From time to time we like to be cryptic. We usually don’t end up explaining what on earth we were on about about but this time we thought we should.

The IPL. And Sri Lanka.

In 5 short years the IPL has managed to polarize the whole fan base of Sri Lankan cricket.

We have the anti-IPL brigade who are willing to perpetuate, blindly at times, what a curse the IPL has been and how it has corroded the Sri Lankan players moral compass and sold themselves to the dollar bill.

Then there are the ones that are sympathetic to the players cause and their right to earn their keep while at the prime of their sporting being.

Then there are ones who prefer to watch Kate Upton’s profoundly magnificent lady bits bounce up and down on a Sports Illustrated video. Was that too cryptic? We mean to say they don’t really care. Couldn’t give a toss.

But the devils greatest trick was to convince us it doesn’t exist.

Rex Clementine and Arjuna Ranatunga have successfully propelled the anti-IPL agenda in the local and international media so much so that fan’s are now fighting each other.

If only the IPL were the actual devil it would be flattered by the disharmony it has caused. But the IPL does not care. The money printing machines keep turning and the dices keep rolling.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s player ratings are at an all time low. Fans would rather see players injured than see them play. Some would rather see them have their manhood strapped to high voltage devices to send them a discharge every time they take a wicket or score a run in the IPL.

It’s like watching an online civil war. Sometimes, wars are necessary for progress. But what are we really achieving with this one ?

The IPL and Sri Lankas dependency on it and the BCCI is reality. Sometimes that bastard bites. Deal with it.

There are greater battles to be won within Sri Lanka’s shores before we start trying to bite the hand that feeds. So many holes that need to filled at the SLC. At the roots level and at the domestic level.Shift your anger there. Demand that things are better at home first.

I don’t see Arjuna or Rex passionately fighting for a Provincial first class set up. Where is the uproar about playing 3 day first class cricket when even Zimbabwe plays a 4 day game? What about a single independent review of the board and its governance and structure on where it can be improve? Why not ask Dharmadasa to prove how he has things under control financially and how his 5 year plan is progressing?

Or have Sri Lankan’s become too desensitized to the fuckwitness of the board to think about hope change? Or are we just happy to be wrapped up in a pseudo bruhaha because it’s easier?

Don’t let the IPL win.

 

 

 

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We used to be so good together, you and I. Our affections grew as all great loves grow.

First, friendship and curiosity.

Then understanding and familiarity.

Then came 96.

Our love and passion for each other exploded out of no where like One Direction. Neither of us were prepared for it. But we knew we both wanted it.

A promise for life soon followed.

Years went on and still the passion was deep and strong like an Australian batting line up.

A lull.

And then a mistress.

The lies followed soon. Doubt crept in like a thief in the night, a small crack that grew steadily. Arjuna and Rex polluting our thoughts. Poisoning our minds. Tearing us apart.

We want it done and dusted. But we crave the pain. We want it to end. But we need each other. Love can be lost and re-found.

But you can’t tango with one person.

 

 

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Since we are busy protesting the contruction of a childrens playground in a sacred area where we play cricket Left_Arm_Shite has offered to fill in the holes for a little while. First up he deals with the Evil IPL.

The Dark Side of the Indian Pyjama League

I must confess to being far too much of an optimist for my own good.

When I first heard of the IPL I was filled with hope. Franchise cricket would blur national boundaries, break new grounds and capture new markets. Cricket could find it’s own Yao Ming, and

suddenly a billion Chinese would stand up and pay attention to our quirky game. There could even be a visionary evangelist in the USA who would grow the game in one of the toughest international sporting markets, and cricket would step out of the shadow of the commonwealth and genuinely take it’s rightful place on the world stage, and never again would I have to answer the most awkward of questions: Does this game REALLY go for five days?

