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The Fifth Column

15th November 1998

Cricketers lose appeal

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"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked while watching the cricket match on TV, "what has happened to our cricket team?"

"They have lost a few matches, that's all," Percy Udagedera, Bindu's father said.

"But Thaaththa," Bindu argued, "they lost four matches in a row and two of them were to Zimbabwe...."

"But Bindu," Percy observed, "we can't win all the time...."

"But Thaaththa, the cricketers will become unpopular now. Even now, some people are saying that they were rewarded too much when they won the World Cup...."

"I don't agree, what they got was nothing compared to what sportsmen in other countries get...."

"What did they get, anyway, Thaaththa?"

"Why, they got some money, some land from the government and they were all made 'Deshabandus'...."

"So, that is why people are calling them 'Deshabindu' now...."

"I suppose," Percy observed, "some people are angry because soldiers, who risk their lives for their country are not given a piece of land, while cricketers get all that...."

"Isn't that a fair agreement , Thaaththa?"

"The way to rectify that is to give land to soldiers, not to take away the facilities and rewards given to the cricketers," Percy argued.

"Why do you say that, Thaaththa?"

"Because, Bindu, you must appreciate the fact that the cricketers are the only people who brought us some international recognition after all these years...."

"Why, Thaaththa, what about all those politicians who say that they have brought honour to our country?"

"Unfortunately, Bindu," Percy said, "it appears that our cricketers are now behaving like our politicians. That might be the reason for their problems...."

"Why, do you say that, Thaaththa?"

"To me," Percy said, "Sanath is like G.L., so full of promise and talent but now he has failed to live up to his own high standards and expectations...."

"Who else?"

"Then there is Mahanama, who is like Mangala, he has got a section of the media behind him but he hasn't performed that well when he's given the chance...."

"What about Aravinda?"

"He's like Anuruddha now. He is capable of making the difference between victory and defeat but since of late he's not doing well though the media hails him as a superstar...."

"What do you think of Arjuna?"

"Why, as the Captain, he's so much like Satellite. How can he alone win matches when the others are not performing well? And of course, he, like Satellite wants absolute authority over the team...." and of course like Satellite he feels he has been defamed in the media!

"And the others?"

"Why, there's Murali, so much like Kadi. He's a symbol of unity among the communities and a credit to the country when performing overseas...."

"So, Thaaththa, what do you think of the team's chances now?"

"Well, if they don't start winning now, even the government will have problems...."

"Why do you say that?"

"Why, as long as we win cricket matches, no one bothers about the Tigers or the cost of living...."

"So, Thaaththa, do you think we will win the next World Cup?"

"That," said Percy, "is as likely as the government winning the next election...."

Bindu didn't disagree. But, he switched off the TV and went to sleep.

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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