Is Murali-bashing John Howard's only chance to get elected?

Mike Ticher at the Guardian has written an amusing article about self-confessed cricket tragic John Howard's possibly only gambit that might get him re-elected - use Murali as a Tampa-style scapegoat:
Howard's application of clunky cricket analogies to politics is as elegant as his bowling action. In the last election he claimed at one point his Liberal Party was "three for about 268 [in the campaign] but the right-hand opener is still there." This time it needs several hundred to avoid the follow-on, and is wishing it had dropped the right-hand opener before the series started.

Howard is struggling to turn round ominous opinion polls, secure a fifth straight election victory and, most importantly, make sure he will still have the use of his personal RAAF plane to take him to and from the Boxing Day Test at the MCG (cost to the taxpayer last year a mere £5,700). He needs a distraction, a circuit-breaker such as the Tampa refugee crisis he exploited so successfully in the 2001 election. And at this desperate late stage there can be only one contender for the sports-mad PM: Muttiah Muralitharan.

Murali has two Tests before the election in which to snare the nine wickets he needs to overhaul Shane Warne as the leading Test wicket-taker. Howard has form. The last time Sri Lanka visited, in 2004, he was instrumental in Murali's refusal to tour, when he branded the spinner a chucker with the words: "They proved it in Perth too, with that thing." That thing, to be more technical, was the biomechanics test that showed Murali straightened his arm to an extent that was then illegal when bowling the doosra.

Howard might have to bend the truth by only about, say, 14 degrees, to whip up a wave of anti-Murali sentiment. It is an edgy time. The visitors have already had anxious meetings about likely crowd reactions, and plain-clothes police are to be deployed inconspicuously (presumably dressed in body paint and watermelon helmets) to weed out the kind of troublemakers who have targeted Murali in the past.

If Howard could only harness that sentiment, then hold up Warne as the iconic national figure who represents everything good about Australia . . . no, you're right, he's a goner.

Posted by JC on Sun 28 Oct 70 comments
haha that is hilarious! has anybody asked howard how he feels about muralithiran touring now?? I can't wait to see what happens if murali breaks the record here... should be interesting.

Posted by Johan on 2007-10-28 12:58:54
Dunno about making Warnie part of Howard's political lobby, JC. The last thing little Johnny needs now is Janette getting some unsolicited SMSs.
Posted by TA on 2007-10-29 12:51:30
thought a few SMS's to Janette from teh sheik of tweak might help Johnny get the sympathy vote ; didn't Hawke get re-elected after Hazel left him, the trick is to cry on tele
Posted by Moses on 2007-10-29 13:59:41
I stand corrected Andrew. It's brilliant!
Posted by TA on 2007-10-29 15:05:47
according to my knowledage, Murali must be tested by John howard ,is he well educated about biomechanics test, or about politics ?
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