An open letter to Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal

Dear Angelo and Dinesh,

First of all congratulations on your appointments, I am sure the two of you are very excited about the challenges of the new roles. The sri lankan cricket fans are also excited to have the two of you lead us into the next chapter of sri lankan cricket. In a way the two of you are a continuation of a long line of dynamic captain-vice captain duos from Mendis-Dias to Arjuna-Aravinda to Sanath-Marvan to Mahela-Sanga. That is a very distinguished line of predecessors and I sincerely hope that both of you understand the honor and the responsibility you two bear and approach it with humility and hard work.

Truth be told, with apologies to others, I have always thought two of you as the most talented of the next generation. Angelo was the answer to one of the two longstanding prayers of our fans, a genuine pace bowling all-rounder. I always pictured Dinesh as the next in line of a long list of short but very talented batting maestros of sri lankan cricket. We have the utmost belief in your talents and hope you two know that you can be surely among the world’s best.

I am sure the two of you have/will have lovely partners in normal life but please treat the relationship between the two of you as almost a cricketing marriage. Fortunes of sri lankan cricket in the near term depends to a great degree on the strength of your relationship. As our mothers used to warn us before marriage “athule gini eliyata geni yanna epa and eliye gini athulata genna epa”. Please be vigilant about the numerous busy bodies, rumor mongers and trouble makers who will try to estrange your relationship out of self interest or pure cussedness. Chandi you must at all times, by both words and actions show your support and commitment to Angelo. Angi you must also similarly exhibit your trust and regard towards Chandi at all times. As in any good marriage keep clear lines of direct communication and pay attention to nip any potential misunderstandings in the bud.

I am sure that both of you are aware that cricket has woven itself into the deepest parts of our national fabric and is probably the single biggest common source of joy to sri lankans. Please remember that you guys will never be as cherished in Mumbai or Melbourne as you are in Maharagama or Mannar even though the twelve year old boy in a small house in Moneragala might not have the rupees to show for it. We understand the lure of the dollar and your right to pursue it but do not forget the honour of representing your motherland and the hopes and dreams embedded on the millions of hearts in our island. The balance you establish in this regard will have significant long term repercussions on sri lankan cricket and I hope both of you are cognizant of that fact when you make your choices.

We hope the sri lankan cricket teams under you guys will play with the same panache and exuberance of the teams of yore. The pure joy you guys play cricket is one reason you are admired around the world though lately there have been signs of weariness. This is a new beginning and I hope you guys will rediscover the freedom of playing without fear which is the only way you can achieve the pinnacles of the sport. Our support should not be thought of as a burden to be borne but as a source of strength, a reservoir of belief and a sea of comfort in defeat. After all we are not the kind of people who will burn your houses or the stadium if and when you lose a game or two.  Our easygoing countrymen are more likely to forgive and forget after a drink or two and shout themselves hoarse the next time you guys play. As any young men, you guys will make mistakes and I am sure you hope that the fans will be just a bit more understanding and patient than they have been in the past. We will do our best, we promise.

There are also two other things that I really have to tell you though they probably trivial in comparisons to the themes in rest of this letter. Firstly I am a sucker for the ayya-mallo thing you guys have going on perhaps because it gives the impression that you guys are a brotherhood or perhaps because it gives the impression that all of us are one big family. By the way please also feel free to put the Maxwells of the world in their place. We understand the need to tailor the medicine to the nature of the patient and covering the ears of our young ones once in a while is a price we are willing to pay.

Cricket might be an English game but it is a sri lankan treasure. It is now in your hands. Please take good care of it. The nation expects the two of you to do your duty.

Warmest Regards,
A Fan.

P.S. :  You might note that I haven’t really touched upon how you can handle the issues with SLC and might think that’s a glaring omission. It was done on purpose, since frankly, I don’t have a clue on this one. You two have been added to the “pin” list on my trip to the temple this weekend.

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