Island Cricket

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Muralitharan's world record knocks civil war off front pages in Sri Lanka

KANDY, Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan newspapers, normally devoted to the country's civil war and chaotic political scene, had some good news on their front pages Tuesday — offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan's record-breaking success.

"Congratulations Murali" said The Island newspaper, with a picture of Muralitharan being held aloft by Sri Lankan players on Monday after becoming the world's leading test wicket-taker.

The Media center for National security in Sri Lanka had the following headline on it's homepage.

'Well done Murali!' - MCNS

I must confess that before I was exposed to the bitter and harsh winters of North America I spent many of my most memorable years growing up next to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, I spent 20 years on the island of Sri Lanka. So it would be fair to say as a Sri Lankan Muslim and being neither Tamil nor Sinhalese I was exposed to both the glory and the gory of the island in a non-partial way.

Our inability to 'let things go' or forget the past has ensured that yet another generation of Sri Lankan's will face what my generation did. Going to school amidst suicide bombs and curfews was part and parcel of growing up in the 90's in Lanka.

I am sure that I'm not alone in all this; I clearly recall the only thing that would put an end to dinner time conversations on politics and war was cricket.

"That bugger De Silva is batting well no?" "Pukka batsman men!"

Sri Lankans tend to add the word 'No' and 'men' after every sentence and my dad was no different.

As the 90's progressed Sri Lanka finally had a bowler who was classy enough to be brought into dinner time conversations.

We had prolonged periods of talking about the game and Murali's skill; No war, no bombs and no conflict. Murali has played a similar part in the lives of countless number of others.

His drive to survive scrutiny at the hands of the game's governing body and the game's most influential nation Australia gave a generation of youth in Sri Lanka a new found hope.

Sri Lankans regardless of ethnicity,caste or creed grew up loving this Tamil man who brought recognition and fame to our beloved island. When Murali performs his magic the war comes to a stand still. That fact alone ensures he has achieved alot more than any bowler has on or off the field.


Anonymous said...

A true national hero! Superb article hilal!

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