Running away from politics, Angelo!View(s):
My Dear Angelo,
I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had been appointed to that all important position of Sri Lanka’s cricket captain. Next to the appointment of the President, I think that is the most talked about position in the country, now that appointing the Chief Justice is not even worth a discussion!
In many ways Angelo, I think your job is even more difficult than that of the President of the country. The President after all, is a politician. You on the other hand, have to perform well as a cricketer and win matches for your country — but must act like a politician at the same time as well!
If you recall, Angelo, two of your predecessors performed very well winning matches and even guiding the country to two consecutive World Cup finals. But they were not good politicians and therefore they had to go although they resigned before they could be shown the door.
Why, one of them even made that famous speech in London and criticised the cricket administration in this country. No doubt it was a courageous speech, but it clearly showed that he would never make a good politician and therefore would not last long as Sri Lanka’s cricket captain.
But there are better examples for you to follow and you do not have to look further than the man who appointed you. Now there is a great cricketer if ever there was one and an even better politician who uses cricket for his politics and politics for his cricket.
Why, he entered parliament while still playing cricket and people voted for him only because they knew him as the extra-ordinary cricketer that he was. Then, we all know that he stayed in the national cricket team for that long only because of the political connections he had!
Now, Angelo, I am not for a moment suggesting that you should take up politics. All I am saying is that to succeed in your job, while you must play some good cricket, you must be an even better politician and say the right things at the right time.
Then, Angelo, there are many reasons why I say that your job is even harder than that of the President. For starters, you don’t have the luxury of having three of your brothers in the team. Just imagine how much more secure you would be in your new job if you had that luxury!
You also don’t have the privilege of having a team which will say ‘Yes, Sir’ to everything that you say. You have two former captains in your team and I am quite sure they will stand up to you and give you a piece of their mind if they think you are doing something wrong.
The President may be dealing with issues of greater importance but has no such problems. We now know that he has a team which agrees with all of his decisions regardless of whether they are right or wrong and no one dares to voice a different opinion — even those who claim they have ‘principles’!
Then, Angelo, when you play in international cricket matches there are times when the umpires gives decisions against you. Regardless of whether you believe those decisions to be correct, you have to accept them and that is another reason why your job is harder than being the President.
Now, if you were the President, you could get rid of the umpire who gave the decision against you. It is not very difficult, especially if you have a team which endorses everything that you do. Others may criticise you but what does it matter if, at the end of the day, you have got rid of the umpire?
The other reason why your job is tougher than the President’s is because of your opponents. You are playing against other international cricket teams. They are united, they train hard, they analyse your strengths and weaknesses and most importantly they want to win.
In contrast, the President is playing with opponents fighting among themselves for places in the team, they do nothing by way of preparation, they don’t care about what the President is planning next and of course, they don’t appear to have that hunger for victory. So, the President’s task is much easier!
Angelo, having said that yours is a job that is tougher than that of the President’s, you have one similarity with him. Your recently appointed second-in-command is new to the job and with his lack of experience, is quite content to play second fiddle. The President has that luxury too!
So, Angelo, we wish you the best of luck because you will need a lot of it. And fortunately or unfortunately you have been appointed for only two years-not for six years, like the President. And who knows, at the end of that period, you might not even want the job anymore, unlike the President!
PS: I heard that you are the first Josephian to captain the test cricket team. I hope you learn some lessons from the first Josephian to lead the country — on how not to lead a team!
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