Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category

What makes the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus so shocking?

March 20, 2009

“Our initial reaction was to worry that one of the Sri Lankan cricketers had been killed, as if their lives were somehow more important than the lives of the policemen who were escorting them. Such is the way of thinking after something like this.”

King Cricket March 3rd, 2009

This perception seems to be quite true, but why? Why is the outbreak of such abrupt violence in the world of sport more shocking but also more interesting than politically related violence?

Sport has a place alongside the political concerns of the ‘real world’. It allows people to invest massive emotion into something – a football team or national side, for example – without worrying about the implications. Sport offers a safe place to invest hopes and dreams. It has an elaborately constructed history of rules and rivalries that mirrors that of international relations. The crucial difference is that sport is not troubled by ethics (though it does have its own internal code of sportsmanship).

Mitchell and Webb show exactly why sport can mean everything and nothing at the same time, by reducing it ‘ad absurdum’. The sketch is funny because it’s completely accurate, but it’s not an indictment. All sports are repeating patterns which offer some kind of story to those who care enough and want to find it out. The sports journalist Simon Barnes, of the Times, describes himself as a storyteller in The Meaning of Sport.

But sport doesn’t have to mean anything at all. It’s voluntary; something to opt in and out of as you please. So when that dynamic works the other way round, when genuine tragedy and violence intrude upon this sporting Shangri-La, we feel that a violation has taken place. For all its bluster, sport is a passive thing, unlike the implicit and causal involvement of politics with current events. Sport acts outwardly only when its actions are unequivocally good; charity work, or the development of inner city areas for the Olympics, for example. It does this because it can afford to; being a luxury itself. Moments when athletes have been seriously endangered, or worse, represent an almost unthinkable reversal of this dynamic and as a consequence, they outgrow our usual (and well-used) terms for tragedy. They become somehow morbidly fascinating. Think of the Munich air disaster in 1958, for example, or the Superga Tragedy in 1949.

Obviously, this is not to say that they are comparatively ‘worse’ than similar events outside the world of sport. I am only trying to suggest why the conflict between violence and sport, whether intended or accidental, has a unique kind of impact. One thing, unfortunately, seems certain. Aggressors such as those who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team will be aware of the effect it has had. Sport, like everything else, is not sacred.

This is a ticklish topic. Please give constructive criticism or opinion.


Murali takes 502 wickets in a single match!

February 9, 2009

“India triumph despite Murali feat,”

the Beeb have misleadingly reported. What they mean is that India went over Sri Lanka with the heavy roller before peeling them off the outfield, propping them up with protective equipment and steamrollering them all over again. There was no ‘despite’ about it.

We are invited to believe that Murali achieved a superhuman feat of wicket taking, against which the Indians epically prevailed. Murali’s return of 1 for 60 in his ten overs was average, to say the most. To say the least, it was poor. To say less than that, it was below par.

Sehwag and Yuvraj were magnificent. Above par, even at the height they set the par. It was another smash and grab run raid from the top order, and another alarmingly mature display from Dhoni. In the one day game, at least, the heart of the Indian innings is being transplanted to him. He more than anyone is the difference between Australia and India – a leader cut from the same cloth as the rest of the side. And Indian tailoring is much better than Australian.

Muttiah the Mighty.

January 19, 2009

Like a viking god, Murali entered the mortal fray and wielded his willowy hammer. In a blaze of sponsors logo’s, surplus joints and eyeballs, he bent fate to his will and salvaged an incredible victory for the Lions, who for the second time looked to have been tamed by the Tigers.

Credit to the Wizard of the Willow, but also to the losing side (just).

Zimbabwe have just beaten Bangladesh in the first ODI. The power struggles continue in Bangladesh, but at least the Shak put in another hearty display! 3 wickets for 11 runs in 10 overs, and the only six of the match before he was caught for a disappointing 15.

I’m considering signing him for the Hawk-Mouth invitational XI, to be based on nothing but whimsy and personal preference…

Shak that thing!

January 16, 2009

“Shakib returns, there are fielders in the deep.” – J.R.R. Tolkein writes for Cricinfo.

And the very next ball Sanga’s caught and bowled! A huge moment in the match after the Lawyer’s anchoring 50.

And the next ball but one, Kulasekara’s out too!
Unbelievable, and they’re now odds-on favourites to win the game!


Can they do it?!

January 16, 2009

After the most unlikely victory over Sri Lanka to reach the Tri-nations final against the same opponents, Sri Lanka are halfway to an even more most unlikely repeat performance!

This time it’s with the ball that they aim to win it, having folded for 152 in their 50 overs. Sanath was run out in the first over by that man, Shakib Al Hasan, and the rest of the top order followed him out the door. Sanga is the only one showing resitance to Hossain and Mortaza, the openers. He is on 10 off 29.
The Love Shak is still waiting in the wings, shining his halo.

World’s best in waiting.

January 6, 2009

This teasing text landed in my inbox over Christmas from [insert witty callsign here]. It was certainly something to think about whilst munching on a turkey over Christmas.

“1. Katich
2. Vaughan
3. Amla
4. KP
5. Ryder
7. Flintoff
8. Swann
9. Morkel
10. Edwards
11. Johnson
12th man Oram

Predicted best world XI (test) for 12 months into the future.”

There are some notable omissions, and some surprising inclusions. How can Sharma be forgotten? How can it be forgotten that Ryder is in the team? Why is Oram so forgettable generally?

Can we agree on a Heaven Eleven for one year hence?

Let’s find out.