Fresh test for Atherton as 'buffoon' threatens to sue

As a bridge-building exercise it has swiftly become clear that England's winter tour of Pakistan would test the expertise of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. More evidence emerged here yesterday that the entire excursion could yet be less magnificent Severn, more the shaky Millennium span over the Thames.

As a bridge-building exercise it has swiftly become clear that England's winter tour of Pakistan would test the expertise of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. More evidence emerged here yesterday that the entire excursion could yet be less magnificent Severn, more the shaky Millennium span over the Thames.

Asghar Ali demanded a written apology from the England opening batsman and former captain, Michael Atherton, for an incident in the World Cup four years ago. Asghar, a sports journalist, asked a series of questions in broken English during a press conference after England had been beaten by South Africa in Rawalpindi. Atherton became testy and said: "Can someone get this buffoon out of here?" Ali said that if he does not receive his apology in 10 days he will sue.

It ruffled feathers then but Atherton cannot have known the enduring effects. Asghar said yesterday it had ruined his life and tainted his reputation. "My personal life, my professional life and my financial life have been affected." His fiancée at the time called off the wedding because "she did not want to be the wife of a buffoon".

England's management were nonplussed by this unlikely development and last night were seeking advice about how to respond, if at all. Presumably, they were attempting to contact Atherton, who is featuring only in the Test section of the tour, which starts in November, and will not join the party until next week.

At least it made a change. It was not, on this occasion, Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, opining on how the Pakistanis should mete out punishment to players who may or may not be guilty of involvement in match-rigging, an intervention which could easily have unfortunate repercussions for his players this winter.

His lordship's opposite number, Lt Gen Tauqir Zia, said yesterday: "It is a highly ill-timed statement coming from a responsible official. If we don't step into others' jurisdiction, we don't want others to enter into ours."

Still pervading the whole trip, despite the captain Nasser Hussain's determined attempts to play it down ("I don't know what happened, I was still at school"), are the events from 13 years ago when the England captain of that time, Mike Gatting, became embroiled in a finger-wagging argument with the umpire Shakoor Rana.

Their dispute led to a breakdown in cricketing relations. The World Cup apart, when it was unavoidable, no England senior side has toured here since. There remains plenty of scope for buffoonery.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
people
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone