Members of the Sri Lankan camp in Australia for the CB series were the target of verbal abuse and had eggs thrown at them on Thursday night in Hobart. Muttiah Muralitharan and a team selector were part of a group walking from a restaurant to the team hotel and the selector was hit on the back by an egg. As a result, the Sri Lankan board has asked Cricket Australia (CA) to tighten security around the team.
"Muralitharan, along with one of the selectors and the team masseur, were walking on the street in Hobart when suddenly from nowhere a car passed them and the guy starts abusing," a source close to the team confirmed to Cricinfo.
"He then came back a few more times and repeated this and suddenly he started throwing eggs in their direction. One landed on the back of the selector. The team management has lodged a protest with the cops but fortunately nothing untoward happened on the ground."
It is not clear whether Muralitharan was the target of the attack, though Sri Lanka's manager, Sriyan Samararatne, suggested it was unlikely, arguing it was dark and that the car was travelling at too great a speed for recognition.
"I don't know the exact motive. I doubt whether they recognised Murali but unfortunately he was there," Samararatne told. "We told Cricket Australia about it and they were very upset." Samararatne added also that nothing untoward had occurred when Sri Lanka played a Test in Hobart last November.
Muralitharan's presence at the incident is bound to complicate matters. The spinner, who is the world's leading Test wicket-taker, has had a difficult time in Australia in the past. His action was no-balled early in his career, since when crowds have often heckled him at various venues. For a period he decided not to tour Australia, but he returned for Sri Lanka's series last November when the heckling seemed to have eased off.