Cricket April 13, 2007

The reasons we root for Sri Lanka

Watching Chaminda Vaas open the bowling yesterday (three overs, no runs, two wickets) was scary, it was like being allowed to watch a master hit man at work
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Watching Chaminda Vaas open the bowling yesterday (three overs, no runs, two wickets) was scary, it was like being allowed to watch a master hit man at work. First his bunny, Stephen Fleming, trapped in front, business as usual. Then the right-handed Taylor done by the ball that didn't come back at him, caught Kumar Sangakkara, diving to his right. Not a run conceded in eighteen balls. Match over in three overs. And all this at under 120 kmph. No sound, no fury: just lethal seam bowling with the silencer on.

Why does watching Sri Lanka win give non-Sri Lankans so much pleasure? It's not because they're the little guys. They're not. The Sri Lankans won the World Cup eleven years ago: they've been big boys in the one-day game for over a decade now. No, we love watching the Sri Lankans win not out of chivalry, but because they're the new West Indians. Their crowds make more musical noise than Caribbean spectators ever did and their players do the gay cavalier business to the manner born.

Three of these guys are so old they should be playing veterans' charity matches. Vaas, Murali Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya helped Sri Lanka win the Big One in the last millennium for god's sake! Sanath's even retired once. But instead of sitting on their rocking chairs waiting for their pension cheques, they're in the West Indies, terrorizing a new generation of cricketing infants.

Who can forget Vaas's return catch to dismiss Robin Uthappa? Young Uthappa decided to go after the slow-bowling ancient, whacked him for a couple of fours and then swatted another ball (that flat-batted straight hit that modern batting brutes so favour) only to have Vaas catch it with both hands on his follow through. Exit, bewildered youth, sent on his way with a few instructions.

If Vaas favours the cold steely look, Muralitharan is the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of modern cricket: like the giggling guru, he just never stops grinning. Watching him frolic with delight after taking catches in the outfield as the Sri Lankans picked off long-faced Indian batsmen, I wondered why Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar and the rest didn't smile more. Why did they always look like oppressed Atlases holding up a billion people?

And then there's Jayasuriya: he has held Sri Lanka's batting together for a decade now and he has bowled more balls in one-day cricket than most specialist bowlers. But does he go around looking as if he's in the trough end of a manic-depressive cycle? No. He gets hit by Shane Bond (consensually the most fearsome fast bowler on view in this tournament) and then takes the Kiwi attack apart in trademark fashion. I look at him and think, if he can carry on batting exactly the way he has always done at the top of the order, why is Tendulkar batting like a barnacle at number four?

Nor do the young ones show any sign of being mass-produced mediocrities: as an Indian fan I've seen a lot of those in the last two years. Lasith Malinga's so wonderfully strange they should freeze him in his delivery stride and suspend him in formaldehyde for posterity. Chamara Silva is the kind of young batsman Team India would die for. Even the middling Sri Lankans, neither young nor old, are remarkable. Sangakkara is on the brink of batting greatness, he's a fine wicket keeper and he talks such a good game that most countries would have fast-tracked him into captaincy by now. Dilhara Fernando, after years of waywardness is bowling fast and straight again.

They won this one without Malinga, but they'll need him against the Australians. I'll be rooting for the Sri Lankans to win for many reasons and one of them is that Sri Lanka is the only team on show that brings the variety of Test match bowling to limited overs cricket: medium, fast-medium, fast, plus left-arm orthodox and right arm off spin, absurdly unorthodox! Blond highlights, round-arm thunderbolts, leg-spinning off-spinners, deadly old men: weird and wonderful is what they are—it's why we love them.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Esha on August 25, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    I need help. I want to know the full form of the name of this cricketer "Chaminda vaas". Its a short form itself of a big name. plz help me out.

  • sri lankan on April 27, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    sorry about the last one, other indians.it was an answer to sameer

  • Gijs on April 27, 2007, 18:19 GMT

    Nicely written piece! Completely share your sentiment. As a dutchman I strongly root for Sri Lanka, because of the joy they bring to their game. I have more than enough of the clinical and brutal way in which the Aussies have hammered themselves towards the finals

  • sri lankan on April 27, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    tendulkar's time has ended.maybe his head is too large to put into his helmet.and when england toured sl in 2003/04,thanks to your brlillant umpire venkat they survived about 5 lbs for the last wicket and survived the match.tilakarathne was captain then.and talking of umpires having their fingers on their hats,why won't you learn a bit of hitory your self.one of your brilliant umpires did the same but your side lost the match

  • ruwan perera on April 27, 2007, 3:42 GMT

    It was 1996 when I was 21 & was at university ,I could remember the date march 17th or near by all guys were in full run & occupy the TV in the canteen. All were juvenated & mummered go sri lanka go. That were thousands places in the country & millions of people all were supporting Sri Lanka . That time has come again. Only less than 36 hours away .

    Why we say they should win. More promptly as I am a Sri Lankan. no that is only the truth of 20 5. Whole the story says they should win as they are the most comprehensive team in championship.

    Can any one leave the leading wicket taker of the tournament............ Can any one leave world best ever spinner Can any one leave best initiative bowler .. & play against Auisis with considering triumph & disaster are the same..... That is only Sri Lanka who has done first time in 1996.. the damage & now they are getting ready. They r on their way without taking into account what Ian chappel or ponting says.

    There is a target set by them. this the best flow one can see which may be the best in the world. their moral is high. Their Morality is the best as well. Did gilchrist left the creese when umpire Billy Bowden said he was LBW .Din't macclum frown at umpire doctrove when given LBW. Both were plumbed. But remember againsr ausies when Doctrive went against sangakkara when bowl flow very top of wkt . my guy leaned to umpire & went. Remember Mahela went off line decison for stumping when felt he had gone . How many examples we can set on Sanga, Santh, Mahela ..& all Sri Lankan son these. We are proud on u guys.

    On top of all those world most experienced white umpires are playing jokers. Don’t you think against Chamara & Dilshan in newzeland match they had given outs purposely. Ruddy was too rude on Dilhara & after that he went for many more runs. But all in all what we know about Sri Lnakans is they are pretty much like to walk on fire rather than walk on water. Don’t call for Sanath & kumar mor their fires as well. But ICC it is your duty to place right umpires for the final .

    we saw them as a team.not only at first time enters to ground grouping. Once a bowler fails mahela went to him & had a chat,if next bowl if he hit Sanga came to him all the way & had a chat., from the our side of boundry Malinga encourages him. What a effort .This is the true team ship. Remember in the first 2 matches how Sanath has pushed Mahela to bat like a Father. after that. How calmly jiant Sanath batted.How guided out of form Upul Tharanga.

    I am suar they will win for sri lankans. Ausises are the best. but sri lankans are the very best.

    Go guys go...

  • Rohan on April 27, 2007, 2:47 GMT

    You boys have already taught a good lesson to third world bullies Amnesty International by coming to the finals. We play according to the rules Amnesty, take it from Sri Lanka. All the best for a 2nd World Cup.

  • champ on April 27, 2007, 0:18 GMT

    How they share in this big event 2007 world cup final. Asantha VS Trevor Moody vs Buchanan Mahela vs ponting Sanga vs Gilchrist Sanath vs Hayden Vas vs Magrath Malinga vs Tait Chamara vs Clarke Dilshan vs Symonds Murali vs Hogg

  • Cricket Fan on April 26, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    SL won most of matches in their home between 1988 - 2000 with the help of umpires. they cannot deny this truth. now they are sledging others:)). very funny. i hope no any lankan fan missed the 2003 wc match between SL and NZ, sanath was caught behind and rudi koetzen didnt rule him out :). ok, next Sl vs Wi in 2003 WC, hinds was given a faulty lbw by indian umpire venkat and a boot catch for ridley jacobs, umpiring is not so easy, if they give on favor of sl, its umpire decision, against sl, its biased umpiring, shame on u

  • Sameer on April 26, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Aussies did bad in lanka ? That is a post worth 2 hoots. 2004 --> SL loses 0-3 to Aussies in home series....ODI series -- 2-3 loss to Aussies...Poor Hashan Tilakrathne resigns and retires....King of Chucks took 28 wkts in 3 games to Warney s 27 in 3, but was unable to win even a single game for SL.....Same year later in Aus the test series was lost 0-1...And one was drawn!!!!!!

    By the way Manjula i admire your spirits. Unfortunately SL is not the best thing to have happened to the world cricket, they dont even have a rich and old cricketing tradition as Indians and Pakistanis have....All they have an array of comical umpires like BC Cooray and Ashoka DeSilva who had taken their finger up to give the decision and then later they realized it ws not out and then took the finger to land on their own hat......And firstly learn how to post on blogs, public forums.....Get this knowledge and a bit of cricket history too and then post and try to sound as granny....

  • manjula on April 26, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    For people who think the Aussies the world best team go to stat and see how good they were in sri lanka against sri lanka. they look like minnows:-> aussies are going to get the match of there life in saturday. Only thing that can save them is bias umpiring nothing else. More often than not ponting was LBW to vass but never a decision was in his favor

  • Esha on August 25, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    I need help. I want to know the full form of the name of this cricketer "Chaminda vaas". Its a short form itself of a big name. plz help me out.

  • sri lankan on April 27, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    sorry about the last one, other indians.it was an answer to sameer

  • Gijs on April 27, 2007, 18:19 GMT

    Nicely written piece! Completely share your sentiment. As a dutchman I strongly root for Sri Lanka, because of the joy they bring to their game. I have more than enough of the clinical and brutal way in which the Aussies have hammered themselves towards the finals

  • sri lankan on April 27, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    tendulkar's time has ended.maybe his head is too large to put into his helmet.and when england toured sl in 2003/04,thanks to your brlillant umpire venkat they survived about 5 lbs for the last wicket and survived the match.tilakarathne was captain then.and talking of umpires having their fingers on their hats,why won't you learn a bit of hitory your self.one of your brilliant umpires did the same but your side lost the match

  • ruwan perera on April 27, 2007, 3:42 GMT

    It was 1996 when I was 21 & was at university ,I could remember the date march 17th or near by all guys were in full run & occupy the TV in the canteen. All were juvenated & mummered go sri lanka go. That were thousands places in the country & millions of people all were supporting Sri Lanka . That time has come again. Only less than 36 hours away .

    Why we say they should win. More promptly as I am a Sri Lankan. no that is only the truth of 20 5. Whole the story says they should win as they are the most comprehensive team in championship.

    Can any one leave the leading wicket taker of the tournament............ Can any one leave world best ever spinner Can any one leave best initiative bowler .. & play against Auisis with considering triumph & disaster are the same..... That is only Sri Lanka who has done first time in 1996.. the damage & now they are getting ready. They r on their way without taking into account what Ian chappel or ponting says.

    There is a target set by them. this the best flow one can see which may be the best in the world. their moral is high. Their Morality is the best as well. Did gilchrist left the creese when umpire Billy Bowden said he was LBW .Din't macclum frown at umpire doctrove when given LBW. Both were plumbed. But remember againsr ausies when Doctrive went against sangakkara when bowl flow very top of wkt . my guy leaned to umpire & went. Remember Mahela went off line decison for stumping when felt he had gone . How many examples we can set on Sanga, Santh, Mahela ..& all Sri Lankan son these. We are proud on u guys.

    On top of all those world most experienced white umpires are playing jokers. Don’t you think against Chamara & Dilshan in newzeland match they had given outs purposely. Ruddy was too rude on Dilhara & after that he went for many more runs. But all in all what we know about Sri Lnakans is they are pretty much like to walk on fire rather than walk on water. Don’t call for Sanath & kumar mor their fires as well. But ICC it is your duty to place right umpires for the final .

    we saw them as a team.not only at first time enters to ground grouping. Once a bowler fails mahela went to him & had a chat,if next bowl if he hit Sanga came to him all the way & had a chat., from the our side of boundry Malinga encourages him. What a effort .This is the true team ship. Remember in the first 2 matches how Sanath has pushed Mahela to bat like a Father. after that. How calmly jiant Sanath batted.How guided out of form Upul Tharanga.

