alderman being grounded back in the 70's or 80's

  • Benno on February 2, 2010, 19:54 GMT

    This article is right that Australia needs to show that it is not a racist country. Why do the actions of a few idiots always brand the many with the same iron?

    And in any case where is the evidence that this pitch invasion was racially motivated?

    This survey you refer to was conducted immediately post-9/11. The same survey in any western nation would have given the same answer.

    And as for Pontings comments - that is his opinion. If he cares about his team surely that is no sign of weakness or arrogance? No-one would have blamed Pakistan for leaving the field. All these if's and would'ves by journalists just makes Pakistan look once again like the crybaby nation.

    South Africa protested last year over the lazer incident at the MCG quite rightly. Aussie crowds need to shape up but this isnt a racist thing, it is a booze thing. Sorry Pakistan, but we care about beer, not you!

  • John on February 2, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    This article makes some good points, especially with regards to the reaction of the Pakistan team. There are some real idiots in Australia - I should know, I come from there.

    I do have to agree with Aegrem in saying that if one is going to use this incident to make broader claims, it would be better if the claims were well supported. It would be nice to see a deeper analysis than "there are reports of immigrants of South Asian descent being killed for no apparent reason other than prejudice." A statement like this is a pretty strong comment and warrents further support than is provided in the article.

  • Rajesh on February 2, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    Come on...you are implying hypothetical situations and taking it too far...what evidence has their been someone like "Ponting" would walkoff if the attack was on one of his players...sometimes assuming hypoethically can lead to dangerous conclusions...pitch invasions happen...the only reason it's less likely to occur in Pakistan and India is because arm guards would probably shoot the invader...and Australia the sercurity do not carry guns!! which I rather prefer thank you very much,

  • Dave on February 2, 2010, 19:24 GMT

    What a ridiculous piece of scaremongering. Articles like this simply fan the flames of intolerance. The Australians (team and public) are more embarrassed and outraged by this than anyone. But to say it is some new symptom is crazy - these things have happened every now and again in Australia going back forever. Not that that makes them right. And to compare a pitch invasion to the attempted assassination of the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan is just stupid. You should know better.

  • Muhammad Khan on February 2, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    To avoid this happening again, I think all Australian home series should be played on other venues exactly like pakistan played home series in Newzealand. England would be the better option for all Australian home series to be staged.

  • hars on February 2, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    So the question really is, why did Afridi not take his team and walk off? Was it because earlier in the same match, he was caught in the act of tampering the ball, in a most shameful and humiliating manner?

  • Rajesh on February 2, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    Very good balanced article, with plenty of restraint - just like the Pakistani captain's attitude. But in some of the comments I see a trace of that arrogance "let Pakistan boycott Australia - others will pick up the slack". This should be a time of introspection for aussie fans not a time for flaunting their power. The sad truth is that money matters in the cricketing world - if this happened to an Indian player the Australian prime minister would have apologized.

  • Dr Farhan on February 2, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    Comprehensive, elaborate and well balanced. A gem of writing.

  • laros on February 2, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    You are correct in saying that the Pakistan team took the incident very well; I have no doubt that Australia would have been off the field in an instant. But you can't be serious when you ask what is happening in Australian society to produce "such agitation"? And your "casual internet search" is not the best tool of serious journalism. I feel the pitch invader behaved disgracefully and should be punished severely, but do you really think it was racially motivated? I sincerely doubt it and it's not helpful to glibly link this to far more serious problems such as the assaults on Indian students, etc.

  • Anonymous on February 2, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    great analysis and bold expression!!!

  • Shyam_Prasad on February 2, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    "Still, I could not find any mention of a spectator assaulting a fielder in the middle of a cricket international. In over three decades of watching cricket obsessively, I certainly have never seen anything like it." I am sure you have seen something similar. Don't you remember the attack on Krish Srikkanth, the captain of the Indian team that toured Pakistan in 1989? A spectator invaded the ground and attacked him from behind tearing his shirt in the process.

