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Murali misses out on an exemplary gesture

It could without any reservation or doubt be said, that the spinning wizard, Murali, has through the years made a stupendous contribution for the furtherance of cricket in this developing little island here - not forgetting as well, the attractive impact he has had on the world of cricket, to in a way ensure, that ‘Test cricket’ lives on.

Spanning a period of 17 years as an international cricketer, he has become arresting enough to be the cynosure - earning for himself in the process, many an encomium, accolade, praise and, of course the numerous awards, far too many to mention here.

It’s against this background, that our minds did focus on the two match winners, in the veteran spinning record holder, Murali, and the fledgling newcomer, the 23-year-old, Ajantha Mendis, as we awaited the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the first Test against India at the SSC.

Some of us had mixed feelings when Murali was adjudged ‘Man of the Match’. Whilst we were happy on the one hand, we on the other hand reasoned out that Murali has made a habit of winning varied awards, to the extent it has become monotonous and, to be more specific has won the ‘Man of the Match’ award on 19 occasions, a splendid achievement no doubt.

This being so, some of us felt that Mendis’ effort should have been recognised to be appreciated.

Though having a 17 wicket haul in the Asia Cup, we did not think that Mendis making his debut in this test match, would do much, perhaps at the most take the odd wicket or two, but he turned it on, to astound us all here and those abroad as well, by his amazing feat as a debut maker of having a match bag of 8 wickets, that has hardly a parallel for a Sri Lankan.

More importantly he proved to be the perfect foil for Murali, who with Mendis’ active support at the other end - did seem to get wickets easily without comparatively much labour.

The adjudicator might have thought otherwise in not picking Mendis, for the probable reason that an impressionable young mind, could be spoilt by an award of this nature.

And so the stage was set, and the opportunity to rise above the oft beaten track, presented itself to Murali, as he walked up to receive the award. He could have soared to far more greater heights, than the bowler he is - if he took everyone by surprise to say something to the effect, that he did not wish to embarrass the adjudicator, and with his concurrence, would like the award being presented to Ajantha Mendis.

Had this happened he would overnight be spoken of as a nobleman, further enhancing the image of cricket in this country and, his benevolent gesture serving as an exemplary beacon to the cricketers around the globe. But that was simply not to be and nothing sensational took place.

It’s a sad commentary of our times, that there isn’t room for such soul stirring sacrificial displays these days, which if indulged in would be regarded as being silly. The adamic nature in us, does not allow us to say no to money, for the more we have the more we want, likened to money gathering where money is.

How true it could be said of us as of old that “There’s enough and more for everyone’s need, but not enough for man’s greed.”


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