    I am suar they will win for sri lankans. Ausises are the best. but sri lankans are the very best.

    Go guys go...

  • Rohan on April 27, 2007, 2:47 GMT

    You boys have already taught a good lesson to third world bullies Amnesty International by coming to the finals. We play according to the rules Amnesty, take it from Sri Lanka. All the best for a 2nd World Cup.

  • champ on April 27, 2007, 0:18 GMT

    How they share in this big event 2007 world cup final. Asantha VS Trevor Moody vs Buchanan Mahela vs ponting Sanga vs Gilchrist Sanath vs Hayden Vas vs Magrath Malinga vs Tait Chamara vs Clarke Dilshan vs Symonds Murali vs Hogg

  • Cricket Fan on April 26, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    SL won most of matches in their home between 1988 - 2000 with the help of umpires. they cannot deny this truth. now they are sledging others:)). very funny. i hope no any lankan fan missed the 2003 wc match between SL and NZ, sanath was caught behind and rudi koetzen didnt rule him out :). ok, next Sl vs Wi in 2003 WC, hinds was given a faulty lbw by indian umpire venkat and a boot catch for ridley jacobs, umpiring is not so easy, if they give on favor of sl, its umpire decision, against sl, its biased umpiring, shame on u

  • Sameer on April 26, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Aussies did bad in lanka ? That is a post worth 2 hoots. 2004 --> SL loses 0-3 to Aussies in home series....ODI series -- 2-3 loss to Aussies...Poor Hashan Tilakrathne resigns and retires....King of Chucks took 28 wkts in 3 games to Warney s 27 in 3, but was unable to win even a single game for SL.....Same year later in Aus the test series was lost 0-1...And one was drawn!!!!!!

    By the way Manjula i admire your spirits. Unfortunately SL is not the best thing to have happened to the world cricket, they dont even have a rich and old cricketing tradition as Indians and Pakistanis have....All they have an array of comical umpires like BC Cooray and Ashoka DeSilva who had taken their finger up to give the decision and then later they realized it ws not out and then took the finger to land on their own hat......And firstly learn how to post on blogs, public forums.....Get this knowledge and a bit of cricket history too and then post and try to sound as granny....

  • manjula on April 26, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    For people who think the Aussies the world best team go to stat and see how good they were in sri lanka against sri lanka. they look like minnows:-> aussies are going to get the match of there life in saturday. Only thing that can save them is bias umpiring nothing else. More often than not ponting was LBW to vass but never a decision was in his favor

  • Sameer on April 26, 2007, 15:28 GMT

    Its a pity that subcontinent team would loose for 3rd time in a row to Australia. Somehow Indians were close enoguh to beat them in 2003 but then Zaks did a blunder!!!! Meanwhile visit http://cricketsummer.blogspot.com/2007/04/world-cup-huge-disgrace.html

  • Sameer on April 26, 2007, 14:57 GMT

    Aussies would beat Lanka, blue and green, red and white, black and yellow. Someone saying smthin abt Sachs, n comparing to a new skipper called Mahela...When Sachs started playin, Mahela wud hv been a toddler just learnt to run and walk on the field, when he made his debut in that worst test match of the history, Sachs was world s best batsman...And today Mahela j is by not even 2% of what Sachs is...Forget wot Indian media or ex-players or fans say, Sachs wud remain an eternal delight to watch and cherish, so have some respect for the great man....

  • jose thomas on April 26, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    I guess I am not a great SL fan..when India is out..the next team I root for is Pakistan...then England...then the Aussies...the Lankans...i dont know...

  • SL fan on April 25, 2007, 17:54 GMT

    nice post writer ,,

    and have to clap to the comments made by MR.DELEEP.

    iTS OBVIOUS THAT THERE ARE SOME PLANS TO EXCLUDE ASIAN UMPIRES FROM CRICKET.(well.. WE WILL REALIZE IT when its too late..)

    wat a howler LBW's by white umpires...(Most capped umpire OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT)

    But the commentators dont talk about that and they only talk about bad decission of Dhar(PAK umpire).. well it seems like there re more plans hidden in the closet of the English Rajs..

  • Chaminda on April 25, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    Regarding Mr.Ranjith Fernando’s matter, I totally agreed with the fact that Mr.Ranil Abenayake is a far better commentator than Mr.Ranjith Fernando. Also we don’t need a budy to say yes to what ever saying by the white fellows.

  • shiva on April 25, 2007, 7:17 GMT

    Dear Sachin Tendulkar,

    Please watch the recordings of Mahela Jayawardena's innings against New Zealand in the semis. Watch it ten times if you are as humble as we are led to believe.You will then realise what it means to play for the team and when it matters. You will then realise what it means to have a performer in the team rather than a star. And finally, you will realise why you are not and nor were you ever as great an asset to the Indian team as the media and probably you too have considered yourself to be.

  • Adnan on April 25, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    neither lankans are going to win the final,nor south africa. australia will again become the world champions as there is no other team in comparision to them. they have smart players. they are a hard working team and they dony play for money. there aim is to win 100 percent. so i think aus will win al least 3 wc cups more.

  • Harshana Somapriya on April 25, 2007, 6:34 GMT

    Hi Sameer, 6 days, 2 hours ago you predicted;

    'New blog started, come there, spare this one.

    Aus VS SA --

    NZ VS SL ---> NZ wins

    Aus VS NZ ---> AUS wins....

    Next world cup is in India and SL along with Pakistan and Ban....C u then with India beating Lanka all ends up!!!!!'

    Now SL has made NZ looks like a minnow team at the semis. U must be crying now. So don't make any predictions out of rage, dispair and jealousy henceafter, because that can make a fool out of you.

  • gaminid on April 25, 2007, 4:43 GMT

    Well, time flew to those who really loved cricket. Although there have been some 'mis-matches' with India and Pakistan eliminated in the first round, all-in-all it is a good world cup. Thanks to SL for providing life to this tournament with some of the nail biting finishes they were involved with. Of course, England Vs West Indies provided another cracker, although the great Lara's swansong being somewhat spoilt. Coming back to yesterday's game, can anyone remember an innings such as Mahela's yesterday, boring in the 1st twenty overs or so (with me cursing for his boring blocks and jabs) and then bringing an unbeleivable accelaration to it towards the dying overs? I give the full credit of this transformation to Dilshan. Dilshan coming to the crease in the 40th over or so, never blocked any ball and showed his captain the way by using his feet fluently. Mahela being an excellent test batsman emulated his junior's wisdom to full effect. A very rere gem of an innings from the ever improving Srilankan captain. It's true that during almost 40 overs of that SL inning the spectators were cursing for the boring cricket (except for the run a ball Tharanga comeback) they have been playing.The NZ inning was in tatters from the word go.It was amazing the confidence young Malinga has acheived during a very short period. His unplayable over to Ross Taylor was a beauty. SL made a mockery of themselves by giving 60 odd runs to the last pair. Mahela must be disappointed that he did not bowl Murali for his 10 overs, when he was on song. All the media hype about Bond -Jayasuriya contest became null and void with both performed miserably bad. Whatever happens in the final, team SL had done themselves and us proud. Hats off to the guys. All the best in the Finals!!

  • grey goose on April 25, 2007, 3:54 GMT

    There was only one thing that keeps away from watching the world cup.....The name is Ranjit Fernando. I mute my TV when he comes on. God....He truly suckz.

  • men in blue on April 24, 2007, 11:19 GMT

    What happened to Ranil Abayanayaka? He is a better commentator than Ranjith Fernando. They should omit ranjith Fernando and hire ranil abyanayaka for future matchers played by srilanka

  • kaushala on April 24, 2007, 9:49 GMT

    What an Article?....77000 words in commenting an article of 700 words (so far) :)...Weather SL win the Semi-Final or not...SL has already won many many many hearts.!!....

  • Sena on April 23, 2007, 9:32 GMT

    I agree with Damith (Kethaka). When Mukul wrote "Why we root for Sri Lanka" I was so happy!!. Suddenly I saw lot of comments degrading our team which racist in form and offensive, definitely I or any Lankan will be compelled to defend the lankan team but more than that our country SRI LANKA. I have many times, tried to explain Sameer, but invain. He keeps posting comments which are very offensive. Anyhow Mukul thanks for you support to our Lankan team and of course lets hope Lanka will win the Semi tomorrow.

  • deleep on April 23, 2007, 6:05 GMT

      Have to say this loud and clear;

    WAS WATCHING ALL THE WC MATCHES FROM 1992. AND there were good umpires from asia at all those. WOW... wat a planned trend we are seeing now. No umpire from Ind for nowadays matches.... Since ind is not there, we should have had more Indians there. they can blame the quality and kick out asian umpires... but we all know why they are slowly elimenating asian umpires.. DONT WE??

    PCB and BCCI have to be more active...We have to have some top officials at ICC from asia..

    We need asina ADMINISTRATOR'S TO BE AT THE ICC// There s the most capped match official in ICC(Ranjan madugalle-SL) but apart from that where are other asians @ ICC big chairs Its TOTALLY CLEAR cause we generate the most income for CRICKET AND KEEP THE GAME ALIVE....

  • gujra on April 23, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    Lastly have to say this; All OZ's and english commentators were having such a fuss about SL not playing their best team with OZ, but when those cunning NZ tactics hid their only best bowler ,there s no talk at all...YEAH NICELY THEY COVERD IT UP....

    Bond was said to b suffering stomach virus-- COME ON, WAT A CONVENIENT VIRUS TO HAVE IN YOUR GUTS.. WELL NO ONE CAN PROVE IT AND NO ONE CAN REJECT IT ...

    that s why They are so winning and never blamed and all the time blame is with the asians...(i.e. = PAK AND IND WERE BLAMED FOR LOT OF SET UPS BY THEM).....

    PS: now is the time BCCI have to be more active...We have to have some top officials at ICC from asia.. esp India. Its fair cause we generate the most income for the ICC>

    AND WAT I WAS SHOCKED TO SEE WAS -- WHERE ARE ALL THE INDIA UMPIRES... ONLY 2 PAK UMPIRES WERE THERE TO REPRESENT WHOLE OF ASIA..... and as neutrals we should had more PAK and INd umpires...well we might not see it.But all are were long term plans made by the WELL-KNOWNS TO KICK ASIAN'S OUT FROM THE RULING POSTS,. wake up BCCI and WAKE UP ASIAN. WE SHOULD HAVE TOP PPL AT ICC AS ASIANS.

  • chand on April 22, 2007, 15:28 GMT

    If you really want to see a very good commentator from Sri Lanka, may be you have to wait for some time until Sanga will come to the field.

    Now, let him play and let his bat and the keeping do speak!

    May be some of the guys would be disappointed then, and ask for Ranjith: “a very kind guy you can ask any stupid question about SL team and get away with it.” again.

  • Sachintha on April 21, 2007, 16:30 GMT

    Enough of Sri Lanka - India debate. Mukul, how about a Blog for the Great Brian Lara? I think we all have got a few words to say about this man - one of the greatest batsmen of all time...

  • Pax Deorum on April 21, 2007, 14:16 GMT

    To add to Asian and Proud of It, there is really no reason to be jealous and covetous of one another. Jealousy and covetousness is the result of resentment at another's success/fortune. It leads to all the evils in the world including vindictiveness at being wronged. So, both attacker and victim become victim and attacker. They slip into a dance of death.

    It is really quite simple. See that every line drawn and position adopted is simply a response to one's own perception. It has little or nothing to do with the actuality of the matter. The reality proffered is simply a self-induced one in response to extreme passion. Passion distorts and therefore is it delusionary.

