About this exercise: When Western cricket journalists and western cricket authorities criticize, or even scrutinize, the bowling action of Sri Lanka’s successful spin bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan (‘Murali’), they are often accused (by other observers in the West, as well as those in Asian cricket-playing countries) of overt or covert racism. And with some justification. However, research into journalism that discusses the issue suggests we need to nuance our views on this in unexpected ways. Somewhat surprisingly, the most virulent attacks on Murali and the ‘illegality’ of his bowling action seem to come not, as one might expect, from the West, but from other Asian countries. Perhaps less surprisingly, ‘racialism’ is rarely explicitly adduced to explain (or explain away) Murali’s remarkable record, though it is sometimes used to explain the actions of other cricketers, and cricket’s administrators. This exercise asks you to look closely at two articles that deal with the issue, and to consider the complex matrix of discourses the writers draw on in building their case.
The attached text-file contains two articles, one by Shekhar Hattangadi for Littleindia.com, and one by Mark Nichols for the LondonTelegraph (though it is printed here from the Sydney Morning Herald’s website). Read these articles carefully and respond, in one A4 page, to the following questions:
Which article seems to you to give the most balanced account, both of the bowler himself and of the cricket authorities charged with regulating the game and its players?
What seem to you to be the primary bases for criticism in each case?
How prominent are racial issues or racialist discourses in the accounts that are offered, and how overt are they?
What other discourses are drawn on to frame the discussion and to justify (or normalize) the criticisms or defence each journalist makes?
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