Monday, April 30, 2007

So that’s that..

To say the least, it was a weird final.

First, the start was delayed and then the match reduced to 38 Overs, and then that explosive Gilcrist innings followed by a spirited run chase by Sanath and Sanga, during which the LTTE decides to send one of the air-crafts to visit Colombo which sets off spontaneous retaliatory fire by government forces and condemn half of Colombo into darkness.

For those caught in the proximity of the firing, it’s a frightening experience. For the rest of us, the score is 100something for 1, and it’s a great partnership, as Sangakara thwarts one on the offside for 4. But that was about all the excitement we are going to get, as few balls Sanga mis-times the pull-stroke and is caught. Its now up to Sanath and Mahela to pull something off, they keep scoring at a decent pace but the required rate is climbing up, as the drizzle falling in Barbados intensifies, Duckworth/Lewis comes into the picture. Its now a wet pitch, and the game is slipping away as Sanath comes down the pitch to Michael Clark, the ball keeps low and bowled!. End of Sanath, and the end of the match for Sri Lanka…. to fast forward a bit..

Weirdness continues.. its now pitch dark and with 3 overs to go, the umpires offer the light to the batsman who takes it, which sets off a victory huddle by the Aussies, they have won the world cup! but wait, Aleem Dar has other ideas. He kindly informs Ponting, the match might continue tomorrow. Everyone seems confused, Mahela is seen talking to Ponting, and after some more confusing moments later, the Sri Lakan batsman walks in to finish off the game needing 22 runs per over and with the ball no where to be seen, the Sri Lankan tail-enders seem to find it a bit difficult. And finally.. the Aussies have their moment.

Sigh. No wonder people like football.

Its about this time in a blog post, where people say how the better team won and how we are all proud of the boys, and they have done their best, and so on. All of which are true. I just wish we had a different final. Somehow, the occasion deserved something better, something closer to, well, cricket.

It was always going to be a tough game, but all of Sri Lanka hoped. Normally, It would be wrong to call us a cricket-crazy country, we are rather fond of the game, and it’s probably our national pastime (apart from doing nothing and taking holidays) but for the past week or so, you could feel that we were approaching fanatic levels.

So much so, that there were countless religious ceremonies in churches, kovils and temples wishing the cricketers well in the final. But in spite of all that, you’ve got to say that Mother Nature made it a point to be especially unkind to the Sri Lankans, from the reduced overs to bright sun and no-swing when Aussies were batting to the rain and swing when we were batting, to the perfect orchestration of the Jayasuriya dismissal (wet-pitch, duckworth/lewis, heavy-outfield.), the weather certainly played into the hands of the Australians.

But that’s how things go, as people say, what to do. It’s disappointing. Sri Lanka certainly deserves its second place, we played some great cricket, and as Kamran Abbasi from the Blog Pak Spin says, the moments of the world-cup belonged to Sri Lanka.

“...for each over-whelming favorite there is an over-whelming supported underdog. Hundreds of millions of cricket fans will be rooting for Mahela's Magicians simply because it would be great to see somebody other than Australia win. More than that the magic moments of this World Cup--Malinga's four in four and the final-ball defeat of England--have belonged to Sri Lanka. There is a variety in their bowling--slingers, swingers, and doosras--that gives them the best chance of humbling Australia. That's before we get into the poetic justice of Murali triumphing over the country that has brought him most humiliation.” [link]

It wasn’t to be, but perhaps another time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Random thoughts on cricket..

I was watching the NZ vs. SL semi-final the other day, Sanath was out but Tharanga was going well, he cracks a four on the off-side and dad mentions “shah.. this tharanga fellow is pretty good ah..” just few hours ago he was calling for tharanga’s head, asking why the hell a batsman who scored a 0 against Ireland is still playing, while Marvan Attapattu is warming the benches. It just took a cover-drive for four to completely change his mind.

That probably epitomizes the typical Sri Lankan fan and most media-men (who are generally no more than fans themselves). Sri Lankan pundit’s analysis seems to be instantaneous derived less from careful analysis and more from spur of the moment reactions. Over the years there have been many media-recommendations for team selections, not very far of I remember some media persons and ‘pundits’ thought fit that Sanath retires, as he was clearly too old for the game.. sigh..

Much has been said about Sri Lankan commentators, one in particular – Ranjith Fernando. It’s true that he’s probably the least creative commentator in the contemporary game, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him seeing all the hate-posts online. At least he’s a nice man. I mean if you look at it, the other commentators tend to be equally incompetent. Listening to the ‘Eye channel’ discussions is enough proof of that. how many times do we have to know that ‘cricket is an unpredictable game’ ‘and that if you post a good total and put enough pressure, you’d have a chance..’.

On the bright side though, we didn’t have to tolerate Anarkalai this world cup- Hallelujah! I’d swear I would have thrown a sizable stone at the TV, if I had do to tolerate her again!.. creativity is fine, copying stuff from India is still fine, but seriously Mandira Bedi knows some stuff about cricket, we don’t want a dumb chick who just jumps up and down and talks in that annoying voice. Talking about annoyance, can somebody please shove a petrol pump up De Mel’s ass? What a sonofabitch! The comments he made on selections, were just disrespecting to say the least.

Anyway, the final is upon us, the world it seems would back Sri Lanka, and as Arjuna would have said, ‘the boys have played pretty well’, made some bold decisions and by and large, things have gone our way. Its down to this game now, and its not about just playing it, its about winning! its going to be a cracker of a game. Good luck fellas! And lets have some Kangaroo for dinner!.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Youth, Culture and Globalization

An increasingly globalized, volatile and a growth-oriented world present its citizens numerous challenges – be it in economic, social, environmental and indeed cultural spheres.

As the global economy steams ahead in full speed, geographical borders are becoming less and less significant as people move around, migrating into cities and countries in search of better opportunities and better lives.

Business corporations in both the East and the West are interchanging knowledge and capital in a mutually beneficial exercise. To succeed in this increasingly border-less world one needs to go beyond the familiar and the uniform and embrace the unfamiliar and the diverse, one must tolerate and accept different customs, behaviors, languages, attitudes and values. In other words, one must embrace multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism, however, isn’t simply just good business, but rather something that contributes a great deal in transforming modern day conflicts in the world and indeed here, in Sri Lanka. Roots of most conflicts or at least lack of progress in resolving them, has a lot to do with lack of understanding and lack of space for a different cultures and identities, which leads to marginalization and discontent which sometimes results in violent aggression and cycles of hatred. It is clear then, that multiculturalism is no longer simply a nicety but rather, a dire necessity in the times we live in.

Read the rest of the post in the BB Blog