    At another level, neighbours just need to live in mutual respect and esteem. For that to be possible, charity must first begin at home before it can get extended to neighbours. When there is no charity at home, there can also be no good neighbourliness. There appears to be evidence of that in this forum.

    As for Sri Lanka, they will need to raise their game to a hitherto unattained level if they are to beat the Aussies (assuming they reach the finals first). While confidence is a good thing, it can also be a mask for arrogance or rank stupidity. While the Aussies can perhaps afford to be arrogant, Sri Lankans must take care to be skillful in their approach to the contest. On current evidence, the Aussies are going to scythe through their batting. So, Sri Lanka will have to think creatively about their batting. Bringing Marvan back for the semi-finals may be a step in the right direction.

    It may even turn out to be a good strategic ploy (provided he is in good nick in the nets). He will have a point to prove, and will perhaps surpass all expectations.

    I expect Sri Lanka would try Marvan out at the semi-finals at the expense of Tharanga.

    So, yes, go Sri Lanka and do all of us proud... but also, may the best team prevail. The semi-finals will be a good indication of what will happen in the finals.

  • Charmin on April 21, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    The last encounter between SL and Aus wasn’t a thrilling game thanks to the ICC format of the World cup. Both teams been already qualified for the semifinals, the result of the match would make a difference only to their final standings. Cricket loving people all around the world were eagerly waiting to see an exiting close contest; however, SL surprised everybody without playing their key bowlers and it has been criticized by cricketing experts and makes mockery of SL team selection.

    Though it’s seen as negative move by SL, they have a right to do that and in my view there will be lot of positive outcomes of it. As well known commentators predicted that SL would be the potential opponent of Aus in the Finals, if they play their strongest team, it would be a dress rehearsal for Australia than SL. Australia hasn’t played against Murali, Malinga in the resent years.

    Why did this happen in this world cup? When it comes to world events such as Football, Athletics, Swimming …etc, the hype of the contest increases as the event progressed to the finals. In this world cup there was only few close games namely SL & SA, SL & Eng. In that aspect, last two or three world cups including this; make the game of cricket unpopular among lot of people. Australia being the tournament favorites and qualified for the semi-finals, they can take maximum risk at this stage to demolish the SL or NZ even if these teams come up with their strongest combination. It may do nothing but demoralize their key weapons. Whole scenario would have been different, if these teams met in the early stage of Super 8s where all teams keen on getting points.

    Time has come for ICC to come up with whole new approach to the world cricket as cricket is being very popular as a boring game. To prevent the occurrences of this nature, ICC has to critically analyze their tournament format. Similarly, they should encourage countries that are already arrived to the world level (Ireland, Bangladesh) to maintain and improve their standard. There’s no point playing number of matches among super 8s without a curtain razor to decide the top 4. On the contrary, in 1996 world cup was one of the attractive and the competitive tournament in recent history. Why ICC couldn’t use any yard stick to make at least two groups out of super8s and play round robin among those teams to select the top two of each group. Then top four teams (comprising 1&2 of each group) play each other to decide standings for semifinals and there would have been very competitive to attractive 6 matches in the later stage of the tournament.

  • LANKAN on April 21, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    Indian can you please post your comments for your marvelous team outside this forum thanks.

    This is about sri lanka and how well they are doing.

  • Sri Lankan Fan on April 21, 2007, 2:45 GMT

    An Eye for an Eye will make the whole world blind

    - Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Asian and Proud of It on April 20, 2007, 22:51 GMT

    It seems like we have inherited more than just the game of Cricket from the British Raj - we have learned how to divide and conquer. Instead of sticking together as Asians that are downgraded and degraded, we put down our closest neighbors and staunch friends.

    Go Sri Lanka and do us proud!!!

  • angel on April 20, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    yo damith, now you are simply fuming.only the best team will win. indeed you all speak abt final in bridgetown, first win semis, then speak about final. you are srilankan version of sameer. you support sl, sameer supports india

  • Shekhar on April 20, 2007, 19:32 GMT

    I think Damith is too angry and hence writing without thinking deep. I see in the blog people and even myself asking for Murali and Vaas in last game. Damith by saying bring in all the formers aus players in next games against SL does not make sense. We are talking about fielding best strength sides in this WC and NOT of the past. So the previous email truly did not make sense. I as a Indian would have loved to watch the A vs SL game full stregth esp when I was working from home that monday and got up early at 6:30 to watch NOT my team, but felt utterly dissapointed with the strategy. It is because of such that fans loose interest in ckt esp since people like me working in US spend time watching other teams play and see one side not bringing its full team. Knowing that Malinga is out they should have at least Vass or Murlai in. I was so upset for loosing such a good game. I had a soft corner for SL before this game and Auss are always talking crap. But at least they play tough. But now I truly felt let down by SL strategy. If SL team we believe is so good in bowling then they should be able to get a good team out twice, not wait for one game wonder. Any case I hope the rest of the games are good. No doubt that this WC is the worst ever, not because my dear India is out or Pak is out but they way teams have played. What would have been truly a good contest on 16th was bought to shreeds , and we know who was responsible.

  • Damith Kethaka on April 20, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    if anyone say Sri Lankan fans have started being offensive PLEASE GO to the begining and read on.when people start criticising our team aren`t we supposed to answering them???

  • Damith Kethaka on April 20, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    Dear Hashini, Brilliant sister..u had the courage to stand up for what`s rightful and legitimate.WE HAVE NOMINATED A WORLD CUP SQUAD AND GOD HOLDS IT RIGHTFUL FOR MAHELA TO PICK AND CHOOSE WHO`S IN AND WHO`S OUT ON WHAT TIMES!!! END OF THE STORY..Aussies might be mighty disappointed at not being able to asses our full strength but WHAT THE HELL DO WE CARE..did we tell them not to rest any one their key players and bring on the full strength against us??..all right then the next time they come against us we`ll ask them to bring the following players because we want to play against them 1.Great Denis Lily 2.Alan Border 3.David Boon 4.Ian Healy 5.Waugh brothers 6.Shane Warne 7.Mark Taylor 8.Michael bevan 9.if possible please bring the charactar i most honour and admire in cricket from heaven..Great Bradman himself.i`d love to see him play but unfortunately i was born a long time after that TRUE GENTLEMAN played.(he is a true gentlemen in and out of cricket.unfortunately people like him are no more.these are the days in which some players conspirate to injure and demobilise the best of their opponents.) so the next time when aussies come for a match if they don`t bring thses players we`ll charge them for playing dirty and not bringing the full strength.again GET A LIFE dude..we haven`t broken any rules.

  • Damith Kethaka on April 20, 2007, 17:01 GMT

    the great guru his holiness sameer has so rightfully mind read his team members and stated that they, in their venerable generosity have let the game with sri lanka be won by SL for the sake of being part of the so-called subcontinental family.it waters my eyes to see how divinely generous Rahul Dravid and his mates are.They have put their own families and property at the risk of being stoned by angry fans to protect the "SUB CONTINENTAL family bond"!!..people let`s all worship the feet of those self-less,divine,generous,gift-hearted memebers of the indian cricket team.and perhaps they have felt sorry for the bengalis and gave away that game too i suppose.oh,Great rishi Guru Sameer,use thou great wisdom and see whether Ricky ponting is as equally generous as Dravid and tell me before the finals on 28th will you?

  • suresh kottegoda on April 20, 2007, 8:34 GMT

    hey guys, both sl & indian please, please, please stop making abusing comments. sri lankan fans, dont let mentally ill sameer provoke you. we sri lankans love india as much as indians love their team. sri lankans, dont get too excited we havent won yet ! let us join hands to bash ranjith fernando, the disgraceful commentator who brings nothing but shame to the country , COME ON GUYS ! DEAR CRICINFO, please stop giving centre stage to abusive & shameful comments made by both sri lankan & indian fans about the two respective countries. this is getting way out of hand.

  • Sameer on April 20, 2007, 5:08 GMT

    For Roman

    Mate, i still support my team and i dont believe in frantic reactions like fans in India did like -- stop cricket, ban cricket, its gone, Sack seniors and all tht.

    My point of view is very simple : World cup is very important and winning it is like ultimate glory for any country. But then if some one cant win the world cup then he or the team doesnt become rank bad.

    When the players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Lara (he s retired), retire, they would be judged on their overall records, just not on how many world cups they won.

    India played bad cricket and they were worthy losers, but terming them kafirs, sinners, traitors is very bad. And the media in India including some retard ex-players like Amarnath, Madan lal, Syed Saba Karim, Maninder Singh, Bishen Singh Bedi, Ashok Malhotra started talking loose in the aftermath and they were being paid hugely by the immature news channels in India who excite people for the burning of effigies and run poll campaigns and message boards damning the seniors....These are those pessimists who see the world cup as the end of road, its not. It could be a start of new era in indian cricket with some seniors returning to their original attacking flavor followed by some juniors.

    India doesnt become a bad team for its inability to win the cup in 2007. We played silly cricket on March 17 to loose to Bangladesh who did not deserve to be in Super 8 for their off and on performances. They dint win hearts like Ireland did.

    And for that case SL wont even become bad team if they fail to win the cup. Cricket should never be seen with the spectatcles of emotions, regions, continents. It should be on merit, quality.

    And there are lot of cultural differences amongst the cricket playing nations. For example a Pakistan team would show off religious sentiments on ground during training, Indians wont do it. They might not "smile", but Aussies might sledge and South Africans might sulk. Its all fine unless some one doesnt cross the thin line between racism and good humored banter.

    India and England are 2 teams who have players from so many cultures. England has 2 Indian origin players in Monty and Bopara, a Pakistani in Sajid Mahmood and Kabir Ali. Whereas India has so many players from north, east, west, south. They dont sledge each other. They play together and win the matches. And India is not a bad team as projected in this forum or in the media.

    Damn to those writers (not Mukul :-)) who say pessimistic things about Indian cricket especially from The times of India.....

    India has a good future rt now which would turn into a better one no doubt!!!!!!!!

  • brooke on April 20, 2007, 3:00 GMT

    i'm a true SL supporter & really hope they reach finals against aussies... they may not be the best but they're getting there all the best mahela & crew go there and play your game & make us proud for being true SL fans

  • Doc on April 20, 2007, 2:31 GMT

    We must credit to where it's due! I think one person who is instrumental for Sri-Lanaka players behavior on and off the field is their manager, Michael Tissera. Michael captained St. Thomas, NCC, CCC and Sri-Lanka. He has performed well against international teams during his career. But above all Michael is a "GENTLEMAN', which probably rubbed off on our players. I have onbserved and interacted with Michael before I left sri-Lanka nearly 30 years ago. I played for the CCC second team while he played for the first. Anyone in the SL cricketing circles would vouch that Micheal is a gentleman and this excellent attribute of his is having an effect on the the way Sri-Lankan cricketers behave.

  • Sean on April 20, 2007, 2:21 GMT

    Mr. Balasuriya,

    You have exhinited your ignorance by saying Marvan should replace Arnold. How many times cricinfo writers have said that Arnold rotateS the strike wisely. The Cricinfo describes Arnold as a "Team Player". Please do not get me wrong for I believe Marvan deserveS a place in the team, but not at the expense of Arnold. I belive some of the blggers in this column suggested that Marvan should replace someone else. PLEASE, DO GET YOUR FACTS STRIGHT!!

  • Lankan John on April 20, 2007, 1:35 GMT

    The reason Ranjit Fernando keeps getting selected (by Star Sports) for commentary is because there are no ex-Sri Lanka players that can give expert commentary (as is expected of averyone today) who is fluent in English AND willing to do it.

    Arjuna and Aravinda both tried and failed miserably AND they make way too much money with their day jobs to consider a commentator contract with Star Sport.

