Cricket made unlovely by the mandarins of SLC | Sunday Observer

Cricket made unlovely by the mandarins of SLC

Is it poor Malinga or is it bravo Malinga? Shame on you Malinga, or Congrats Malinga? Hero or villain? This cat is in a quandary since she is never quick to condemn anything the government does and its Ministers, Wednesday June 28 newspaper sub-headlined in the Sports Page ‘Malinga fined.’ A sort of token fine. The three-man Disciplinary Committee found ‘the player guilty of breach of contract’ and the Executive Committee lowered its suspension of him from one year to six months and the fine imposed was half his next ODI match fee. I don’t know how he breached his contract – played for India’s IPL being paid much and not joining in practices? I know however, that he ‘traded words’ with the Minister of Sports, Dayasiri Jayasekera, calling him a monkey in a bird’s nest. The context was lost on this ignorant feline but she secretly cheered as she did not like the Minister being so critical of the team that won over India but lost to the Champs Pakistan. You win and lose in any sport; that‘s the main idea of competitive sports: Play and play the game, whether you win or lose.

Bravos from female columnist

A lawyer columnist in a Sunday newspaper was all in praise of Malinga, whom she dubbed the ‘boy from Ratgama.’ It was not her invention of a sobriquet but one attached to this fiery player. They also call him ‘gollywog’ or ‘goldy locks’ in honour of his bizarre hairstyle. But, to the young girls all around the world who watch him play, apparently, his tinted curls add to his sex appeal and he is/was the rage! The columnist congratulated him for cocking a snook at the Minster of Sports who, it was obvious, is no favourite of the said columnist.

The AI film

Menika does not approve of his hair worn this way but likes his shooting the ball viciously. She invariably remembers a Hindi film that was one of the best of all time. Do you remember Lagaan – a 2001 Indian epic sports drama written and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, set in the Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj? The story revolves around a village that has to pay its taxes despite drought and harvest failure. Amir Khan is a village youth who comes up with the brilliant idea of waging a cricket match against the Brits. If the village team wins, no tax payment; if the ‘gentlemen in white flannels’ win, the tax will be doubled. True blue diabolism of the Brit’s overpowering high ups. A hotchpotch team is gathered and a boy who throws back a ball to the players from outside the madan is conscripted to play, his bowling technique exhibited in the throw. Goodness, it’s a nail biting David vs. Goliath cricket match. And, and, the Indian ragtag team wins with a final six. The monsoon pours down doubling the jubilation. A little concession is made to the whites: a Memsahib secretly coaches the Indian boys. Malinda invariably reminds this cat of that film bowler who had his own distinctive way of chucking the ball, baffling the beefy Brits.

Those tender schoolgirl days

Menika in her salad days was adept at shooting the netball clean through the net frilled ring and thus was in the team of her Kandy school while quite young. Playing a match in Badulla she turned out to be a favourite with cries of ‘Come on Baby – shoot it’ and she obliged. Later, playing a game with the team of the Girls’ Agriculture School Kundasale, set up by D S – the Father of the Nation and lover of agriculture, Menika and her co-shoot Carmen failed several times to net the ball. A few of the Farm School girls were from Hillwood, formidable netball players, and as the losing team surmised sour grapely, they had been strengthened on fresh milk and eggs from what they farmed. The next morning at Assembly, the first Ceylonese principal of the school did a Jayasekera, and blamed the shoots for missing goals. Carmen and Menika promptly sat down and wrote their resignation. Not accepted by the netball coach. Not known was how the Principal would have received it. Maybe, the team lost because they were trying out a new sports uniform – half flared skirt ten inches above the knee, designed by the western ballet instructor Mrs Jonklaas. One small leap and the skirt would flare out and up. Bloomers covering all we had on, but instinctively as a jump was attempted one hand went to restrain the skirt from rising waist high!

Another never forgotten incident. Baseball was introduced to the school and House matches were on. Yours truly hit well and ran but was pronounced ‘out’. Involuntarily she muttered ‘Unfair’. Heard by the referee, a very smart, no nonsense teacher, Menika was summoned by her at the end of the game and given a slating about never daring to challenge a referee.

These anecdotes are not for passing the time or filling the Cat’s Eye column – not at all. A serious purpose lies within. Sports was sports then. We were by nature given to fair play, discipline and abiding by rules. But, it was also ingrained in us that we played to give ourselves and the opposing team a good game to be watched with interest, and of course, anxiety by the spectators. That stood us in good stead even in studies and general living. Hardly any cheating; no indiscipline, respect to elders and even those not better. We squirmed a bit when the tradition emphasizing Jaffna Tamil took over the principalship from the former Irish missionaries; certainly not because she was Tamil, ethnic difference mattered not at all. She was too conservative and distanced herself so that being called up to her office caused near seizures.

I referred to D S Senanayake. Our leaders then were honest and our government was for the people, by the people, elected by the people, purely on meritocracy and ability to serve. They did so with magnanimity with never a whiff of scandal or money making. In sharp contrast, it’s SELFISHNESS in large upper case letters, and corruption, money-making being the main concern of many a politician with a craving for power too. You ask yourself what is propelling the GMOA fight over SAITM. This feline need not spell out the main two reasons with an added one of envy fearing the private medical college docs will cull more private practice. Greed for power by seen forces and unseen hands propel the university students to protest. Consider how absurd it is that they have boycotted lecturers for five months. Cutting their own noses, but the pity is they break their parents’ hearts and impoverish most of them. Of course, we never know with the recent rash of parents.

Will Sri Lankan society ever improve?