  • raymondo44 on February 2, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Yes indeed - and the Pakistan team and authorities dserve commendation for their attitude. At the same time we need to remember that the combination of a large number of testosterone-fuelled young men, alcohol, and an exciting sporting event is likely to produce this kind of incident...

  • Jamal on February 2, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    Well said, I agree with you 100% on everything. The fact that Khalid Latif courageously stood up on his feet and took it as a humor is an exmaple of a forgiving nature. Imagine happening that in Pakistan to some foreign cricketer..that would have been a total chaos and the guy would have probably been tagged as a terrorist. It is one of those things that should happen every now and then so that the world knows that not all the fingers are the same.

    People have to realize that the pendulum swings both ways, and when it's on Pakistan's side, the response should be encouraging towards Pakistan rather than bashing them totally. Pakistanis did their part, I hope other countries open up their eyes more to it.

  • Syed Zahir on February 2, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    what a wonderful article.. can hardly disagree with any point. and credit must be given to Khalid Latif and co who stood tough, and more focussed to cricket

  • Furqan Moin on February 2, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    Nice article, agree with most of the stuff. It is time for PCB to be more assertive about the safety of their players abroad. If alcohol is mostly involved in these incidents than it should be banned inside the stadium. It is time for Australians to open their eyes and see their own weaknesses instead of just blaming the south Asian countries.

  • Waseem on February 2, 2010, 17:19 GMT

    Great article, it says something about a Cricketer that he picks himself up and carries on. Maybe if the player had faked a serious injury and lay still for 20 mins and needed to be carried off it would be taken more seriously. Also to Afridi's credit he could have taken his team off and tried to push the Biting issue under the carpet and make this a really big deal.

    Societies around the world are falling apart , and governments and sporting authorities have no clue how to fix them.

    The easy way out is blame a group of people for all the wrongs in the world or in a a sport. For Cricket read Pakistan , just imagine Australian players has been boycotted from the IPL. Quite frankly the ICC is weak like most sporting bodies too afraid to do the right thing.

  • Mohamed Z. Rahaman on February 2, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    I am a Guyanese - West Indian of East indian origin. I am also a Muslim and Pakistan has always been my favourite team after the West indies of course. That of course means nothing and yet everything. as serious as the spectator incident in Perth was, I cannot get the image of Shahid Afridi biting the ball out of my head. Even I, a West Indian, felt the shame that certainly all Pakistani must feel. Mike tyson meltdown as bad, but he was acting on behalf of Mike Tyson. Zinadane Zidane WC head butt was a reaction to a taunt. Afridi has no excuse I can think of. Geoff Boycott was right about him. Afridi is an ignorant, selfish and stupid cricketer. He should be banned from playing for Pakistan again. I am afraid that no "once in a blue mnoon" Afridi performance can undo what he has done. Let's clean our own laundry and then talk about the Aussies. And please, what happened in Perth pales in comparison to what hapened in Lahore with the Sri Lankans.

  • Aegrem on February 2, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    This article is typical of the journalistic hyperbole that accompanies these incidents. Australia's 'troubling history' is hardly in the same league as any of the subcontinental nations. No cricketers have been shot in Australia, and the nutters in the crowd assault Anglo-Australian athletes with equal frequency (note the incident with Terry Alderman at the same ground). Incidents in Asia where Australian cricketers have been pelted with bottles caused the team to huddle, but not to 'huff', until the local security restored order. We don't historically fence off the spectators from the pitch precisely because these incidents are uncommon. The 'unruly fans' at the Australian Open were actually immigrants displaying nationalist fervour for their previous home(i.e providing an example to support xenophobic attitudes). Your attempt to generalise this out into a broad critique of racism in Australia (which clearly exists) uses more rhetoric than facts. You can do better than this.

  • Robert on February 2, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Would Australia and its cricket team (especially under Ponting) overreact were the shoe on the other foot? probably.

