Thursday, April 05, 2007

Of names and games

After a really long time, I watched a cricket match yesterday. That sounds like I went to watch a minor local match, but it was the World Cup match between Sri Lanka and England. I wasn’t particularly enthused for a while, because I came home from work mid-way when Sri Lanka was batting and it didn’t seem interesting enough. But Pete decided that he wanted to watch England play as they’d not yet been knocked out of the Cup altogether. My mother was pretty interested as well, so I gave in gracefully to the majority decision (after throwing just the weeniest, teeny tiniest tantrum. I’ll have you know that democracy rules in this house - eventually.)

Anyway, when England was at the stage when the run rate needed to be 7.2 runs an over if they wanted to win, I perked up a little. At last the match was beginning to seem like a one-day international. I did think that Sri Lanka would win, as the English batting was a lot like India’s. Uninspiring. But then that cute-cleft-in-the-chin Ravi Bopara and Dennis Quaid-lookalike Paul Nixon began to whack the ball for 4s and sixers and the match finally got me hooked.

It came to a nail-biting finish where England had to score 3 runs off the very last ball to win. The tension was stretched to twanging point when Dilhara Fernando made the run-up to bowl – and then at the very last moment he didn’t let go of the ball! Talk about an anticlimax. The crowd booed like crazy and I must mention that I went a bit hoarse booing as well. The commentator said Fernando was probably holding the ball so tight that he couldn’t let go – but I cant help thinking that it was really a psychological ploy on Fernando’s part.

Imagine Ravi Bopara’s feelings at that point, when he was keyed up to maximum pitch, expecting the last ball of the final over to be bowled. The fact that the ball WASNT bowled would certainly have thrown his concentration out of gear, even if he looked calm enough.

That was why England lost. Because Fernando, in my humble opinion, cheated. Sri Lanka's win left a bad taste in the mouth because at the very last moment the game went from sportsmanship to gamesmanship. Shame.

By the way, don’t the Sri Lankans have lovely names? First names or surnames, they just roll off the tongue so beautifully and sound so gorgeous: Ranatunga, Sangakkara, Kulasekara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Malinga (although he looks like a poodle gone mad), Tharanga, Dilhara, Chaminda, Hasantha, Lasith - just lovely! Only Bengali names come close to sounding as nice.


Anonymous said...

i think you are being very harsh on (Though I never thought that we could lose. There's no regret. If I had to do the same again,I would, my friend) Fernando. sorry i could not help a bit of ABBA whenever i hear his name

he had a reputation as a choker for a long time and has only recently regained his place. so whether it was nerves on his part or whether it was mind games, it was just brilliant. bhoplaa could not handle it. this is what great sport is all about. who can hold their nerve and who can produce the goods when it really matters.

agree about the lankan names. there is something tragi-romantic about dilhara.

i was rooting for the lankans but the english did well to come back from certain defeat. also nixon as dennis quaid, no way. you are doing a real disservice to quaid.

now that india are long gone you can watch these matches and enjoy them for all the good reasons rather than cheering india along when all the while knowing that the next shambolic, illogical collapse is just along the way.


desi witch said...

i gave up cricket after the debacle of the indian team. i hereby will never ever watch cricket again. ummm... unless india is winning - which i guess means i will never ever watch cricket again.

brinda said...

hey shyam! it WAS a brilliant piece of playing -- ok, mind games and just not cricket... but what a finish!! and yes, lovely names - positively musical!

shyam said...

mr218: I've been thinking about your comment on Dilhara sounding "tragi-romantic" - I think it depends on the pronunciation! :) Dil-haara would make it "heart lost" but "Dilharaa" would be "(ever)green heart" :)

(Yep, I'm at work!)