WINDIA LOSTRALIA | Sunday Observer

WINDIA LOSTRALIA

The placard that one fan sported read – WINDIA LOSTRALIA. That graphically summed up the historic Test series victory by India against Australia in Australia after nearly 81 years.

No wonder that Prime Minister Narendra Modi Indians lit us the skies in celebration. This is not come simply because the Australians were wanting.

A carefully orchestrated strategy over the past few years had a sense of purpose, goal-oriented performance indicators for players, managers and coaches. And a base of fans fully motivated to supporting the home team. Succession planning was an important anchor to the strategy.

Indian cricket never had it so good. And they deserve the credit. Their game has been admirably streamlined and their assembly lines continue to produce some outstanding young cricketers. A case in point is young opening batsman Prithiv Shaw who is just 19, debuting making a dream hundred against the West Indies and then picked to Australia. But on the eve of the First Test against Australia he sprained his ankle going for a catch at practice and missed the series which would have been galling to him. In his absence India struggled to find an opening pair that could give them solid starts.

India no doubt is the world No. 1 attraction today. They have built a fine allround side and are the envy of other cricketing nations. Similarly Australia and West Indies in the past attracted the same attention and admiration. But sadly now the two countries are in cricket’s swamp. The Case Study of India is a must for our own SLC. There are many lessons to learn and drawn from. It’s worth getting some of our best past cricketers to mentor SLC and develop what could serve as a blueprint for the revival of our cricket. And here we will do well to learn form our own mistakes and those of others, and leverage what has gone so right in Indian cricket.

Pushpakumara - let’s push him back in

A haul of ten wickets in a match is an elusive dream of any bowler be it pace or spin playing the game at any level. Even in softball getting 10 wickets is great.

The names of bowlers who have captured 10 wickets in an innings in Test cricket who readily come to mind are JIM LAKER of England who became the first bowler to enrol in the 10 wicket Hall of Fame when he bemused the Australians in a Test in England in 1956 with his mystery off spin.

He would have had another 10 wickets in the same Test, but fell short by just one wicket capturing 9 wickets in the second innings, a total of 19 wickets which up to now has not been equalled leave alone surpassed. Who knows it could last till the end of time.

Laker’s feat was equalled by India’s leg spin sensation Anil Kumble when he sent 10 Pakistani batsmen back to the pavilion bagging 10 wickets.

It was a stunning achievement in Indo-Pak tussles! And then there is that feat performed by former Sri Lanka fast bowler Pramodaya Wickremasinghe. Wickremainghe later served as a selector of Sri Lanka Cricket.

The latest to join this elusive and highly honoured 10 wicket haul in an innings Hall of Fame is left arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara who spun rings round the Saracens batsmen to capture 10 for 37 and a match haul of 16 for 110 which was a marvelous effort.

This was no fluke or a flash in the pan. It was a hard-earned achievement which should be leveraged for the greater benefit of Sri Lanka cricket. And yet, Pushpakumara seems to have been ‘pushed out’ after a game or two in Tests. We hope that resources with will be applied to coach him further and develop his talent so that he will get back into the Test radar.

It’s all in the family

The recent outbreak of tittle-tattle on social media when wives of players electrified the local social media grid with emotional outbursts has captured the attention of fans and even the administration. On the more charitable side what is interesting is that cricket is no longer a game confined to the playing field. It has become an integral part of family life. Dinner is eaten soon so that housemaids and Ammes are able to watch the match in progress; that kids complete their homework in double quick time and parents decide that bedtime is after stumps are drawn.

That says a lot to the new culture of cricket dominating many facts of our lives. Even in Parliament, bats are swung and balls bounced, and helmets are smashed as one player aims at another! Even the scoreboard that is the time clock freezes as the bouncer hits it rams. And so, what’s so strange that one spouse is upset with another?

Let’s take this all in lighter vein and enjoy the bigger picture that cricket affords....it’s all in the family, part of the family, for better or for worse, in sickness and health, until cricket does us apart! So help us God!

By the way play a straight bat and enjoy life now. It has an expiry date on it.

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