COLOMBO, Aug 13, 2006 (AFP) – South Africa’s cricket team on Sunday ridiculed suggestions they had nicknamed Muslim team-mate Hashim Amla a “terrorist”, a jibe that cost Dean Jones his television job.
Jones, a former Australian Test star, was sacked as a commentator last week after being heard on air saying “the terrorist has got another wicket” when the long-bearded Amla took a catch against Sri Lanka in the second Test here.
Former Australian captain Allan Border jumped to Jones’ defence in a newspaper interview, saying the South Africans themselves “jokingly” referred to Amla as a terrorist.
“I am told a lot of the South African players had jokingly referred to Amla as the terrorist,” Border was quoted as saying in Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper on Saturday.
“But it was an in-house joke, you would never say publicly. And Deano wasn’t meaning for it to be public.”
Gordon Templeton, the media manager of the South African team currently touring Sri Lanka, said Border was trying to shield his team-mate with a “lot of nonsense.”
“I have spoken to the boys, the manager and the coach and none of them say they ever nicknamed Hashim a terrorist,” Templeton told AFP.