Fast forward to the fifth edition of the IPL and things are looking significantly less rosy. The tournament itself continues to be embroiled in allegations of corruption, both on and off the field. The supposed cricketing evangelist of America, Allen Stanford, is serving some serious time after illegally procuring a lapdance from Matty Prior’s wife, and Lasith Malinga, the only decent Sri Lankan fast bowler produced in over 2500 years of recorded history, has decided to throw in his lot with the IPL and retire from Test cricket in order to prolong his Twenty20 career.

We have a predictable formula: Four well paid internationals, a couple of Indians on the gravy train, and four nuff nuffs get together in a park in India for a bit of hit and giggle. Bright lights, colourful outfits and faux hysteria from the commentary box, together with cheerleaders in skimpy outfits and a barrage of advertising complete the picture. Here is cricket – in the 21st century, for a consumerist TV audience, reduced to little more than a dramatic soap opera, for those with a short attention span, and a guarantee that an indian team can’t lose. Gideon Haigh was the first to use the term ‘Cricketainment‘ (hyperlink 1) to describe the scripted nature and the inane sameness of the entire spectacle, and while my original reaction was to dismiss it as cynical and resistant to change, the sage words of a brilliant cricketing mind have shone through.

So what of Test Cricket? The most destructive West Indian batman of his generation, Chris Gayle, was plying his trade in the pyjamas while his compatriots were engaged in a tough series against Australia. Malinga was preserving himself for the IPL since the 3rd CB series final in Australia in early March. As Damith wrote, the only worthy contribution from a Sri Lankan fast bowler in the recently concluded series against England was Prasad’s 34 runs at the top of the order when opening as a nightwatchman. Sri Lankan test cricket is crying out for a genuine strike bowler, and not just someone who will rough up the ball until the spinners are ready to bowl.

Of more concern to me is the recent fiasco involving Angelo Mathews. After much speculation that he should stop bowling in order to prevent his body from breaking down, he then proceeded to trundle away in the pyjamas, much to my chagrin. A few press releases and some stage managed PR have doused that fire somewhat, but the embers still glow ominously. Here is the future of Sri Lankan cricket willing to put himself and his country’s success at risk…for a paycheck.

Not to be entirely unreasonable – a paycheck for a Sri Lankan cricketer in recent times hasn’t necessarily been all that forthcoming. Sri Lankans, like many others, have a strong sense of family, and for a poor boy from the southern coast such as Lasith Malinga, the bright lights of the IPL and the prospect of being able to look after his family for life are strong motivating factors. This is not a matter of greed, but rather a simple risk/reward proposition, and after weighting the factors, test cricket is hardly going to come up trumps. This is evidenced by the recent English tour being truncated after two tests, where a third would have been a riveting spectacle for fans of the longer form of the game.

The ECB did well to identify the threat to Test cricket and headed it off by incentivising their central contracts to ensure that there was a much higher weighting for the longer form of the game. Cook, Strauss and Trott may not be top exponents of the reverse Dilscoop or the Switch-paddle, but I consider them to be the best top 3 in world cricket. Sadly, financial incentives are unlikely to work in Sri Lanka. Generally, an increase in a Sri Lankan player contract is proportionate to the level of disappointment they feel on pay day when nothing hits their account.

At my best friend’s wedding last week I promised him that we would travel to Sri Lanka for the next test series against England, stand on the old fort in Galle, have some good old fashioned banter with the Barmy army and get happy on arrack and Lion beer. His wife’s permission notwithstanding, I fear that there may not be another Lanka-England tour to go to, as the Asian bloc continue to question the relevance of Test cricket in the brave new world of pyjamas and DLF maximums.

But I’m an optimist, and I’ll always have hope.

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Its time to pick up the Kids from the Day care centre and start getting serious.

I heard Lalit Modi was arrested for having too much fun with the kids. Did he have a too many kids on his lap or something?

Anyway, time do some homework and get ready for some serious cricket in the form of the 2020 WC.

Someone asked when the test crickets back on. I said – who? Don’t know him.

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