    There are several others that are articulate and fluent in english like Sidath Wettemuni, Ranjan Madugalle, Ravi Ratnayaka, SUnil Wettemuni etc, however, all these guys are extremely well off financially and come from traditionally wealthy aristocratic families.

    Unless Marvan Atapattu takes on the job after retiement (he again is supposed to be very successful in his business ventures), I dont think we will see a good Sri Lankan commentator (English) for some time.

    While there have been legendary "Sinhalese" commentators who I believe are to be credited for the popularity of the game with the masses (hence not just the aristocrats playing/following the game) what's interesting is that the 2 who anyone would consider to be the greatest ever, Palitha Perera and Karunarathne Abeysekara NEVER PLAYED 1st class cricket.

    Perhaps the answer is to look for an english commentator that is gifted as a commentator not just someone that has played international cricket.

    One might argue then, howcome Rameez Raja, Sanjay Manjrekar and Harsha Bhogle (my 3 most favorite commentators - your insights, professionalism and commentary makes me proud to be from the subcontinent) and numerous other ex-cricketers join the raks of commentary teams.

    The answer is simple and twofold.

    1. Money and 2.SL playing fewer games- SL doesnt play as many games as most other nations, so less opportunities (or need for) for an SL commentator. If the commentator is truly excellent, then he (no she's yet) may have opportunities for being a neutral commentator, but I think this is obvious so to sum up : SL play fewer games means fewer gigs means lower pay. Although Nasser Hussain might make more money than Sidath Wettimuni as a commentator Sidath will make a lot more money as the chairman and CEO of his massive business establishment (and make his standing tee time at the exclusive Royal Colombo Golf Club).

    Also SL is a small country and (one of) the poorest test-playing nations (#78 economy in the world - only larger than the smallest of nations that make up the Windies).

    Unlike in India, English is not the language of instruction in Sri Lanka (mistake) and unlike India only Sri Lanka produces only 4,000 university graduates (doctors, lawyers, art, math science ALL together) per year, therefore less than 1% of those that finish year 12 get any higher education.

    So... thats the long answer as to why you have to listen to Ranjith, or as I call him, Repeat Fernando.

  • Anjo on April 19, 2007, 19:10 GMT

    Hashini, I'm afraid you've assumed wrong, and you comparison is faulty at best. I for one, don't condone the forfeiture of cricket matches in Sri Lanka during the 1996 world cup. But it is wrong to compare an entire team being pulled out of a match for security reasons with "resting" two senior players, only to play them against minnows two days later. Personally I've never seen Australia "rest" a key player against a test-nation, only to play the same player against a minnow a few days later. Now, and this is just for the sake of argument, let us look objectively at what happened in 1996 (and late 1995) in Sri Lanka and the entire set of circumstances that led to Australia (and the West Indies) pulling out: The Central Bank bombing took place on January 31st 1996 (mere days before the match). A few months earlier the October 1995 Eastern Sri Lanka massacre took place. These incidents showed that Sri Lanka was at war with a rebellious faction and was not able to prevent attacks on civilians. If a bomb could explode at a central bank, what could have stopped one from exploding at a hotel, near a ground etc? Now let us consider the circumstances related to cricket. Prior to the world cup, Australia and Sri Lanka had their most acrimonious series to date. "Chuck-les (he's always smiling!)" was defended by captian, team, board and country after being called, and this was followed by allegations of racism. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it looked like all of Sri Lanka had it in for the Aussies. Under these circumstances, all it would have taken was for one player to object, and the board would have had no option from a legal standpoint, but to ensure the safety and security of the team. Again, I'm not condoning the forfeiture, I'm just stating what /could/ have happened. As India and Pakistan showed a few days later, there was little or no security risk for an international cricket side, it was an act of solidarity. Now, Australia's forfeiture could have well cost them the world cup. England and New Zealand learnt this the hard way in the 2003 World Cup. I find it laughable though, that the Aussies played the 2005 ashes despite the fact that two weeks earlier the London bombings took place. To me that is just hypocritcal as Mr Kesavan's biased views. Sri Lanka's "resting" of Vaas and Murali seems to have been designed to avoid playing Australia or South Africa in the semi-finals. In a way, you could say they "fixed" the result. What I find really disgusting is that both Vaas and Murali played against the Ireland next, and picked 5 wickets between them. It seemed to completely invalidate the "injury-scare" fears, and continues to show "Chuck-les (he's always smiling!)" enthusiam to take on the minnows. As for you claims of the aussies calling a country "dirty and tiring", please point me to a reference for this. Ranatunga's comment's about Australia's heritage have been well documented, here's a link http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/cricket/1999/world_cup/news/1999/05/15/warne_charged/index.html Mudslinging goes both ways, you can't say one is nastier than the other. As for cowardice, note that the Aussies play extremely aggressive cricket, whereas the Sri Lankans are happy to play boring restrictive cricket when fielding. "Chuck-les (he's always smiling!)" has three fielders on the ropes on the on-side to RHB, Jaisurya bowls outside leg and hardly turns the ball in. Once again, try justifying Fernandos faux pass against England. In my book, its right up there with Chappell's underarm delivery. Both were designed, with total disregard to sportsmanship, to prevent the opposition from winning.

    Apart from my cheap shots at Muralitharan, I've tried to be as fair as possible in this assessment. I would also like to thank you for your wishes to me to "GET A LIFE", apparently anyone who is critical of the Sri Lankans should heed this advice?

  • Raman on April 19, 2007, 18:12 GMT

    For some reason the SL selectors have a few favourites like Arnold, Upul Tharnga. No matter how poorly they perform, they are not being dropped. Where as talented players like Marvan, Kapugedara will either never get chance or will be dropped the instant they fail.

    Even though the commentators have high regard for Malinga, Mahela does not seem to think along these lines. I would not be surprised if they would drop him in the next two matches. Mahela seems to also have favourites when it comes to picking whom give the ball to. When things are easy and it is just easy pickings for the bowler, he always gives the ball to Murali. The only reason that Malinga was given the ball in SA at the end was becuase the Sri lankans had given up at that point.

    The SL bowling attack very good, it can stand to any opposition. If the Sri lankans do not win the World cup it will be due the collaspe of the batting.

  • Poonam on April 19, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    Sameer,

    Are you still commenting in this blog dude? Wow, you truly are an embarrassment to all of us Indians. Please stop this living in the past ... and live in the here and now. India will correct its problems and play a good world cup in 2011, but now is not a good time to be blowing India's horn. If you want to talk about how our team can improve, then go ahead, but please stop talking about its past records. You are truly lost in your own world, but please don't drag us into that secret place of yours with your rubbish. ...Please seek help and comment after you've been assisted. You need to grow up and grow up fast my friend. Get a bottle of warm milk and suckle on it till the pain goes away. My pain after India lost has gone because I accepted it and now I'm enthusiastic about the changes that will be implemented in the BCCI. Acceptance should be your first step my friend, and a psychologist might just help you do exactly that. Good luck.

  • Roman on April 19, 2007, 16:00 GMT

    Alrite here goes a fine piece of writing by Mukul if i do say so myself. Now to the lovers of Sri lanka, kudos my brothers even if we do not grasp the beautiful cup this time I applaud this team,I really do, I mean to pick ourselves up from a 6-1 defeat from India as one pundit has so generously reminded us.Also even though we lost to Australia people already seem to be losing faith in our national team.

    Lest we forget it was not two experienced bowlers to replace them but instead two relatively new bowlers(malinga and kulasakera) with dilhara and maharoof and no offence to those two fine bowlers but they do not have the experience of Murali and Vaas.WE LOST to Australia. I accept that, funny how Ian chappelle does not. Beleive it or not If Sri lanka do lose this World cup hehehe we will not have any burning effigies for them frankly and simply we take cricket seriously but we support our team wim or lose alas how we forgot that cricket is a game with greats like Sir gary Sobers,Clive Loydd,Brian Lara , Sanath Jayasriya,Muttiah Muralitharan,Sachin Tendulkar,Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram,Shane Warne the list goes on ... but one thing they all know is that cricket is ultimately a game of sportsmanship, communication between different countries and of course fan support.

    Sledging is in every game in one form or another its part of the game its a test of not only our body but of our mind.If Glenn mcGrath called Sanath jayasuryia a "black monkey" he should have replied with "then your a white baboon".

    Please no racism as this just reduces your intelligence as a human being to go to the extent of insulting race perhaps in your last desperate attempt to unruffle someone else and feel a rush of superiority.So maybe Glenn mcGrath could have ...could have thought of something more clever than the infamous "black monkey"

    Some people say the Sri lankans do not have a better team than in 1996 well tough noogies I say then what we do not have in our arsenal of weapons WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE UP WITH HEART.

    People calling murali a chucker hehehe are as uneducated as the homeless hobo down their street(no pun intended to the homeless hobo) I mean murali is now adhering to the ICC rules of 15 degrees. When the ICC found out about the chucking of somewhat of almost every spin bowler. Shane Warne is also an amazing bowler and these are two of the greats but as always let us not forget with greatness and glory comes critics who always have to find a fault in the greats ways to satisfy their own inept beleif amongst themselves and let us not insult Ranjit Fernando about jinxing the game. If a wicket gets out while his commentating its just a matter of coincidence just like it is that we are jumping down the throat of our own fellow Sri lankans.

    Now to round of this little speech of mine Sameer, I am sorry that India lost really am they are a good team and I hope you can put to past what happened between our teams over the last few years.I am not looking to prove the indians wrong in statistics in terms of who beat whom the most but take into consideration Bangladesh beat the Proteas too. I only beg this of you Sameer respect your team, I fear if you crucify your team every time the lose you will soon run out of players who want to play on the international stage. People who describe Murali as a chucker, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it but please provide facts and your job because if you are an umpire or an official who can prove he is chucking then please prove us ...the proud Sri lankans wrong. And for racists who beleive in themselves so truly answer me this one simple and true question honestly not only to me but to themselves as human beings here is the question a famous quote as some realise but a question nevertheless this does not hold to cricket but to all entities around the world be it sport, education, politics alike we are all the same once you remove our skin

    So I ask this question

    But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?

  • Vinod Perera on April 19, 2007, 14:06 GMT

    Sri Lanka won the match against Ireland easily. It doesnt mean that they will win the world cup. Ireland are minows of the cricket world. There are lots of questions to be asked

    (1) Where is Marvan Atapattu? Is he not good enough to play and is Upul Tharanga still better than him? Just check out the way Upul played, he cant even handle his bat properly these days and completely out of touch. (2) Who is behind this selection policy, the captain? Coach? Manager or Asantha De mel? Asantha has mentioned that they took a decision to rest Murali and Vaas in the match agaist Australia from Colombo, then what is Mahela's role? Just a puppet? (3) Do these people expect Marvan to play in the semis witout any match practise? is it fair? (4) Russel Arnold a joker? Why is he there (5) Do they really expect Sri Lanka to win the world Cup with this team? DREAM ON SRI LANKAN SELECTORS YOU ARE IN A DREAM WORLD. YOU WILL REALIZE IT VERY SOON.

  • Grow up on April 19, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    I have been reading both the Pakspin blog and this one. What a world of difference. Not all, but MOST comments on Pakspin are sensible, balanced, considered, and very well written. I get the impression that Pakspin is a forum for debate by people who are grown ups. Turning to this blog, we get immature, racist rantings on all sides, written by hypocritical adolescent morons. Have a look at yourselves and what you have written. The SL fans have written the most offensive stuff. Thank goodness Sri Lankans are overwhelmingly sensible people (like people of goodwill everywhere, in India, SA, England, WI, Australia etc), not ranting one-eyed bigots as appear here......

    Congratulations Mukul, good journalism to stir up the kiddies, but perhaps not really responsible? Stop stirring up the children, they really need to settle down and go to bed.......

