The perfect host requires the perfect parasite…
Sri Lanka have failed to impress me during their tour this summer. Ok, so they were billed as an ‘ideal warm-up’ for the Indians coming later on, but this should have been a motivating factor for them to become so much more - rather than an excuse not to turn up.
The Test series was an embarrasingly one-sided affair, the chaps from Ceylon were saved a 3-0 drubbing by weather which refused to allow England more than 3 days worth of play to press victories. This was not unexpected, Engaland are formidable on their own patch, but the arrival of the key players in the Sri Lankan team too late to adapt to English conditions was a shambles. If they wanted to play in the IPL, then don’t play in the Tests. Simple.
After that, we were subjected to The Sanath Jayasuriya Tribute One Day Series. In which the great man could be revered for one last time by a nation in which he has frankly had zero impact. The 43 year old relic of a man played up to the crowd and took his reputation of trademark dashing innings’ to an extreme, making a glistening 2 and then 8. He had no ties to either of the venues he played at. His presence completely cheapened the occasion of International cricket. It was embarrassing. Even leaving aside his political career, where he has of course become part of a government widely condemned for a mass genocide against a significant part of it’s own population, this was pointless and felt like a rip-off. I was hoping for some quality cricket when I parted with my hard-earned to go to The Oval, not this circus act.
Thirdly, the saga of the Chandimal century. Sure, he played really well and he is new to the international arena. However we will not remember the innings due to the antics of compatriot Angelo Matthews, who blocked out 1 run from 21 balls, in the process bringing the game into a much closer contest than otherwise, in order for Chandimal to get to three figures. Any professional outfit, as per England with Cook left stranded on 95no yesterday, would have closed the game out. Sri Lanka showed a lack of respect, no doubt about it.
Just when I was composing a strongly-worded letter to the Members suggesting that we do not invite these curious fellows back to England for a while if they cannot be bothered to perform with dignity and grace befitting these shores, up steps Kumar Sangakarra. I’m not talking about his excellent knock yesterday, but a ‘Spirit of Cricket’ lecture given to te Members at Lords. The following is the close of the speech, I appreciate the entire thing is quite long but it is certainly worth a look.
A phenomenal speech; heartfelt, intelligent and well presented. This chap must have an English grandfather somewhere, surely?