There was a rare show of unity in Parliament this week when legislators from all sides came together to pay tribute to the T-20 Cricket World Cup winning team who were invited to the Speaker’s Gallery of the House as special guests on Wednesday evening, and feted for their historic achievement. The players were given [...]


Country first: A lesson from our cricketer


My Dear Sri Lankan Cricket team,
I know you are extremely busy these days lapping up all the attention that is being lavished on you and accepting invitations to visit VIPs who want to be seen with you and photographed with you but still, I thought I must write to you at this historic time.
First of all, congratulations! We feel proud to be Sri Lankans again. Your win last Sunday in Dhaka brought back memories of a similar event in Lahore eighteen years ago when Captain Cool and his men defeated the Australians-and Chandimal was only six years old at that time!
I hope all of you realise how powerful the game of cricket is in our country. Even if we are divided on many issues and cannot agree on most of them, we sink all our differences and cheer as one when there is a game of cricket.
That is what has happened in 1996 when we won the World Cup. It didn’t matter to us what religion Vaas subscribed to, what community Murali belonged to, or which town Sanath hailed from. What mattered was that they played for our country-and it is satisfying to know that it is still the same.    
It was fitting that we beat India in the finals because our defeat to them three years ago still touches a raw nerve. Anyway, Manmohan might be quite upset. After all, having decided to abstain in Geneva, he may be wondering if this is how we return the favour!
This victory is even sweeter if you think about our team. Captain Cool’s team had so many legends in it-Arjuna, Aravinda, Sanath, Murali and Vaas to name a few but today’s team is a bunch of young boys with perhaps only Mahela, Kumar and Lasith being reckoned as ‘greats’.
Lasith, you deserve a lot of credit for what you did. You have achieved what greater men like Sanath, Mahela or Kumar wanted to do but couldn’t. While the way you bowled those final overs was simply superb, I was more impressed when you allowed Mahela to take all the decisions on the field.   
I hope you will gain from this experience, Lasith. I was surprised to hear you say that you owed your success to the IPL; it sounded as if you were justifying your decision to play in the IPL instead of in Tests. Anyway, I will say no more-or else you might say, ‘mind your own business and go away’!
Mahela and Kumar, we are happy that you got the fairytale ending that you dreamed of. Both of you have given so much to Sri Lankan cricket-both on the field and off it- and you deserved no less. So it was only right that you left on a winning note, being carried on the shoulders of the next generation.
However, I must say I was disappointed when I heard you speak about how badly Sri Lanka Cricket treated you, soon after you set foot on home soil. Pardon me, but even if what you said was correct that was not the time and place to say it.
It was a time when the entire country was rejoicing, forgetting for a moment about war crimes, provincial councils and the cost of living. Trying to discuss your petty squabbles with Sri Lanka Cricket is not worthy of gentlemen like you and it drags you down to the level of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Chandimal, I also think that in all the celebrations that we saw over the past few days, your contribution has been slightly forgotten. Many people were criticising you for your poor form and for being a ‘passenger’ in the team.
That was when you decided to step down making way for the in-form Lahiru to take your place. To me, that was an amazing decision that took an enormous amount of courage. You obviously wanted your country to do well, instead of trying to remain captain. For that alone, I salute you.
Chandimal, if only those in charge of the destinies of our country think like you and step down when they are not winning, this country would have been a better place. But be careful, someone might now offer you a lecture tour to the United States!
We owe a debt of gratitude to all of you for putting Sri Lanka on the world map again. Now that you have also got a million dollar bonus, I hope you realise that there is no greater honour than playing for your country and bringing joy to millions of people-who earn only a fraction of what you do!
Yours truly,
Punchi Putha
PS-I would be failing to mention one more important person who played a silent but crucial role in your success and that is Mahinda maama, of course. Whatever you do, don’t forget to thank him for staying at home on Sunday instead of catching a flight to Dhaka!


Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.