  • ashvin on April 19, 2007, 12:08 GMT

    some people are not realizing value of russel arnold's role in srilankan team .. he is the one of the best late order batsman srilanka have at the moment. he only failed against australia in this series.. I don't understand why tharanga is playing for the srilankan team. he is not scoring any runs at the moment and also wasting soo much balls score couple of runss during " power play"... which creates pressure on late order batsmen. attapattu is not also well fitted for that posotion.. I don't know what happened to kapugedara.. he has some talent but he has to stop making those loose shots.. we need some explosive start at top of the order..

  • Dr. Death on April 19, 2007, 10:08 GMT

    James, Yes, u are correct. My apologies for the bilious comments in my previous posting. It's hard to keep calm when people make racist comments. I lost my cool & sorry about that.

    However my other points still stand.

    Have a nice day.

  • Sena on April 19, 2007, 9:42 GMT

    Hi, I am a SL fan. I like these two guys, Grey (Goose) and James. Just imajine, Mukul just penned his opinion and it is his right, we don't have to be so alarmed about it. Hi Grey & James for thanks and a beer from me too. Win or loose we will share it. The other thing is, O.K we did rest some of our players, and whatever our Captain says it was a strategy to avoid Oz's in the Semis. However though, personally I don't support the idea. We should have gone with the full team and played the game for the sake of the fans. I heard many cricket dying fans has taken leave from their work to watch this particular SL-AUS encounter. What happens if we are kikced out of the semis, not that I don't have the faith, but look how Upul is batting, just go back to Aravinda's analysis. So frankly I have only 50% of faith. Hope Sana wiil have a good day in the Semuis. So all in all as a Sri Lankan I apologize for the depriving the right of the fans. I am no crickerter, but we lankans are famous for our hospitality and we always out to help anybody irrespective of who he/she is? Look many have started hating SL over this criteria. Go to the BBC blogs and see. Many who were supporting us has now turned ot over to other teams. I am hurt!!!! So now this is over. As Holding says, tthe CWC format should be such the teams are unable to manupulate the results. Let's hope ICC will come up with format so that every fan can have go for their money. Hey, Grey my beer is for you.

  • gaminid on April 19, 2007, 9:37 GMT

    As someone pointed out it could be NZ Vs SA final on the 28th. That's the beauty of the game cricket.thouroghly unpredictable!! For someone who cannot tolerate SL resting their key bowlers for the Aussie game,well, one should be tactful and sensitive enough to be in the race before an opponent smartly pull you down. Remember what happened to SA in Jo'berg in 2003? To aussies 'who don't care what SL did' it's much better to field your 'B' team rather than not participating at all (1996 SL VS Aus @ Colombo). Yes we are aware that you don't care a s**t about others! Thanks Ricky for openly admitting it!!

  • Sameer on April 19, 2007, 9:37 GMT

    Damith mate, yes i shud dream and also believe it to be true. The scenes of India winning is so often against SL. So big boys thought lets give SL a chance to win, after all its subcontinent family. And India can start winning against Emerald Isles any time they want. If u remember 1996 then dude i remember 1999 when Ranatunga was hapless how to stop the Indian duo of Ganguly and Dravid who went on the rampage and build on the highest partnership for any wkt in the world cup history (318 for 2nd wkt, Taunton), Lanka lost by 157 runs , they were defending champs man........

    2003 -- SL again bundled out for 109 by Sri and Zak. India had made 293. Lost by 183 runs. Dude how pale Jaysuriya was.

    2005 -- Dhoni makes 183 in Jaipur and then Attapattu cud do nothing to stop him. And then 6 back to back wins.......

    So if u start the history, India has more to cheer about than you. So dont start it.

  • James on April 19, 2007, 6:26 GMT

    Wow. There's a lot of bile coming out on this comments page. Those of my fellow Aussies who feel compelled, for whatever ignoble reasons, to go on about Murali, please give it a rest. Those from Sri Lanka who are flinging around the racist tag should cool down too.

    For what it's worth, I think Australia and Sri Lanka are about on par when it comes to gamesmanship that isn't in the spirit of the game. For every Ranatunga who keeps the side off the field there's a Chappell who bowls underarm. But it's not as though the other major teams have incident-free records either. Consider Fleming's occasional go-slows to manipulate run rates; England and Pakistan and occasional ball tampering; South Africa and India and the wretched scandal of the late 90s. In all cases this is just part of the picture, though (and a part that's been around for as long as international cricket - check out W.G.Grace's little games if you want to see some real nastiness). If occasional faux injuries and the like are part of the price we pay for Sri Lanka's generally engaging and enterprising tactical nous, I'm pretty happy to pay it.

  • Grey Goose on April 19, 2007, 6:08 GMT

    Guys, after a lot of research, I’ve GOT IT…The secret. WOOOOOHOOOOOO…..Before every game, preferably during the toss have two shots of tequila. When ever a boundary or a six is hit have a shot of chilled vodka. If a wicket goes down pound a shot of whiskey. Trust me the game gets interesting as it goes. For all the people who took Mukul’s blog waaaay to seriously, double the recommended dosage and loosen up. For heavens sake…..Loosen up. Mukul didn’t actually threaten to nuke(some say he has a spare nuke in his closet) every country except Srilanka. Srilanka play the brand of cricket that is enjoyable. Watch it and enjoy it. I like watching the lankans play but I love the Irish crowd. They always seem to be in good spirits.

  • Damith Kethaka on April 19, 2007, 5:45 GMT

    sameer dream on..remeber 1996..have fun till the repeat come in 2011..i still remember mohommed azhars face when u guys lost in 1996

  • Ravishankar on April 19, 2007, 4:14 GMT

    Sachintha, A job well done.You can easly get in to lankan sports journalism where there is already a dearth .You have not also forgotten the Pak & Indian support at all times for the Srilankan cricket.You should have thanked our great fans who didn't make our cricketeers ,celebrities and demigods,which would have taken the smiles off our beloved crickeers by now.Keep writing.

  • Sameer on April 19, 2007, 4:12 GMT

    New blog started, come there, spare this one.

    Aus VS SA --< Aus wins

    NZ VS SL ---> NZ wins

    Aus VS NZ ---> AUS wins....

    Next world cup is in India and SL along with Pakistan and Ban....C u then with India beating Lanka all ends up!!!!!

  • Hashini Jayasinghe on April 19, 2007, 3:26 GMT

    Anjo: I hope by what you write then you are a bitter critic of Australia who refused to come to Colombo in 1996, rest their players when they feel like it, call countries dirty and tiring etc. I am assuming you have put Australia much higher than Sri Lanka in the frequency of coward and disrespect standards according to you! GET A LIFE!

  • Dr. Death on April 19, 2007, 3:07 GMT

    This has been a lengthy series of comments. I would like to respond to some of the bloggers.

    First to Mark de Rozairo: Well said! SL can choose any team they wish to play in a match. The decision lies with the selectors and not Ian Chappel. Anyone talking about ‘spoiling’ the World Cup mustember how Australia did not even turn up for the 1996 match in Colombo. That was the biggest spoiler of all.

    To drneilmuhkerjee; don’t know where u got yr doctorate from chum, but it’s definitely not through proper research. Sanath has scored less than 40 in many matches which SL has won, the most prominent ones being the 1996 WC semis and the final, where SL beat India & australia respectively. So please spare us your pseudo-science.

    To mikehunt vs…. subcontinent people, or anyone for that matter, will like to live in a place with a high living standard. Only thing is we would not grab land/resources from others to improve our standard of living. This is not a secret & that’s the REAL truth.

    Finally Tony: please don’t make assumptions about the reason why SL rested half the team. They are ‘a bunch of happy guys who love to play cricket’. That’s why they prefer not to play against the most grumpy, bad mouthed cricket team in the world today.

  • Damith Kethaka on April 19, 2007, 1:54 GMT

    TONY, since when were conferred a Phd in Human Physiology for u to make such comments on what`s scientifically proven..heh..Sri Lanka will trample kiwis much the way chinese will trample Americans in the upcoming olympics.just don`t start hating asia cos u`ll never hear the end of it.U have absolutely no idea what our fury can turn in to.had murali being a white u all would have placed him next to god.i know what u are aiming at when u blog them.

  • Taimur Huk on April 19, 2007, 0:11 GMT

    sri lanka really are playing well. even if they lost to austraia, they were depleted. latish malinga, their main striker wasn't there. but when sri lanka gets back to full strength, and ever have to play australia in the wc again, which they most likely will, they will put up a good fight against australia.

  • Najeeb on April 18, 2007, 23:08 GMT

    Sameer is a waste of bandwidth. And probably so am i, for i am about to refer to Indian team.

    INDIA IS OUT OF THE CUP! GONE. GONNA HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER 4 YEARS. ALL THAT MONEY BUT NO CORRESPONDING SUCCESS.

    GOODBYE

  • Shekhar on April 18, 2007, 23:00 GMT

    Ok guys enough of this. I hope we all don't end up been fools if both Aus and SL bomb out in the semis as NZ and SA are also a good side. Remember 1987 Hopes Turned to Ashes. Ok SL wins fine with it for every body.

  • Anjo on April 18, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    After being rested for the clash against Australia, Vaas and Murali made their return for the clash against the might of the Irish! Injury scares have disappeared, apparently there is no reason anymore to rest them further for the "big matches" as Jayawardena himself said. Hopefully this thrashing will continue to help improve the mental strength of the fragile minds of Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan, and of course, it does no harm to their career stats. Brilliant tactics indeed! "deadly old men, weird and wonderful is what they are - its why we love them!" Sorry, I don't like cowards, old or young, I don't like cheats, weird or orthodox, and I certainly don't like unsporting teams. Disgusting, I can't see how anyone with an unbiased mind would enjoy watching Sri Lanka.

  • Gayan on April 18, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    I'm looking forward to see RSA get beaten by the better side ( Sri Lanka) in the finals.

  • Sameer on April 18, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    Colombo -- u r a big joke. India got thrashed by lanka in India, LOL. Dude it was in Sharjah...Not India...And have some respect for Sachin Tendulkar. You talk of that test match when SL made 952, what was the use ? Did lanka win ? Nope it was a bore draw and thats wot SL do , play bore cricket and draw the test matches........

    Well let me not get in mud slinging with those guys who have half knowledge of history.

    Some cents about the tactical decision to rest the Chaminda boy and Murali king. Asantha Demel s statement is proof enuf to prove what Lanka is thinking of. This in plain simple English is called stupidity, arrogance and over confidence. This wud give NZ a real wake up call and they would look to brush Lanka off and make it to thier 1st final...

    And now you guys are venting your furore against Ian Chappell? Cmon guys grow up. U cant question people s attitudes and beliefs if they dont match urs. He s known to have blunt opinions and he was damn right when he said ICC are going to ask questions of SL. How can Lanka put an eye on final even when they have not won the semis yet.

    SL have lost the so called moral high and whatever crap the good feelings or wotever....I would like them to see loose to NZ big time in semis just for wot they did to spoil the spirit of the game against Australia.....

    And anyway in today s age of modern technolgoy if someone says that we rested our best bowlers as surprise for the opponents. then to me its a suicidal joke and SL are doing the same. Chaminda boy and Murali -- the illegal bowler are no more novices in world cricket like Malinga, they have played close to 290+ ODIs and lot of footage and videos are available, so if Lanka management thinks they r fooling someone , then its themselves....Having said that Lanka have lost the moral right to even play the semis....And right thing would be a hard hard beating in the hands of NZ for just bringing the game to dispute and spoiling the spirit of the game!!!!

