Gravestone: Lankans lacked grace, eventually disgraced | Sunday Observer

Gravestone: Lankans lacked grace, eventually disgraced

If only the grass in Brisbane could weep and the wickets speak they would mourn with shame the premature death of the Sri Lankan team and demand an immediate cremation so no trace of the tragedy would remain in the memories of fans of a cricketing country which once were world champions.

And the Gravestone would read: “They lacked grace, were eventually disgraced.”

When a team plays at the Brisbane Cricket Ground one needs to be mindful that many a historic feat was created in this sacred precinct. It was here that once upon a time the Sri Lankans played against Australia and acquitted themselves so well, and it was here where Australia and West Indies played the first ever tied Test. And now we have this sorry spectacle of a shameless, gutless performance.

On the eve of the Test press briefing skipper Dinesh Chandimal was on record saying that they had watched how the Indians faced up to the Aussies and they would endeavour to perform similarly.

But what finally unfolded stunned those fanatic cricket fans who were taking in the action on the field or on TV and witnessed a lesson in how not to play the established and respected Test cricket. In Ripley’s Believe it or Not anecdotes here was a game scheduled for five days being over in just two and half days! This Test as a day/nighter played with a pink ball. After the damning defeat a wag commented: ‘Leave alone playing white ball cricket, red ball cricket or pink ball cricket, they will not be able to play even if cricket is played with a football! Watching the manner in which the Lankan batsmen, bowlers and fielders perform and the inept captaincy, it is apparent that game is drowning in the river of no return. Such is the level of frustration that it is pardonable to think which seems to hold no future will take an age to be reincarnated in a winning form. No purpose is served by flogging a dead horse. So we hold back the whip.

To add more woes to the game, Sri Lanka’s pace guns Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep and Dhusmantha Chameera go out of the Australia and South Africa series suffering injuries. Now these injuries happen because the player or players are managed poorly. They try to push too hard instead of playing to potential and then injuries occur. The team to watch, learn and emulate today is undoubtedly the high-riding Indian cricket team rich in all facets including that of Coaching, Management and Performance.

Over the years India produced brilliant individuals in the game, those who were better than the best known in the game. But what they inexplicably lacked was the all important ingredient and that is playing as a team which invariably leads to what is all about the game SUCCESS. India’s renaissance in the game did not come overnight.

The Indian Cricket Board meticulously put their cricket puzzle right by installing workers and not talkers into slots that were vital to make individuals with talent to play as a team. They worked hard as serious workers do. The workers achieved that with assiduous training, maintaining a good rapport between players and the coaching staff. For all this effort we have the finished product--- a team riding a crest of a wave of success and the team that other teams, are straining every nerve, sinew and muscle to beat.

The Indians put the pieces right when they hosted the once mighty West Indies to a series, causing severe humiliation to the visitors and their game and then touring ‘down under’ determined to cause havoc in Australian cricket on their territory. And the stunning success they achieved after 71 years beating the baggy greens is proof enough of their prowess and powers in the game.

We’ll begin with the selectors and the coaching staff. While the selectors picked the best talent with no interference from whatever powerful quarters, the coaching staff then took over, hammered into the squad the ingredients that go to make a winning team. The players grasped it with both hands and the bottom line – SUCCESS. India is now THE TEAM OTHER TEAMS WOULD LOVE TO HATE AND BEAT. Reminds one of the Australian teams of the past. The Indian selectors are a strong minded squad. They cannot be swayed. Nor the perks of office spoil them. Political influence is anathema to them. Players are chosen on Merit alone. Horses for courses. And their approach is paying off rich dividends.

The Coaching Staff – Head Coach Ravi Shastri, assistant coach Sanjay Bhangar. They are all competent in their jobs and could be described as the chosen people of the cricket gods. Then in captain Virat Kholi to him nothing matters, but looking after the welfare of his squad, cultivating a good rapport, making runs and big ones at that, and winning according to the rules being the bottom line for him.

As a batsman he is amazing. When his team loses early wickets he will put his hand up. Take on the opposing attack by the horns and make it look ordinary. Captaincy runs freely in his veins. Kohli tends to be a bit arrogant. Bu he can well afford it because his phenomenal success as captain and the avalanche of runs he makes allows him to be the self confident avatar that he has become.

The players chosen have talent oozing out of them in every form of game –T20, 50-OVER or Test cricket. And the players will play from out of their skins for the game, captain and country. They are positive, committed and dedicated and their approach is exemplary and admirable. These are ROLE MODELS we should emulate. By the way play a straight bat now and enjoy life. It has an expiry date on it.

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