Boys and girls bowl out political circus | Sunday Observer

Boys and girls bowl out political circus

Chaminda Vaas demonstrates to the fast bowlers before taking them out for a field examination
Chaminda Vaas demonstrates to the fast bowlers before taking them out for a field examination

As politicians cashed in to show their importance and nearly everyone had become an expert on security in the aftermath of jihadist bombings of churches and hotels, a group of boys and girls came out yesterday to showcase what most Sri Lankans wants to see best- cricket.

They were part of an ongoing project launched by the phone service provider Airtel to discover the fastest bowlers and help Sri Lanka replenish its depleted stock of cricketers some of whom will be playing with bloated tummies and ageing limbs during the upcoming World Cup in England.

The 100-year old Colts Cricket Club ground in downtown Colombo took a vibrant atmosphere as the budding aspirants bowled their hearts out in the country’s favourite passion while aiming to be crowned the fastest boy and girl fit for a fortune.

They all came under the watchful eyes of former World Cup champion bowler Chaminda Vaas who has been following their every move up-close and personal.

“These guys have got speed and fast bowling is all about discipline. I am certain that what they learn today they’ll be able to put to good use some day,” said Vaas.

One of the aspirants was a gangly six-foot six-inch 20 year old youth MRM Rimzi from a remote village called Thihariya in the Gampaha district who was hitting speeds in the 130s undeterred by his Ramazan fasting ritual.

Rimzi had never held a leather ball in his life before and all he did was pack a small bag and walk into a clinic held in Gampaha a few months ago armed with only a pair of running shoes to nudge project organizers.

“The one thing that all of them are interested in is how to bowl fast and where should they improve. So working with them is not a problem,”said Vaas.

Some of them came from as far away as Moneragala but only three hopefuls, two boys and one girl will be able to make it to the podium and possibly book a slot at one of Colombo’s elite clubs or even enroll at a school.

It won’t be the first time that Sri Lanka could have a fast bowler or bowlers unearthed through a mass public examination after current World Cup speedster Nuwan Pradeep Fernando was discovered through a similar hunt organised by an electronic media company some years ago.

Interestingly Nuwan Pradeep, as he is better known, hailed from Negombo that made world news not for cricket but after one of the jihadist bombers exploded his deadly merchandise in a church. Since then with fear gripping the country on a scale not witnessed even during the crippling 30-year civil war in the country, all sport was brought to a standstill as the buck was being passed around despite it being the only unifying force in a fragmented society.

But yesterday the country’s budding cricketers were not willing to buy a stalemated political circus.

 

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