The two K ’s of the gentleman’s game | Sunday Observer

The two K ’s of the gentleman’s game

Dimuth Karunaratne ‘Saviour’

For the best part of his career, he had only been a specialised test player. From a well-weather-beaten test player, when his team was in dire need of leaders and players; he was called to the 50-over format, too.

He featured, in the 2015 World Cup in a settled ‘A’ team, along with the “Big 4” (Kumar, Mahela, Malinga and Dilshan). The 1996 champions, managed to go a decent distance (Quarter-finals). But, after that did Dimuth disappear into thin air, on his own? No, it was the selection policy, Mahela has been cursing and harping incessantly, Mahela became sick and tired of it, and it fell on the deaf ears of SLC. In short, despite a team short of experience, let alone senior hands, Dimuth became a victim, too.

Would you believe that Dimuth reappeared, in fact, with the promotion to captaincy, after a lapse of four-years? In a Sri Lankan context, it’s nothing new. They landed, in the queen’s territory for cricket’s biggest prize, as underdogs and concluded the tournament, with their record having gone to the dogs.

With players not keen on captaincy, and with the SLC feeling certain past-captains not fit for the role, the task of taking the team forward was on his shoulders. Having to continue leading in the longest and the shorter formats, was agreeable based on the daredevil win at Durban, a one-of-a-kind win, and for dissolving the differences in the dressing room.

The former Joesphian, had also turned into a problem solver. In the midway mark of the ‘down under’ series, this year, the team was chaos with the team divided in to cliques. His job became an added ask. To play the Lankan brand of cricket, in the middle and to resolve the differences of opinions and disunity disturbing the team’s image.

He was entrusted with the ‘gelling job’, during turbulent times, against tough teams. Yet, to douse the burning fire, to turn tables and pull-off the out-of-the-ordinary, Dimuth, has beaten the odds, taking it head-on.

The test specialist, led from the front in a heroically rewarding effort. The latest, accumulating an aggregate of 226, by far, occupying the leading run scorer’s list in the series and from the front in, earning 60-points, in the World Test Championship, and going one-up in the series.

With the team recovered from tatters, World Cup performance taking a nosedive, from the consistent team Lankans were, Dimuth, along with being skipper, problem solver, match-winner, has also emerged, as the saviour for his profession. In his own way, sans song and dance, he has turned into a gentleman for the gentlemen’s game.

Knowingly or unknowingly, coincidentally unintentially after what the Kiwi captain had to endure with Karunaratne silently standing firm to keep the team intact, the two gentlemen have met, kicked off the World Test championships for their countries and continued the camaraderie.

Kane Williamson, a people’s person

 

Born in New Zealand, inspiredby cricket and adored by all and sort by cricket-crazies and commoners alike. His follower-base soared based on how he handled the waterloo at the World Cup, (the miss between-the-cup-and-the-lip for cricket’s most coveted prize). Kane and his fellow kiwis have been the most-awed and loved athletes, in the aftermath of the crazy climax.

Coincidence has been harsh on New Zealand and Sri Lanka’s cricket teams; the two have been the unluckiest teams falling painfully short of the fame and name of “World Champs”, since the 2007 World Cup up to.

The last two encounters for him, at the showpiece edition, were testing of nerves that made of ice. Overcoming the ‘insurmountable’ Indians, Williamson, took it as just another win, knowing the title deciding win was yet to come. Only for it to turn into a distant dream.

After booking the second successive final berth, Kane was ‘ice cool’, chewing a gum and engaging in post-match formalities. Had the result was the opposite, his counterpart captain, Virat Kholi, would have exploded in exhilaration and ecstasy, punched in the air till his shoulders took the toll, showcased his acrobatic skills, with a cartwheel and, even, provoked the calm normally kiwi spectators with his celebration.

What ensued, in the match that mattered the most, was too much to take. Sorrowful, agonising, cruel, harsh and hard.

During the process of forgetting a inmemorable World Cup, a Sri Lankan tour had been fixed. Near-champs came down, visited Crescat Boulevard, and the date was nearing.

Sri Lankans were captivated and attracted like a magnet towards the Cool Kane, and a small group of spectators decided to treat the birthday boy.

He was taken by surprise, when the group comprising a dozen or so, threw him a quick party, with a chocolate cake. Gracious first, courteous next, in between over’s he quickly ran over to the boundary, attended to them, was fed and fed in return, boosted his popularity with some selfies, returned and reported back for action. He had certainly become the people’s person.

The Sri Lankan stay has been a mix of good and not-so-good. Enjoying the pinnacle of popularity by becoming the darling of the crowd, setting an example on how to accept heart-breaking defeats, leaving lasting lessons on leadership and teamwork, followed by poor returns, in the opening test. The 29-year-old’s most-recent timeline has been a balance, though.

 

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