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It’s no loger a game!

While watching that horrible inept batting display in the 4th ODI against Australia I got a telephone call. Now these things during the sacred pastime of watching cricket (especially when we are losing a match – more on that later) are always considered a nuisance. So with mild irritation I looked at the Caller Identification on my phone ready to reject the call! But it was from a much respected and somewhat revered “aunty” who has been telling me for over 10 years how she and her spouse have been in the “departure lounge” waiting for the flight to paradise.

Now this aunt is as healthy as the proverbial horse but her spouse is not doing too well these days and I thought this call I had to take because the long awaited flight may have been called….she was in tears when she spoke and my heart plummeted. You know that horrible sinking feeling that one gets when one knows bad news is coming?

A few sentences into the conversation I realized what this was about. She was in tears about the batting performance of our cricketers’! She was telling me just how much she looks forward to the matches for entertainment, as the old couple is virtually housebound and she couldn’t believe what our batters’ were doing.

I realized that I was not alone in my irritation. My entire household from my 4 year old to my 15 year old know what happens when we are losing. Even our “fearsome” guard dog is reduced to whimpering and putting his head on my lap when I am screaming invective at the TV screen!

It is time our cricketers’ realized what they represent. They represent and are responsible for the feeling and emotions of an entire nation. Playing “millionaire shots” (as Charu Sharma an Indian commentator who I find particularly irritating) says, like Sanga did in the last match and turning the fortunes of our team on its’ head….is not acceptable and HAS to be accounted for! Sanga would have been “singularly responsible” for millions of rises in blood pressure, depression, children getting scolded and god knows what else done to lesser beings like household pets !

IT IS NO LONGER A GAME! Cricket represents the hopes and aspirations of our entire nation. A good game results in joy and satisfaction a thrashing raises feeling of inadequacy and leaves speculation for allegations of “match fixing” and the like!

The eleven members of the team are supposedly the best of at least one million aspirants and if you take the arm chair aspirants (like yours truly) they represent the cream of a MUCH bigger figure. They have to work hard at their game and show us that they can perform consistently. The application of each individual and the leadership has to be through and convincing. The selection has to be justified and transparent and open to dissection.

Cricket is no longer the preserve of the elite. It has to be run by professionals (the era of past players is GONE) and all aspects have to be transparent and fully accountable. Governance of our Country has fallen to such low levels that the people have given up on it. Cricket is the last preserve that the citizens of this Country have and the ONLY thing that we are any good at (since tea production fell into the wrong hands) in world terms.

Are we losing this too? Why are “has been players” being brought back into the squad at the expense of brilliant young talent? Why are past cricketers with dubious reputation being shuffled around from position to position at SLC? Why is there a minister who knows the inside of bottle of Brandy better than the rules of the game in charge?

I fear oh Lankans that we are heading for the usual fate of anything that we are any good at …..Self destruction!

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