Cricket: Lloyd insult just adds to the injury

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The Independent Online
DAVID LLOYD, the England coach, has shown yet again that he is a dreadful loser. When Muttiah Muralitharan took the first two England wickets on Sunday evening and turned the ball a long way, it was clear that there was every chance that he would win this Test match.

At the press conference at the end of the fourth day, Lloyd made a thinly- veiled accusation about the legality of Muralitharan's action. He had put the excuse in place in case England lost and it was all done so gracelessly that it took one back to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe before Christmas in 1996.

England had failed to win the first Test then and at the end the scores were level and England had wickets in hand. Lloyd's catchphrase then was: "We murdered 'em", which he shouted, sometimes with the minimum of charm, at anyone he encountered immediately after the game was over.

He appears to be unable to control himself when England are on the receiving end of it. His remarks now have forced the Sri Lankan board to issue a statement that it has complained to the ECB. Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of the Sri Lankan board, who made the statement, reiterated that Muralitharan's action has been cleared after a close examination by the ICC. It is a matter of fact that he has a double-jointed wrist and that there is an 11 degree deformity in his right elbow, which he can not straighten.

In the circumstances, Lloyd has let himself and the England team down by not being able to control himself. How much better it would have been for him to have complained quietly through the official channels. Instead of which he has drawn attention to himself and the side and he has been seen to have acted as a cry baby. One finds it hard to believe that, in these days of super slow-motion cameras, the ICC has not reached the right decision about Muralitharan's action.

After Sri Lanka's complaint, the ECB will surely have to take action over Lloyd's outburst. He received a substantial slap on the wrist after the Zimbabwean affair and the authorities will now have to decide between a yellow and a red card.

One undoubted side effect, judging from the response that has apparently come over this from Australia, is that the incident will be exploited to the full during the England tour. Lloyd will realise then that he has made a rod for his own back and, sadly, one for the side's as well. Why does he not think before launching into these outbursts, which can only be counter productive?

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