WELLINGTON: New Zealand Cricket has come down heavily on a stadium announcer for taunting tainted Pakistani fast bowler Muhammad Aamir during the third Twenty20 International here.
Mark McLeod, who for many years has been NZC’s voice of choice for home matches against touring sides, had played a cash register sound effect during one of Aamir’s spells during the match at Westpac Stadium.
NZC CEO David White said he has since apologised to the Pakistan team, and has now publicly reprimanded McLeod.
The 23-year-old youngster is playing in his first international tour since serving his suspension and jail term for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing saga.
“I think (playing the sound effect) was inappropriate and disrespectful, and has the effect of trivialising one of the biggest issues facing cricket at the moment,” White told Fairfax New Zealand.
“I’ve contacted the Pakistan team management to apologise, and to assure them there will be no repeat.” Aamir’s return to the national and international scene has seen a mixed response from the players and spectators with a few supporting him, while some publicly showing their disapproval.
Things might have been sorted between Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali and Aamir through a PCB intervention after the senior players refused to play with the tainted cricketer, but spectators continue to be expressive about their stand on the pacer’s return.
While there were cheers for Aamir during his first match in five years at Eden Park, some boos were also heard. There were also reports of Kiwi fans waving cash at Aamir while he was near the boundary rope during Monday’s one-day international at the Basin Reserve – also in Wellington – and yelling, “I’ve got a dollar for you”.
However White wasn’t as apologetic about the behaviour of fans at the Basin Reserve.
“As opposed to a member of the public in the stands having a bit of banter and humour … it’s different,” White said. “We can’t direct people how to behave all the time.
“There’s a line of drunken disorderly abusive behaviour but stadiums are full of people in groups together, around the world there is banter. I guess there is the line that people need to stay within.”