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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Sri Lanka Deserved To Win Yesterday's T20

If you're a cricket fan, you probably know of the events that took place in Melbourne yesterday between Sri Lanka and Australia. For those of you who aren't, however, let me recap.

Sri Lanka were playing Australia in their second and final T20 match at Melbourne. After winning their first T20 match, Sri Lanka had a chance of winning the T20 series and going home on a high note, especially after they lost the test series and drew the ODI series. After scoring a solid 164 in their allotted 20 overs, rain interrupted the Australian innings, forcing the game to be shortened to a Duckworth/Lewis adjusted total. Fast foward to the final over, and Australia needed 12 runs off the last 3 balls.

Now, here's where things got interesting.

vol fin_to_DivX_clip0 by Ianbishop

There's been quite an uproar about this whole incident from both sides, and quite frankly, almost all of them are wrong. An overwhelming majority of Sri Lankan supporters feel that we were fully within our rights to not only take time during the last delivery but to also retaliate in the way we did. Many cite the history of sledging done by Australian cricketers, especially against Sri Lankans, and justify using 'karma'. Then there are some who feel that we acted in an 'un-gentlemanly manner' and are embarrassed. I was very annoyed to hear the YES FM DJ Shanaka last night discuss the incident at length during his show, as he seemed to be one of those who thought we shouldn't be proud of this win, and that we had violated the "spirit of the game".
(He also says "mate" a lot, and that didn't help.)
I find all this mildly ridiculous. Who told us sport has to be civilised? The reason we have rules against misconduct is because in any contest of skill, be it boxing or backgammon, people get worked up. Expecting some form of natural decency in sport is like expecting the paparazzi to decline from publishing nude pictures of celebrities. Let's not forget that there was a time when the word 'sport' involved half naked, armed prisoners thrust into a ring with wild animals, fighting for their lives. You didn't have people walking away from the amphitheatre going "Oh well, that last decapitation was a bit much no? Bad manners to slice someones head off from left to right..."
I'm not saying we should allow games to descend into madness, but I'm all for allowing people to allow their emotions to get them going as long as it's within the rules of the game. If we expect players to behave under such a strict rule of conduct, up to the point where we don't allow them outbursts of anger or frustration, then we might as well stay at home and watch computer game simulations instead of the real thing.

Recently in the NBA there was a huge hue and cry during the Knicks and Celtics game, because a Celtics player (KG) allegedly insulted a Knicks player's wife during a game, which led to the Knicks player (Carmelo Anthony) not only losing his mind on the court, but also to waiting outside the Celtics team bus once the game was over to confront KG.
(Apparently he said his wife tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios, a claim he has since denied but that inevitably led to these t-shirts. I admit, I find it hilarious!)
But this is all irrelevant, because guess what - Carmelo took a series of ridiculously bad shots after that incident, made bad decisions, and was basically taken completely out of rhythm. Most importantly, the Celtics won.
The same applies here. If you're a professional athlete, with endorsements, a contract to play sport and have made this your livelihood, you better play with the right mixture of head and heart. If something as simple as delaying the game is going to irritate you to such an extent that you feel the need to push things along, perhaps you need some more time in the minor leagues. So what if the Sri Lankan players told him to eff off? Did he expect them to fall at his feet and immediately heed his words and bowl? Tempers flared, and for a change the Sri Lankans channeled their aggression at the opponent instead of themselves. A seasoned player would have recognised it for what it was - a simple, basic time wasting strategy aimed at unsettling the batsman. Hiding behind the vague and ambiguous "spirit of the game" banner will do you no favours, because at the end of the day contest has been designed to pick a winner, not the most gracious in defeat. 
Was it rude? Definitely; no one is denying that, and certainly Mahela's squeaky clean image will be tarnished. I'm sure he won't mind. Was it good for the sport? Perhaps not, but let's be honest; the cameras and mics don't catch everything that goes on during a game, be it cricket, basketball or any sport for that matter. Players say a lot of stuff in order to get under their opponent's skin. Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest player of all time was known to be a an especially good (and by that I mean bad) trash talker. Do you think he'll be remembered for that or for the 6 championship rings? Exactly.
David Warner and the crew can say what they want about the win, as well as the Channel 9 commentators. The bottom line is that while it wasn't pretty, the Sri Lankan team did nothing wrong.  No, the Sri Lankan's didn't deserve to win this because of karma or some form of justice. They deserved to win because they played like adults in the face of adversity, for the first time in recent memory. They played with fortitude and emotion, and it was the Australians who, for the briefest of moments, wilted like daisies under the glare of the Melbourne lights and a few accented invectives.


1 comment:

Whacko said...

Haha well, a game's a game isn't it? Slightly concerned that Sri Lankans can get so worked up over a few swear words exchanged in the heat of the moment and let slip quite terrifying rhetoric that could actually threaten their existence

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