  • Niroshan Sanjeewa Balasuriya on April 18, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    Well.. Sri Lankan team is playing brilliant cricket at the moment inspite of there last match against Ausis. What ever the reason that Sri Lankan team made to rest Murali & Vass , thats their right. It may be a tackticle or physical reason. If it is a tackticle reason i cirtainly agree with Sri Lankan team management. So it's useless to keep on talking about Ausi match bcos its just one single match and we clearly saw that Sri Lankan team played that match in prety ordinery way and not with thier full strength. I'm Pretty sure that next SL vs Aus crash would be a nail biting one and Ausis will feel the actual sweating in this world cup.

    But there are few more issues that SL team should be corrected before their next games. Specially Semis. Middle order should be fire. We saw really bad cricket from Russel Arnold. Personally I belive Marvan MUST take his place. When the pressuire is on Russel doesnt know how to rotate the strike. He purposly keep on playing defenssive shots and just waste the valubale diliveries at a critical latter stage. 5 singles per over would defineitly will put back the pressiure back to oppositions. Russel doesnt do that basic theory which is known by a small under 15 kid. So that's why i think that Marvan will be a good option for that slot. That change is a MUST. Apart from that, Upul tharangas strike Rate should be increased. Another thing is i hav scene that Sri Lankan top order batsman go to a shell once Sanath got dismissed. Thats really a bad habit and what ever hapens you should play your normal game without having a big deviation. All and all Sri Lankan team should improve thier batting efforts in future matches. Mahela's,Sanath's and Chamara's form has already add a lot value SL team and Others also should contribute in special way. When it comes to bowlers, no doubt it was SL bowlers who lifted our game in to this rankings. They should maintain that strength and momentum going. I think if Malinga, Vass and Murali is physically fit , they should play for Ireland match. It will be a gud practise session for them to get back to the game before Semi finals. If Sri Lankan boys do every thing right.. no team in the world can beat Sri Lankans. With the articles that i saw in cricinfoand various other sources Sri Lankan team has become the favourites among the nutral spectators around the world....

  • Chand on April 18, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    Well said Sachintha! Objective and logical comments!

    You are right.! We should give the due credit to the people who helped us in difficult times.

    May be winning the worldcup is the best way to express our gratitude :) After winning, we should even thank to Aussies for bringing the game to a high level as it is now. Some subjective comments from me.

  • Colombo on April 18, 2007, 10:15 GMT

    Hey Sameer,

    Seriously how old are you? Boasting about your past records against Sri Lanka and how you thrashed us 6-1, blah, blah, blah. You want a piece of History from our side? here goes - I recall the great batsman "Sachin Tendulka" say when asked how many runs that India should score to win against Sri Lanka (this was an interview after India lost to Sri Lanka, very very very badly), he went on to say "1000 runs", mind you Sri Lanka almost got there when SL THRASHED India 900+ runs (Still remains the highest runs scored in an Innings). SL Thrashed India (in India) winning by 245 runs, people like you can Never accept defeat, but there are very noble Indians who do, and we know it. Even in this blog it shows... And Sameer, I respect India & Indian Cricketers a lot, However after your comments on how India Helped SL in time need (which WE Sri Lankan's have always and always will remember & appreciate it) which again shows off your immatureness (Do & Talk about it, Jesus, it’s a shame to help a person & then talk about). Let me reminder Shameer that this blog is about "The reasons we root for Sri Lanka" not about past records, achievements, why, how, if's, but’s & pots and pans (sounded like Sidhu there didn’t I?), This Blog is about Sri Lanka and no one else, so Dear Sameer "If you can't take the heat, then leave this Blog" & start a new blog for the Indian Cricket team, no problem with that. Even if Sri Lanka doesn't win the world cup we will not be disappointed as people may think, coz our boys have played some Fantastic Cricket in this WC.

    May the best team on the 28th win…

  • Tony on April 18, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    I hope New Zealand trounce Sri Lanka in the semis after they were too scared to field their chucker in case his confidence was damaged. I don't care where he comes from and I don't care what scientists have to say, just look at the massive bend in his elbow. I can't wait to see who you Sri Lankans blame when you crash out of the World Cup. For a side that is supposedly just a bunch of happy guys who love to play cricket they sure made a strange decision to rest half their side against Australia.

  • Groundboy on April 18, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    All in all, it was a pleasure to read the praise on the SL team. Although the best Odds for the WC final seems SL vs AUS. You better belive it that an SL/NZ Semi final will be the biggest and the toughest match for them. Along with their happy go lucky ways they wil need SJ doing the brass monkey if they are to get into the finals

  • deleep on April 18, 2007, 7:15 GMT

    We all know OZ are a power packed nation and also very proud. They sure have issues with the Asian ppl and MR> chapels articles (not just the recent one) clealy depicts their attitude. He maliciously defends his brother for ruining the Indian team (also in a very methodical and planned manner) and blames PAK for not performing. (Who knows wat issues were created by them to ruin the PAK team ). And now he spit hate and SL team and is behind every complaint Logged to ICC>’’

      MR.Ian chapel should learn to be a good /un bios writer first and then write his posts. He should learn form fellow writers here , and then write objectively.
    Well he may ruin SL team as his brother did for Ind.. but lets wait and See.

    PS:mukul pls post these comments in full cause its the facts that i have found

  • gujra on April 18, 2007, 7:05 GMT

    Ian chapel should learn to be a good /un bios writer first and then write his posts. He should learn form fellow writers here , and then write objectively.

    He has put some totally irrelevant article with pure hatred to SL team.. well he has some hatred to Asians and after years of listening to his commentaries I have really experienced it.... HOPE MUKUL WILL BE A SHINING EXAMPLE FOR A GOOD WRITER AND POST THIS COMMENTS..

  • thinesh on April 18, 2007, 7:02 GMT

    Ian chappel has some issues that’s sure has to b addressed.. Ian chapel should learn to be a good /un-bios writer first and then write his posts.

    He has put some totally unrelevant article with pure hatred to SL team.. well he has some hatred to Asians and after years of listening to his commentaries I have really experienced it.

    He was a good cricketer ,but he s a total pathetic writer and a hypocritical man. i have commented to his blogs 19 times and NONE WAS POSTED, CAUSE IT WILL HIRT HIM. Especially to his article about FIRING OF GREP CHAPPEL ,where his defends his brother with all those cunning reasons,,, I commented to his post 11 times and none was shown cause it will hurt his AUSSIE attitude. He s totally unhealthy man for this site...

    Hope mukul will post this and not try to defend his fellow writer.It s your job to point out when some writer is totally spilling hatred.

  • sri lankan crick chick on April 18, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    we love sri lanka and we're goin to win the woeld cup with out any problem...... ya ya now we know aussies r upset now coz we didnt expose our 3 main strike bowlers to get them some practice for finalz nah.... well i dnt think aussies will reach final now coz RSA is thr for u to beat at semiz.....

  • minoli on April 18, 2007, 5:26 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan, and I want my country to win. That is the thing with everyone. If Sri Lanka was not there I would have supported to any other asian team, beacause I am an asian. If any asian team was not there then I would have rooted for NZ. Because that is my next favourite team.U can support any team, that is upto any individual. It is not nice to bash any team since you dont like that particular team. So I hope all of you guys will cool down and support the game of Cricket. My wishes are with you Sri Lanka! You all can do it. Win the 2007 world cup for us.

  • MikeHunt vs WayneKerr on April 18, 2007, 3:43 GMT

    The comments here make me laugh, talk about Subcontinent inferiority complex..im sure you all secretly wish you lived in Oz NZ or Saf...what you fail to understand is most ppl in these countries dont care about you or cricket, its not even the number one sport in these countries, and they still easily beat you at the game you asians love... kinda sad really, subcontinent really needs to find a new sport to love, you guys are a generation behind in cricket and hockey, let the western big boys play and you guys just sit, be quite and enjoy the spectecal of true athletes...truth hurts dont it.

  • Mark de Rozairo on April 18, 2007, 1:08 GMT

    Thanks vm for affording us ordinary guys (and gals) a chance to reply to commentators and cricketers who want to interfere with how countries pick their teams among other things. I remember not long Australia "rotated" their key players McGrath included - whats in a name - rotation or resting. Michael Holding has come down hard on Mahela for not playing Chaminda and Murali. Michael was a fantastic cricketer however in his day the West Indies could pick fast bowlers off the beaches unfortunately not now. S/L is a very small country with limited firstclass cricketers - Dilhara Fernando and Nuwan Kulasekera are not in the Chaminda Vaas class nor is Malinga Bandara in Murali's class. However maybe in time this may happen. They need experience and this is the only way to get valuable experience - in the middle. To all you critics of S/Ls choice of teams - take a walk. Lets get on with the cricket.

    Why dont all these guys loosen up -leave Mahela and the management pick their teams as they wish and get on with the game. Lets see what happens in the finals. If S/L pull it off people may change their tune.

  • K. Raja on April 18, 2007, 1:04 GMT

    I would just like to say happy birthday to the great Murali, argubly the finest off-spiner yet produced. He was 35 on this tuesday.. Anyway GO SRI LANKA!

  • CD on April 17, 2007, 23:48 GMT

    Whether or not Jeff is right about whether people are racist or not I think is starting to fade into the background.

    I've just read countless posts of people saying "No we're not racist, all you Aussies are the racist ones!"

    Do people realise that to judge a person or group of people (even if it is to call them racists) is racism itself?

    I am Australian myself and don't like being referred to as racist because I live and grew up here.

    I find these blogs and a lot of the people who post in them to be extremly uneducated and a lot of it is very saddening.

  • Emma on April 17, 2007, 23:21 GMT

    Who gives a flying c**p. For all this talk of "racism" and sledging...have you guys read your OWN posts. What gives you the right to say anything negative about individuals that you have never met, when your own words are so hypocritical? The select memories of some people who have posted here is astounding. Just because someone says something in the heat of the moment, doesn't mean they personally believe it. For example, everyone who picks on the aussies for their apparently underhanded racist tactics therefore assumes that those individuals are also inherently racist OFF the field. What the hell? Are you guys ignoring the charity work that players do in those countries that generally consider them racist? Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist ring a bell? Steve Waugh set up a school in india for goodness sakes. But oohhh no...he's a racist because he's australian. Yeh delightful and makes complete an utter sense (not). Whats even better is when everyone assumes that one persons behaviour represents an entire nation. Australians are racists!!! Huzzah. Hmmm completely unfounded and generalised, but certainly not racist (not). Get over your own xenophobia and hypocritical behaviour first before you start judging others.

  • Dinesh on April 17, 2007, 21:26 GMT

    Mukul, I respect your admiration for the Sri Lankan team. But please don't compare them to the 80's West Indies.

  • drneilmukherjee on April 17, 2007, 20:24 GMT

    Mukul's obsession with the Aussies being scientific is BS. I think theres more science to the SL team.

    Heres the equations: I've said it before and i'll repeat it. Jayasurya scores 40= SL win (with atleast 2 out of the Murali, Vass, Malinga trio) Jayawardene scores 60+ = SL lose (unless chasing a total under 200)

  • Vidya on April 17, 2007, 17:50 GMT

    Great article - but just wanted to point out a sobering thought. I is easy to smile when you are on a winning spree. SL are clearly a talented lot and their bowling is the most balanced in this tournament - but the real reason they are winning is that they have peaked at the right time. You could have said the same thing about India in the last WC - until they confronted the Aussies who are simply relentless. Now that India bowed out so tamely, it is easy to criticize them - but I did'nt exactly see the Sri lankans grinning when they lost so badly to India a couple of years ago. The same Jayasurya, Vaas and Murali did'nt exactly set things on fire - although Vaas did put in a decent performance. As I mentioned earlier - its all about peaking!

  • tony on April 17, 2007, 17:39 GMT

    attapattu needs to open if sri lka is to go pat semis .there will be other days for tharanga not now-his footwork is leaden-ranjith fernando is the worst commentater i have heard-he shd get the nobel prize for survival how ever

  • Sean on April 17, 2007, 17:29 GMT

    Annie,

    I am not a fan of Ranjit Fernando; for that matter I have not listened to a word of commentary at all during this world cup for various reasons (it comes on during working hours in the USA). May be we are loosing a wicket when he comes on board. BUT, I think he was in the commentary box when Aravinda got his 100 wih a leg glance during the 1996 WC and we went on to win the WORLD CUP!!

