Sydney: Former Test batsman Greg Ritchie has threatened to sue Cricket Australia (CA) and its chief executive James Sutherland for their role in the racist speech scandal that transpired during last month`s Test between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba in Brisbane. In correspondence between Ritchie and Sutherland, the 52-year-old argues he is owed compensation for lost earnings and damage to his reputation following the luncheon speech scandal. Ritchie faced a torrent of criticism for using the word ‘kaffir’ as part of his performance at the Brisbane Cricket Ground Trust members’ function, and for a joke in which he referred to three young Muslim boys being locked in the boot of his car.
Ritchie blames Sutherland for allegedly not making public an apology he said he made to the CA boss on November 11, the day the story about his comments was broken in media. Ritchie, who is being represented by former Test cricketer Bruce Francis, also claims Sutherland did not clarify statements from his adviser Peter Young and his public affairs staff that indicated he would be banned from speaking at CA and members`` state functions as a result. “If you want to go down the route of seeking compensation or other redress, let me know as our lawyers are more than ready to deal formally and reject any claim,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Sutherland, as saying in an email sent to Ritchie on November 30. Ritchie replied: “James, your bravado about bringing the court case on is based on you mistakenly believing I can`t find anyone to do the case pro bono or you are gambling I won`t spend a few hundred thousand to make say $200k. You are also gambling that I can`t win the support of ACA [Australian Cricketers Association] members to take on CA.” “On the other hand, my friends say Cricket Australia won`t spend $500k and risk you losing your job and subject itself to a humiliating public relations hammering, just to save apologising to me and reimbursing me for lost income - particularly when I did nothing wrong and you have made an incredible number of mistakes,” he added.