    Did Pakistan and especially Latif continue on like true sports, shaking off the issue and getting on with it? Yes, and I like im sure many Australians admired that about how they dealt with the issue.

    Is the issue being made into a race issue without warrant? I think so. This incident has been widely condemned from all areas of Australia. I think, it is we aussies who are barking for this idiot to have the book thrown at him. Most of us have a good deal of respect for visiting cricketers and abhor this incident.

    Without needing to be prompted by various press sources looking to demonize Australia, the authorities admitted fault right up front, and are looking for ways to make sure this doesnt happen again.

    Now the counter question: Had the incident happened in the subcontinent, would the authorities there be so willing to admit fault and work to a solution?

  • Tyrone Stewart on February 2, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    While I agree with some of Saad's observations, I am not in total agreement with his overall assertion that a pitch invasion by a drunken fan, is symptomatic of issues within Australian society. I am quite understanding of the fact that Pakistanis are stung by the fact that they are unable to host home matches, but lets not go overboard in comparing the act of an idiot to the issues present in Pakistan. I am a West Indian living in the U.S.A., and people here act recklessly and without thought also. Unfortunately, idiocy my friend is a universal trait, not isolated to Pakistan or Australia.

  • Shridhar Jaju on February 2, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    Absolutely correct! CA sends its security team everywhere before they tour. How about a security team inspecting your own infrastructure? Had the player been Shahid Afridi instead of Khalid Latif, and had he gotten injured with the fall, I can assure you this issue would have covered a lot more bytes in the media. CA really needs to introspect.

  • D on February 2, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    You have some valid points, and yes the incident was totally uncalled for - the idiot in question should be punished to the full extent of the law.

    However unlike many parts of Asia, this is the extent of any harm that may befall touring teams. Teams, sports, that tour many parts of Asia are targeted for far worse then a gang-tackle.

    If Pakistan, and other Asian teams, for that matter decide that Australia is no longer safe for them, then so be it. No great loss - other teams will pick up the slack.

  • kazim on February 2, 2010, 16:40 GMT

    Peter Roebuck made similar claims in an article on cricinfo,he not only implied that there is subtle racism in Australian society,but it is very overt at times.The murder of an indian student and attacks on south asian has been on the news lately.He also made mention of the effects that alcohol has on young people,especially those who attend sporting events in Australia.It appeared that guy was inebriated and may have had nothing to do with race,who knows,but australian society has been on the news of late,and CA must act now to make sure that this doesn't occur again.

  • Nafees Sharif on February 2, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Vettori, Ponting, Smith, Strauss... which one of these would have let their teams stay and continue with the rest of the match? None!

    Very rightly said.

  • Mudassar Rana on February 2, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    can we imagine if this had been the other way round - ponting has already said he would have gone of the field! im sure the aussies would have called a un inspection team! thank god sense prevailed and khalid latif and the pakistani's took it in their stride and just got on with what they do best, especially in australia - lose!

  • John Scott on February 2, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    Simple answer, ban Pakistan from playing in Australia ever again.

    Not like you'd be missing anything.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • John Scott on February 2, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    Simple answer, ban Pakistan from playing in Australia ever again.

    Not like you'd be missing anything.

  • Mudassar Rana on February 2, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    can we imagine if this had been the other way round - ponting has already said he would have gone of the field! im sure the aussies would have called a un inspection team! thank god sense prevailed and khalid latif and the pakistani's took it in their stride and just got on with what they do best, especially in australia - lose!

  • Nafees Sharif on February 2, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Vettori, Ponting, Smith, Strauss... which one of these would have let their teams stay and continue with the rest of the match? None!

    Very rightly said.

  • kazim on February 2, 2010, 16:40 GMT

    Peter Roebuck made similar claims in an article on cricinfo,he not only implied that there is subtle racism in Australian society,but it is very overt at times.The murder of an indian student and attacks on south asian has been on the news lately.He also made mention of the effects that alcohol has on young people,especially those who attend sporting events in Australia.It appeared that guy was inebriated and may have had nothing to do with race,who knows,but australian society has been on the news of late,and CA must act now to make sure that this doesn't occur again.

