Well done President Rajapakse
President Mahinda Rajapakse would earn the plaudits of all sports
lovers, especially supporters of Sri Lanka's master basher Sanath
Jayasuriya for initiating an inquiry to find out as to why Jayasuriya
was dropped from the Test team touring India.
The President who was inundated with complaints, did right in asking
Minister of Sports Jeevan Kumaratunga to launch out on an inquiry and
get to the crux of the matter.
The inquiry would reveal all. Whether Jayasuriya was dumped for
fitness reasons, poor form or whether his detractors have ganged up to
prematurely end Jayasuriya's illustrious innings.
Lots of gossip was doing the rounds that Jayasuriya was wilfully
axed. President Rajapakse wanting to clear the air, ordered this inquiry
and it was a move well executed.
That Jayasuriya has done wonders for the game, no one would deny or
contest. He gave his everything for the game and country over the years
and Sri Lanka winning the World Cup in 1995/'96 was in a big way due to
his skilful and bludgeoning of opposing attacks.
It is every cricket fan's hope that Jayasuriya would consider this
setback as a bad dream and come back firing all cylinders and hungry for
more runs and wickets.
In Lanka's endeavour to grab the next World Cup in 2007 in the
Caribbean, Jayasuriya's presence is essential.
An allrounder of his calibre is hard to find.
When President Rajapakse ordered this inquiry, a similar incident
flashed to my mind. And that was when Prime Minister Sirimavo
Bandaranaike ordered the immediate recalling of former Sri Lanka skipper
Arjuna Ranatunga to the team when he was forced to suffer a suspension
for no fault of his.
The cyclops bent backwards to toss Ranatunga out of the game. Mrs.
Bandaranaike to whom representations were made, and realising the
machinations of Ranatunga's detractors, in consultation with the Cricket
Board President Tyronne Fernando got Ranatunga back into the game.
And what Ranatunga did thereafter - winning the World Cup being his
crowning glory - is history now.
Had Ranatunga's critics succeeded, Sri Lanka would never have won the
World Cup. Ranatunga with his fearless and dynamic leadership made other
cricketing nations regard and respect the Lankans by instilling in his
team, that the opponents were also after all human and that high and
mighty or colour was nothing to feel inferior or cringe.
So President Mahinda Rajapakse will earn rounds of thunderous
applause for his timely action.
England down to earth
Michael Vaughan's Englishmen who were riding a crest of a wave of
success, was brought down to earth with a thud by the marauding
Pakistanis led cleverly and more efficiently by Inzamam Ul Haq. The
three-Test series was convincingly pocketed by the Pakistanis 2-0.
When the England side arrived in Pakistan the stage was set for a
closely contested series. But what happened must have been galling to
That England came with a marvellous record did not cause the home
team any concern. The visitors were boasting after their Ashes success
against Australia, and apparently expected the Pakistanis to be easy
beats. But they did not reckon with a set of fighters, fine tuned by
skipper Ul Haq and coach Bob Woolmer and that they dented the
Englishmen's record did not come as a surprise.
While every Pakistani contributed, it would be unfair not to mention
the names of skipper Ul Haq, Akmal, Akhtar, Butt, Kaneira, and Yousuf.
The abovementioned fired, triggered by their other teammates and the
visitors were just sitting ducks.
Inzamam led from the front with high class batsmanship and captaincy.
Akhtar the 'Rawalpindi Express' thundered down blasting all England
barriers with tremendous pace.
Butt, Akmal and Yousuf provided the runs when needed and then
leg-spinner Kaneira had the visitors from Old Blighty in a flat spin
with leg spin and googlies that was a treat to watch.
England's big names Trescothick, Flintoff and Pieterson failed to
show consistency and add to their reputation and the end result was that
they had to go back with their unbeaten record in pieces.