Stumped for words
By STEVE SPINKS
IT'S not often that Kerry O'Keeffe is stuck for words.
But the controversy surrounding the second Test between Australia and India in Sydney that finished earlier this week has him stumped.
Just weeks before O'Keeffe visits the Northern Rivers as guest speaker at the Tintenbar-East Ballina Cricket Club's Sports-%man's Dinner, the former Australian Test cricketer and now ABC radio commentator would not be drawn on the controversy.
"I haven't really thought about it to be frank," O'Keeffe told The Northern Star yesterday.
"I don't really want to comment on it but one thing I will say is that I think it has stunned the players within the Australian team how strong the emotion is against them by other Australians. It's stunned me.
"I think they've always played it hard but fair but there must have been some deep-rooted resentment against the way they have played."
Confusing the issue further are reports that surfaced yesterday that star Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar may have influenced the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) into suspending the tour with a text message.
Tendulkar was batting with Harbhajan at the time the off-spinner is supposed to have sledged Andrew Symonds with the racial slur of 'monkey'.
"I understand that the racial slur (by Harbhajan) is subject of a lot of controversy as to what has been said," O'Keeffe said.
"Sachin Tendulkar is involved and has said that Harbhajan didn't say it so I'm a bit confused.
"Do we really know what's gone on?"
One thing O'Keeffe was happy to point out was the stance of Cricket Australia.
"They have been significantly quiet," the former leg-spinner said.
Controversy aside, O'Keeffe's visit to Ballina on February 2 will be the second time he's spoken at the Sportsman's Dinner.
"I don't normally get return gigs," chuckled O'Keeffe.
The night, which will also double as an auction of sporting memorabilia, will be at Ballina RSL Bowling Club and starts at 6.30pm. The cost is $85 per head. For further information contact Brett Crawford on 0438 646 094.