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Deano's was a joke gone wrong: Border

August 11, 2006 20:26 IST

Australian great Allan Border has come out in stout defence of his former teammate Dean Jones, saying he was more sinned against than sinning for his remark on South African cricketer Hashim Amla.

Appealing the cricket world not to turn its back on Jones following his racial quip in Colombo, Border said Jones had been punished enough and the comment did not portray his true character.

"You don't condone what he said; it was stupid, but there should be balance in this," Border told The Courier Mail.

He said Jones was a far greater soul than what he was being made out to be.

"In the days when there was angst among the Australians, Pakistanis and Indians, Deano was one of the first guys to try and break down those barriers. He got to know those players very well.

"He has always enjoyed playing and being in the subcontinent and the differences between their nations and ours.

"We have a brashness about the way we play our cricket and there was always suspicions from those nations. Deano helped changed that. Let's get it right about his character," Border said.

Border said Jones's comment was made in jest.

"A lot of the South African players had jokingly referred to (Amla) as the terrorist. But it was an in-house joke you would never say publicly. And Deano wasn't meaning for it to be public.

"Deano does lead with his chin at times but we've got to get this in context. The guy does a lot of work for charity. He did a charity walk which raised over a million dollars. He did not go to South Africa when the money was on offer (in 1985). He stayed loyal to Australia and was not enamoured with the politics over there (in South Africa).

"It was said in a jovial manner and it backfired terribly. Deservedly he has got a rap over the knuckles and a good kick up the backside. But he's very well-liked globally, including Indians, Pakistanis and South Africans, as a good man and a straight shooter.

"This was a joke gone wrong. He has paid enough penalty and let's get on with it," he said.

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