Friday, May 4, 2007

Back to Cricket: What comes first, country or county?

WC maybe gone but the cricket should move on. I’ve just heard on the news that three Sri Lankan players – Vaas, Murali and Sanga are joining in with the English county cricket for the coming season. They are gonna miss Sri Lanka’s international tours for the coming 5-6 months. Again, yeah, WC woes are gone but this act raises few eyebrows. Are these guys really playing for country or money? Playing for the national team does not necessarily imply that a particular player is genuinely playing for the country. These guys are already rich by numbers with playing in the national team over the years, and hence have no reason such as ‘seeking financial stability’ by playing for English county. In addition, they can’t be seeking extra form in cricket, because they are already age-old veterans. There is a saying that when you start to earn money, you don’t see an end. Maybe it’s the same thing with these guys. We have nothing against them earning money, cos they deserve it. But if this lets the whole country down for few extra pounds, it’s something worth giving a concern. If Sri Lanka looses any upcoming tour, it may very well be due to the absence of these players. They may say that they are just allowing new guys to come and play for the team, but the truth may be far from it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

We shall always be triumphant in our hearts…

The streets in Kandy went empty since the eve, fewer vehicles on the road, and even a lot of shops were closed. Firecrackers were heard everywhere since the dawn of the day. Everyone in Sri Lanka, from north to south built in to a crescendo on the 28th night to see the World Cup grand finale unveils. There is more to it from the public’s preparation. There have been a lot of Bodhi Poojas and other activities conducted; just to wish the guys luck. Luck, yeah, one thing that stood against us in the finals, nothing else.

Everything from the start to the end went to Australia. Nothing, not a single thing went in Sri Lanka’s way. I’m good with numbers and stats; many would say it’s single handedly the skill and form that won the game for Aussies last night; no, it’s the pure luck. With the skill, the oppositions were pretty much even with the Aussies having a slight edge over the Sri Lankans. Lankans lost the toss earlier in the day, and marked the beginning of the calamity. It’s so funny that such a trivial thing like a toss, which has no resemblance to cricket, plays such a vital part in the outcome of the game, especially on a World Cup final. The game was reduced to 38 overs per side, and it wasn’t going to help the lions anyway. Sri Lankans’ strength in winning lies in a complete session. Unlike the Aussies, they are not natural sloggers of the ball; instead, they pace their innings at the consumption of time. A reduced game play wasn’t going to suit the Lankans’ style of play. Surely Aussies batted well for 281, but it wasn’t predominantly the skill, it was the luck, the thing that we were running short of. Vaas, such a great exponent with the new ball, couldn’t extract even a tiny bit of swing off the pitch even under wet, overcast conditions. The balls with mediocre pace didn’t deviate off the pitch and came on to the bat on a flat pitch like footballs. It was too easy for the Aussies.

A pitch predicted to be bouncy and pacy was always going to help Murali, but he failed to make an impression either. In contrast, when the Sri Lankans went to bat, Bracken and McGrath could extract nice juicy seam movement. On a cloudy, gloomy eve, coupled with the Tera Pascals of pressure on batting second on a World Cup finale with the required rate of nearly eight, any team would crumble. It would have happened to Australia had they batted second, but the single most governing factor in this final – the luck was on their side and it took them to their hat-trick in World Cup triumphs. Sri Lanka, in my opinion, put up the best performance when all the odds were against them. But luck is mathematically immeasurable and cannot be statistically recorded. Hence, this will go down as another pinnacle of the Aussies’ dominant run in the cricket arena, with the Sri Lankans being the underdogs. Nevertheless, the bravery, courage and sportsmanship shown by the Sri Lankans throughout the tournament is truly remarkable. As I said in a previous post, a cup is purely symbolical, but so long as we put up an honest and brave fight, a win or loss would hardly matter, and we shall always be triumphant in our hearts.

It’s the end of my time where I used to cuddle up with myself in the sofa in a cold night in the hills and watch most of the cricket till the dawn. I’m glad this is finally over after an express run, and with the Wesak is coming ahead, it’s about time to move on from Cricket…