  • D on February 2, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    You have some valid points, and yes the incident was totally uncalled for - the idiot in question should be punished to the full extent of the law.

    However unlike many parts of Asia, this is the extent of any harm that may befall touring teams. Teams, sports, that tour many parts of Asia are targeted for far worse then a gang-tackle.

    If Pakistan, and other Asian teams, for that matter decide that Australia is no longer safe for them, then so be it. No great loss - other teams will pick up the slack.

  • Shridhar Jaju on February 2, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    Absolutely correct! CA sends its security team everywhere before they tour. How about a security team inspecting your own infrastructure? Had the player been Shahid Afridi instead of Khalid Latif, and had he gotten injured with the fall, I can assure you this issue would have covered a lot more bytes in the media. CA really needs to introspect.

  • Tyrone Stewart on February 2, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    While I agree with some of Saad's observations, I am not in total agreement with his overall assertion that a pitch invasion by a drunken fan, is symptomatic of issues within Australian society. I am quite understanding of the fact that Pakistanis are stung by the fact that they are unable to host home matches, but lets not go overboard in comparing the act of an idiot to the issues present in Pakistan. I am a West Indian living in the U.S.A., and people here act recklessly and without thought also. Unfortunately, idiocy my friend is a universal trait, not isolated to Pakistan or Australia.

  • Robert on February 2, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Would Australia and its cricket team (especially under Ponting) overreact were the shoe on the other foot? probably.

    Did Pakistan and especially Latif continue on like true sports, shaking off the issue and getting on with it? Yes, and I like im sure many Australians admired that about how they dealt with the issue.

    Is the issue being made into a race issue without warrant? I think so. This incident has been widely condemned from all areas of Australia. I think, it is we aussies who are barking for this idiot to have the book thrown at him. Most of us have a good deal of respect for visiting cricketers and abhor this incident.

    Without needing to be prompted by various press sources looking to demonize Australia, the authorities admitted fault right up front, and are looking for ways to make sure this doesnt happen again.

    Now the counter question: Had the incident happened in the subcontinent, would the authorities there be so willing to admit fault and work to a solution?

  • Aegrem on February 2, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    This article is typical of the journalistic hyperbole that accompanies these incidents. Australia's 'troubling history' is hardly in the same league as any of the subcontinental nations. No cricketers have been shot in Australia, and the nutters in the crowd assault Anglo-Australian athletes with equal frequency (note the incident with Terry Alderman at the same ground). Incidents in Asia where Australian cricketers have been pelted with bottles caused the team to huddle, but not to 'huff', until the local security restored order. We don't historically fence off the spectators from the pitch precisely because these incidents are uncommon. The 'unruly fans' at the Australian Open were actually immigrants displaying nationalist fervour for their previous home(i.e providing an example to support xenophobic attitudes). Your attempt to generalise this out into a broad critique of racism in Australia (which clearly exists) uses more rhetoric than facts. You can do better than this.

  • Mohamed Z. Rahaman on February 2, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    I am a Guyanese - West Indian of East indian origin. I am also a Muslim and Pakistan has always been my favourite team after the West indies of course. That of course means nothing and yet everything. as serious as the spectator incident in Perth was, I cannot get the image of Shahid Afridi biting the ball out of my head. Even I, a West Indian, felt the shame that certainly all Pakistani must feel. Mike tyson meltdown as bad, but he was acting on behalf of Mike Tyson. Zinadane Zidane WC head butt was a reaction to a taunt. Afridi has no excuse I can think of. Geoff Boycott was right about him. Afridi is an ignorant, selfish and stupid cricketer. He should be banned from playing for Pakistan again. I am afraid that no "once in a blue mnoon" Afridi performance can undo what he has done. Let's clean our own laundry and then talk about the Aussies. And please, what happened in Perth pales in comparison to what hapened in Lahore with the Sri Lankans.