    Either Ranjits luck towards SL has changed over the last 11 years to be a jinx OR he may still have an iota of lucky charm left. But based on the majority of bloggers he is a LOOSER and he gotta go!!

  • s.u on April 17, 2007, 17:12 GMT

    ALL THE GUYS WHO HAVE COMMENTED IN HERE ARE CRAZY & OUT OF THERE MIND THAT INCLUDES ME TOO, I'M A SRI LANKAN BUT I THINK MOST OF THE SL FANS SHOULD COME DOWN 2 EARTH & STOP ACTING LIKE LIL KIDDOS BT I STILL THINK THAT SAMEER GUY IS CRAZY. SORRY INDIA IF WE HAVE DISSAPOINTED U GUYS BY WRTING SUM OUT OF TOPIC STUFF. AS A SRI LANKAN I FULLY SUPPORT OUR GREAT SL TEAM BT I THINK OUR SL FANS SHOULD BE MORE APPROPIATE ON THEIR COMMENTS. I THINK OUR CRICKETERS TOO WOULDNT HAVE APPROVED SUM COMMENTS IN HERE,IF THEY HAD TIME 2 WASTE READING THESE STUPID COMMENTS. MURALI ONCE SAID ON AN INTERVIEW THAT INDIANS HAVE NEVER CALLED HIM A CHUCKER BT HERE BECAUSE OF SUM STUPID COMMENTS MADE BY SL FANS SUM INDIANS HAVE CALLED HIM A CHUCKER THATS REALLY SAD SO LETS JUST STOP COMMENTING IN HERE.

  • lawry on April 17, 2007, 16:50 GMT

    brilliant atricle man. spot on..

  • Sachintha on April 17, 2007, 16:41 GMT

    I read almost all the posts made by the fans here in this Blog. And it's great to see how many people around the world support our team. Oh yes, I'm a Sri Lankan. Well, there are people at the other end as well, but you know, everyone cannot be satisfied.

    First, I have few things to say about Sameer and other few Sri Lankan's argument. I think some of our guys are being really rude to him - or for the Indians, more correctly. And he's been the same back at Sri Lanka as well. But I totally agree with Sameer's one point - Indians ARE the best friends we have in world cricket. He was only too correct in pointing out the difficult times we were in and how the Indians helped us out. Remember Arjuna Ranatunga's world after the World Cup win in 1996. He said: "I must thank Wasim and Azar for supporting us in difficult times"! Now, that's a thank given by the Sri Lankan captain who won the World Cup, just after the win. Now, who knows things better than he is? So I ask our Sri Lankans to think twice before bashing the Indian cricket team. You should first find out who our friends are. Just a little point: most of the Sri Lankans LOVE Tony Greig. For his enthusiasm, his support for the Sri Lankan team. But in case you don't know - he took this side only after Sri Lanka started winning. He wasn't very happy about giving Sri Lanka the Test status back in early 80s!!! He strongly opposed it. And Indians are the ones who backed us along with Pakistan to get the Test status. And we shouldn't forget those times.

    So, just because Indians had to go home early, that doesn't mean they're a bunch of losers. And imagine how it would be if our fans reacted like SOME of the Indian fans in such situations. Would Sanath, Sanga or Murali have performed as well as do now in such situations? I doubt it. And remember, we also had our fair share of bad times. We won in 1996, but do you remember what it was like three years later in 1999? We didn't even get into the Super Sixes. But eight years later, we're winning again. And so will be Indians in a few years. And I'm only too happy to see that day.

    But he's also said that Indian fans are the true supporters. That's where I think he's got it totally wrong. Their fans played a huge role in India's early exit of the world cup. Who want a support of such a crowd? It's more a burden than a support. I mean, cricket is a game after all and you should be able to take both victory and defeat. But not some Indian fans are like that, I'm afraid. Now, about Racism in subcontinent. Jeff, the most racist people are the ones who accuse all the others around them being racists! In case you have forgotten, who called South Africans "Kaffirs" a year or so ago when they played in Australia? Okay, forget the spectators. Remember a certain Glenn McGrath calling Sanath Jayasuriya a "Black Monkey"? And so it happend that the same person got into a debate with Sarwan, and at the end he got away 'cos his wife had a cancer. Now, tell me a single incident a Sri Lankan been involved in such a racial comments. I think you'd have a hard time finding such a moment.

    And this is exactly why the Aussies have become a team that people love to hate. Because they don't know their limits. I say this because, imo sledging is perfectly ok. I mean, cricket is not a game for the faint hearted. As a cricketer you should be able to handle some pressure aimed at you. And I also think that Cricket is THE game that need THINKING more than any other game. In other worls you need to be mentally strong to be a good cricketer. And if you are able to stand sledging it only proves that you are a good cricketer. The only problem is, the Aussies doesn't know where to stop. 'Cos they go on as far as to make comments that are racial or personal. That's where people find it very offensive. For example, I have a video clip of Shaun Pollock walking into the crease in 2003 WC game against Sri Lanka. It was a difficult situation, and Sangakkara continuously sledges Shaun. He says things like, "Oh, the captain is under pressure" - oh yes, that was Pollock's last game as captain - and "He's feeling the weight of expectations of 42 million South Africans" and "They are depending on Shaun". Things like that. BUT, HE NEVER WENT ON TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT POLLOCK'S SKIN COLOUR or HIS MOTHER's OCCUPATION or anything like that! LOL. But yes, I'm being serious - that's the difference between the Aussies and Sri Lankans, and that's why people LOVE Sri Lankans and LOVE TO HATE the Aussies!

  • Damith Kethaka on April 17, 2007, 15:13 GMT

    so much for the concept of globlisation..the dream of bringing the entire mankind under one banner of humanity !! here we see chauvenists of all types.Aussies and other whites who dream that Asians and Africans are still their subordinates and should bow before the mighty whites.and ironically they themselves are the ones who preach human rights, democracy,blah blah poo poo and the rest..!! when miss universe was on sometime back these white chauvenists tried their best to shame asian contestants. hate-blogs were swarming in on sites such as missology.com..and now here same thing repeats.we have personally experienced as asians the racial hatred of English people (specially those from Midland area UK)and certain Aussies.i think they are begining to envy us.

  • kavinda on April 17, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    ranjit fernando is a disgrace to sri lanka he has no idea about cricke and simply says big words in a futile attempt to sound like he is intelligent and a great commentater when in fact most sri lankans can't stand his commentary.

  • Annie on April 17, 2007, 13:07 GMT

    HEY!! I wonder if anyone else noticed this,every time Ranjith Fernando comes on to do his part of the commentries,and if Sri Lankans are batting, we always loose a wicket. He is a JINKS!!! to the lankan team. He Sucks!!! I hope someone sends this link to him, if he alraedy doesn't know about it.

    Oh! and Sameer, pls get a life. Indians are a great team no doubt, they just had a bad season.And 99% of the Sri Lankan public loves India and team India. If Sri Lanka is not playing with India, they would all support India. So stop this nonsense. Murali does not chuck!!!Pity the people who thinks so.Time to grow up and face the facts.

    Have a great day evevrybody!!!

  • Suranga on April 17, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    The current SL team I will not say is the best team playing arond. We should not over rate them. As a SLan I am happy that we have supporters from around the world be it for what ever reason. I would rather estimate the true potential of the team than saying we are the best. In the bowling and fielding departmnets we can for sure say we can be rankled at the top. Batting wise we are nowhere there. The Indian batting line up, talent wise, is by far the best among the cricketing nations. They just didn't click at the right time for whatever reason. Thats life anyway. Australia is the best team in the competiton by leaps and bounds. There should be at leat two other teams who can confidently face them and have a good chance of beating them (Not wishing for luck). If else cricket will become boring and we would not be able to see a good competition. We definetily miss a good Pakistani team as there was during Wasim Akram's time

  • charlie J on April 17, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    Hey TeamUSA, Don't make unneccessary comments like that about the Aussies mate. Keep your thoughts to yourself... remember, people are talking cricket here, not politics. Cheers

  • charlie J on April 17, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    Mohan, ... I can imagine your dissappointment about your indian team not participating in the super 8's, but that's due to their incapability of playing good cricket. Think of it this way..... if you can't pick a decent 11 out of a billion people, do you really think that you can have more than one good team for India? It's the quality that matters mate, not the quantity. Grow up, there's more to life than Indian cricket!

  • CunningAttitude on April 17, 2007, 8:44 GMT

    Hope you guys watched the yesterday's game. Srilanka with their cunning attitude wanted to check Australia. But surely they paid the penalty for it, and well above all Srilanka had ground advantage playing all their games in slow surfaces except the one they gotta play against Ireland. Srilanka plays semifinal in Jamaica and Finals in Barbados. Except Murali and the equipped fast bowlers are due to perform in those tracks. believe me Sri Lanka overcame Bond or Ntini in slow surfaces as Grenada or Guyana. But surely its not going to be that easy in Jamaica or barbados, if they have to face them in semis or finals. So guys here dont write exreme comments, but as per prospects SL or AUS are not complete favorites because they must overcome NZ or SA in semis, infact the job doesn't look easy.

    Mr.Mukul, Vaas had his day against NZ and that should not be a point to make conclusion. On a Bond's good day, i dont think any team can reach even 145. and it was witnessed in the past occasions.(I hope you watched the game where SL struggled against Bond at Grenada).

    Mr Mukul, didnt you know that WI never lost a Home series between 1975 and 1995. And did you know how many home series were lost by SL between 1996 and 2006. In this way you can create a new blog, that Jayasuriya is a better player than Sir Viv or you may make Malinga bowls better than Ambrose.

  • Dace on April 17, 2007, 7:44 GMT

    Thomas, give me a break, dont bend your so called facts to suit you. No one said Sri Lanka were the first to come up with pinch hitting, they just did it better than anyone had ever done it before with Jayasuria and Kaluwitharana, at least give them that. Of course they didnt invent it ... And we dont call the race card everytime ... like you who cant accept your own peoples scientific findings (even though you were the ones jumping up and down for Murali to be tested) and conveniently disagree with the findings when the results didnt suit your hate and bias. That goes for you too Sameer. If you think that Murali got the rules bent for him then you should thank him because then it would be him who kept Harbhajan in the game (not to mention every other bowler). Can someone please tell me which scientific and wise source did the previous straightening limit even come from? Some pom in a pub who thinks his eyesight can tell how much exactly 5 degrees or 10 degrees is with his naked eye? What a joke. If anything Murali bought closure to this argument and made the ICC realise that the previous laws were misinformed and inaccurate. Even ex players like Nasser Hussein and Alec Stewart who used to call Murali a chucker are now staunch supporters of his action. Why? Because they were actually educated with the right information from the EXPERTS of bio mechanics and how Murali can almost dislocate his shoulder to bowl the ball which gives the illusion that he is throwing, but as we all know (those of us that choose to listen at least) he cant straighten his arm anyway because of the deformity. Bottom line, SL are playing good cricket. India are....

  • Pax Deorum on April 17, 2007, 7:10 GMT

    This is response to Chamara Gamanayake and others critical of the blog writer and other contributors.

    I think Mukul's blog is on the whole well-balanced, and it is certainly well-written. I think the blog is less provocative than thought-provoking. Besides, there is no point ascribing motivations/agendas, purposeful or otherwise, to the writer since these are at best conclusions in the mind of the observer. They are not necessarily in the mind of the observed (the writer).

