The Fifth Column

17th March 1996

We're proud of you

"Thaaththa", Bindu Udagedera asked, "do you think we can win the World Cup?"

"Two weeks ago, I would have said we are in with a chance..."

"What would you say now?" "I'd say we are in with a good chance..."

"But, Thaaththa, will they play the Cup Final?"

"Why, why shouldn't they play the Final?" Percy wanted to know.

"Why, Thaaththa, the other finalists are one of the two teams which refused to come to Sri Lanka..."

"What difference does that make?"

"Why, they refused to come to Colombo even after we played a goodwill match and proved that we could stage the match..."

"But the finals are in Pakistan..." Percy argued.

"But after what happened to our Semi-final in India, they should argue that India and Pakistan are no better and they should concede the match and the World Cup, if what they were saying about security was true..."

"Then" Percy said, "There will be no more cricket in England because bombs are exploding in London every week..."

"So, Shane Warne will not go shopping there..." Bindu said.

"Let's wait and see..." Percy said.

"Yes" Bindu said, "The whole country will be glued to their TV sets today watching the match. Is that all right Thaaththa, when they want us to conserve electricity, because of the drought?"

"Bindu it is not everyday that we enter the World Cup Finals" Percy said.

"But you didn't answer my question", Bindu persisted, "can we win..."

"Our cricket team" Bindu said, "has gone through a lot in recent times. They were wrongly accused of ball tampering. Then they called Muralitharan a chucker. Then they insulted us by not coming to Colombo for our matches. We have been able to stand up to all these events..."

"But threw bottles at us in India on Wednesday..."

"I think the bottles were thrown more in disgust with the Indian team than for being angry with our cricketers..."

"But someone had to lose", Bindu argued.

"Yes" Percy agreed, "But it is sad that it had to be India. It was India and Pakistan who helped us stage that goodwill match when others snubbed us. And it was so nice to see their cricketers hugging our cricketers even after losing the match..."

"But Thaaththa" Bindu asked "what will happen today?"

"Only a fool will make predictions for today, Bindu", Percy said; "But whatever happens, we can say to Arjuna and his team, whether you win or lose today, you have played the game well. We are all proud of you..."

Bindu readily agreed.

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