Dean Jones is one of those many former Australian cricketers who now earns big bucks as a commentator on the sport. Like many others, he has little of import to say, but takes up 700 or 800 words to do so.
Jones was sacked by Ten Sports in 2006 for making a racist comment about South Africa’s Hashim Amla. But he has slowly crept back, with the Melbourne newspaper The Age helping in his rehabilitation by giving him a weekly column.
One would think that a man who goes around referring to Muslim players as terrorists would be shunned by publications that claim to have standards.
But racism is part of the Australian national fabric and The Age is part of that fabric. Not the overt type of racism, no, the covert type that operates undercover and helps keep white people in positions of authority.
Jones most recent column is typical; he meanders all over the place. It looks like the whole piece is suffering from multiple attacks of schizophrenia. But he fills the space and The Age also gets a “name” to write. That he has nothing of any value to say does not seem to strike the owners of The Age, Fairfax Media. Perhaps this is one reason why The Age is rapidly going downhill.
Back in 2006, Jones was heard live on air calling South Africa’s Hashim Amla, one of the better batsmen in the world, a terrorist, during a Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo. Amla took a catch to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara only to provoke this comment from Jones: “The terrorist has got another wicket.”
Jones was sacked by Ten Sports. But he has wheedled his way back.
This kind of racial vilification by Australian cricketers is not unusual. Darren Lehmann, now the coach of the national team, called the Sri Lankan team “Cunts, cunts, fucking black cunts,” when he was run out during a one-day match in Brisbane in 2003.
Exactly what Lehmann thinks of Sri Lankans these days is unknown.
And David Warner, now the vice-captain, played the colonial to the hilt in 2015 during a one-day match against India, when he confronted Rohit Sharma and demanded that the Indian batsman “speak English”.
Not that Warner’s English is top-grade. He is your average Bogan, who is crude, rude and lacks any refinement. But still he feels he can lay down the law to the non-whites.
Exactly why media organisations take in retired cricketers as commentators and writers is unknown. It is an entirely different skill to be able to write or talk in an intelligible and educative manner about any sport. But then many journalists, themselves, are fairly crippled in this regard.
Take the case of Aakash Chopra who was crapping on during the ongoing Test series between India and Australia. Chopra suffers from verbal diarrhoea. Yet, he is there to provide expert comment for Australian listeners. The Indian commentator Prakash Wakankar is, by contrast, very good at his job.
And then there is Simon Katich, a man who has a very limited vocabulary and seems stuck in cliches all the time.
Add to that Adam Collinson, who must surely be the most biased of callers, and Gerard Whateley, no slouch in the patriotism stakes, and you have all the makings of another Botany Bay invasion all over again.