26 September, 2020

A Fragmented Cup

Cloak-and-dagger politics and 30 meaningless matches offset the high romance of it all

A Fragmented Cup
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

THERE were happy winners; there are always happy winners. And yet, Sri Lanka's success had a romance to it. Don't they all, you may ask. But here, there was a story...and not the story you have read, about squabbles with Australia, the 'calling' of Muralitharan, the sledging, the decision not to play in Sri Lanka. No, I believe the romance began many years ago. I captained an MCC side to Ceylon in 1970 and a full England team in 1973. Both times, I was asked by the ICC to report on the possibility of a new Test country being born. I was all for Sri Lanka. There were enough clues to a bright future—the good grounds and the plans for stadia in Colombo and Kandy. In the wonderfully traditional schools in Colombo the most competitive cricket was played. Down south in the villages the game was captivating the young.

 Two decades down the line, the world has seen Jayasuriya, the Most Valued Player of 1996, who learned his game on rough ground down south. And the stroke-play, too—did we not see superb demonstrations from Aravinda de Silva? And...

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