    What we readers make of his writing is therefore an individual matter. I would only suggest that we avoid externalising them in gross terms and ascribing motivations and/or hidden agendas to the blogs, and to each other. Just enjoy them (or do not enjoy them) for whatever they are worth after your own "calling".

    If we are to criticize them, then let's avoid vitriol. The hatred that is otherwise aroused spills over and attracts more hatred from others to the point that it becomes unpleasant reading. The writer cannot be faulted for this outcome anymore than a driver can be faulted for an accident that is not of his/her making. What spills out comes from the mind of the observer, not the observed.

    I think all that the writer is attempting is to provoke a healthy exchange of views. (This is my conclusion, and a reasonable one, I should think). So, lest these fora descends further on the scale of the absurd, let's observe the following:

    (a) Avoid attacking another even if you perceive you are being attacked by the other. (Such perception occurs when you feel your favourite team/players are being attacked). The best defense in these kinds of fora is 'silence'. When the attacker finds he or she has no audience to provoke, he/she will slink away. Simple as that.

    (b) If you feel strongly about the content of the blog, or with what another may have posted, meet the argument/assertion/viewpoint with a reasoned argument devoid of vitriol, name-calling, ascribing hidden causes etc.

    (c) Avoid calling anybody 'racist'. This too is at best a conclusion. We really do not know what goes on in the mind of the other when an apparent transgression occurs. Above all, avoid branding a whole group of people 'racist' on the strength of suggestive racism on the part of just one individual.

    The bottom line is, pouring vitriol on the writer and on each other gets nobody nowhere. It only reduces otherwise healthy debate to a scapheap.

    Trust everyone would permit future blogs to remain pleasant reading.

  • aussie dude on April 17, 2007, 6:32 GMT

    indians are very sore losers and have difficulty understanding that other countries play the sport as well In thier mind if india arent playing the game is not a match

  • Iftikar Zaruk on April 17, 2007, 6:16 GMT

    Looking at this blog, I now come to realise Great Indians are a very few, who knows to take Win & Defeat as a part of a game.. By now Australians have defeated Sri Lanka I would say convincingly, we may have not gone with our full strength but its a defeat and well done Australia.. I am sure there should have been a game plan before they decide to rest key bowlers, tournament is not over we all keep our fingers crossed to see our guys get through from Semi Finals.. I hope this will be an eye opener to give Marvan a chance to open with Jayasuriya....

    Some guys are too jealous of Sri Lanka ( "Aprit" just look at the fate of Manoj Prabhakar and I wonder that had anything do with fluke have a chat with Prasad he'll tell you who's Jayasuriya is), imagine if Jayasuriya & Murali was in Indian team, I am sure Darrel Hair may have got murdered long time back (fans like Sameers, Siddharths for sure will....

    Well done Australia! Better luck next time the Great Lankans!

  • Zach on April 17, 2007, 6:09 GMT

    Natasha from Brisbane...I wish more folks could look at the Sri Lankan and Aussie teams' relationship through rose tinted glasses - but that's not really the case. I have absolutely nothing against Aussies, and I think they're team is one of the most fantastic units I've seen in one-day cricket...one of the most feared and most loathed teams on the international scene! It's a pity really. I dunno, they almost seem to go out of their way to tick folks off. Seriously, Ricky Ponting currently sounds like such a pompous arrogant jerk, and I've got tired of seeing 'em strut on and off the field that I personally don't care what team beats 'em in the final as long as they're taken down a few pegs...take down badly.

    Mukul's hyperbole aside (and he's entitled to whatever he wants to say...it IS his blog after all!), although the Sri Lankan team is looking pretty solid, it isn't as tight- performance wise as their counterparts from down under. But they're so much more gracious, gentlemanly and sportsmanlike that I really hope they go all the way. Cricket is supposed to be a gentlemans game after all! So here's to the Lankan Lions!!!

  • TRUE SL fan on April 17, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    OK all fans,

    OZ's will win this cup and all will be same again.. there'll b a boring final and they ll win all the WCups .. OK HAPPY..

    lets move on and close this thread..

    All the fellow bloggers, we are wasting our time here mates... back to work now....

    COME ON, WORK.....

  • thinesh on April 17, 2007, 6:01 GMT

    OK ,mukul, time to stop writin about SL.. lets move on and close this thread..

    All the fellow bloggers, we are wasting our time here mates... back to work now....

    COME ON, WORK.....

  • Ramnath on April 17, 2007, 5:14 GMT

    I just heard Ian Chappell call SL's decision to rest their key bowlers disgraceful! My my, talk about pts and kettles and all that. Isnt the Aussie team the one that made a "science" out of "rotation"? Where was the indignation then? Or is it that the Aussies are just abit scared, and want to rattle the Lankans, and will do anything to try and put some pressure on them - like complaining to the ICC? All of this is well in line with normal Aussie behaviour of ex-players sledging the opposition in the press, and brining up touchy issues. Was it any surprise that Justin Langer (yes, the same one who said he didnt like sledging--choke..! splutter!..), right in the middle of a crucial world cup for SL, made uncalled for comments about their coach moving on? Disgraceful? Yes, Mr Chappell, too many of your fellow ex-players' behaviour can be called just that.

  • Mohan on April 17, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    Sanchit, don't worry. I don't expect too many to agree with the kind of proposal I made on first hearing - certainly not on the comments section of a blog. The idea of team representing the country and also the power of the simplistic argument "if one Indian team isn't exactly a world-beater, how good can a state team be?" is too huge for anyone to appreciate alternate thought. But unfortunately, like most simplistic arguments, that one too is flawed. Correct question to ask is, "if Sri Lanka with 20 million population can produce a world class team, what stops Karnataka with 50 million from doing so, given that both are pretty similar in level of interest in cricket, infrastructure, economic prosperity, etc".

  • Ravishan on April 17, 2007, 4:14 GMT

    Dear Indian friends, Its rather sad to see the not so friendly comments from our neighbours.Srilankan success is attributed mainly to the attitude towards any sport played in their country.We do not bring politics,regionalism,racism and favourism in to the game called cricket.We do have cricketing personalities but do not have demigods and celebrities unlike our asian neighbours .Cricketeers donot turn celebrities over night it is the franzy fans like most of you all who create them. Srilankan success in cricket is due to the school level cricket which is in place and again they are also tought the lession to ' PLAY THE GAME INSPITE OF WINNING OR LOOSING'

  • Sameer on April 17, 2007, 3:53 GMT

    So thats it. All the high talk, all the big claims, the big aura, the tight air around the so called 2007 world champions has burst. The SL were outplayed and heavily beaten by Aussies and it wud be termed as ridiculous and plane stupis to sit ur 2 best bowlers out of the game and that to me is compleacency. Without V, Mu and Mal the bowling attack looks deflated. Are you kidding ? The likes of Kulasekra, Fernando, Bandara and Maharoof are going to test Aussie batting power ? If u watched Arjuna -- ur best skipper, he was miffed at this. And his views are the one that shud matter to this new crop of SL cricketers who have gone a bit higher on the vane of an aura, a tight air around them..Jaywardhena has been talking too high and loud about the game and in some very stuffed English, but if you are keen on maintaining the momentum and want to beat the best, then you need to have the best team and the reason why SL have a strong bowling attack is very simple -- presence of Murali and Vaas. Pick them out and SL becomes a ordinary team of pre 1996 era....

    I hope now sanity returns and SL fans see a realistic view of their team and not get carried away by such volatile articles and they show some restraint in abuse of India and its cricketers.

    ICC is sure gonna ask some questions to the SL management and some wise men from 1996 team -- who else than the KING Arjuna himself give some hard talk to this young cricketers (Mahela and Kumar Sanga)....to perform on the field and let the talking be done later on, the newspaper columns to be done later on. First go on the field and if wanted to be counted among the top notch teams they need to beat the BEST. And do it with BEST team you have...And if that was what they call a SL brand of cricket then its not even worth 1 cent, the 1996 team of rookies played lot better than this team... There is no player of the caliber of Aravinda DeSilva and the captain Arjuna Ranatunga in this team.... Make no mistake, Mahela and Sangakara are no Aravinda and Arjuna....This 2 players are the ones who got the SL cricket the respect and the position today they are in. And yes V, Mu and Jai too. But this 2 players r those who got the respect and bread, butter for SL cricket....SOmething similar to Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev for India and Javed Miandad, Imran Khan for Pakistan.....

  • Karthik on April 17, 2007, 3:28 GMT

    Srilankans who are supposed to be joyous team they made a mockery of the spirt of cricket by not fielding thier best team. They are just like any other team. Look at the aussies they fileded their best and respect every game they play. Their arrgonat thinking that they will meet aussies in final. for their arrogance they wont even qualify for the finals

  • Vinod Perera on April 17, 2007, 2:13 GMT

    After watching Sri Lanka playing against Australia yesterday, got this feeling that Sri Lanka will not win the world cup unless they do some changes to the batting order. They had the full batting line up yesterday though 3 front line (shall we say best 3) bowlers were rested. So they managed to score only 226 runs. Upul Tharanga failed again and Marvan Atapattu is still not playing. This is really puzzling. Why they want to keep playing Upul when he is not consistent. He is not technically equipped to play against strong teams. He will learn it but this tournament is not a learning time. Even if they replace Upul with Marvan now it may be too late. You can’t expect Marvan to score without any match practice for nearly one month. At least they can try it out and see during next two matches (including semi finals). He might fail once but definitely he will score more than Upul. The team management should have taken the decision of playing Marvan at the beginning of the tournament. They will suffer now because of this mistake. Even Russel Arnold is not consistent. One can argue that he took two wickets yesterday. But he is in the team as a batsman not as a bowler. Sri Lanka had a very good team that can win the world cup but they are ruining their chances with idiotic team selections. This is sad but that’s the truth.

  • mahesh on April 17, 2007, 0:48 GMT

    ahem still rooting for sri lanka are we mukul? comparing them to the great west indians of yester years. get outta here

  • nick mac on April 16, 2007, 22:03 GMT

    IS cricket on its' death bed? I sadly, think so. Reasons...Too much interest from gambling! Too many people in the game for finance not love of cricket! Too many players thinking thy're owed their place in the teams! Imagine playing cricket all your life, you make it into the national team, then pass off the opportunity to captain your team? I think this says a lot about what is happening in the game. Sri Lanka, the new West Indies? NO, dont agree to that, sorry. I think you barrack for them because they're of closer racial origin. having no one else from Asia to back, that is. Why are people from Pakistan still crying about a bad pitch? Both teams had to play on the same wicket? Ireland won fairly or Pakistan threw the game. Simple as that.(see gambling). I have watched this game since my childhood (30+yrs now), I cant remember feeling so disinterested about watching a world cup?(I couldn't play for s***) I think that so far in this comp..New Zealand and Australia are the teams to beat, however after some off field Tactics from the SRI'S for last nights game, (Ausssie kicked some ass..again) Sri lanka can only go into finals against South Africa or England and Aust./new Z.. will play in the other. Current form says the Sri's will go into G.F against Aus. or Nz. I hope that the rest of the cricketing nations get their crap together and fast, as the game will die fast if they dont. for the next w.c. i would like to see the minnow games played before it starts, with the winner to go into the cup as a wildcard entry. Far too many silly match ups and far too many opportunities for easy money by throwing games.( Pak/Ire. Ire $7.50 to win? think about it.) I think this Aussie team is one of the best to have played the game. It's no good trying to compare teams of yesteryear, no good saying they only win because of sledging..pplaying the game wins not the mouth. So many countries have good quality youth trying to come through but get held back because of stupidity and one eyed biased selectors. Imagine the stats Hayden could have racked up if he was selected as an 18yr old? scary. Too bad he played for Qld. when selectors were based from NSW. Hmm sound familiar people? it is sad that a lot of you out there who claim to passionate cricket supporters dont give this Australian team it's due. Brutal Batting and elegant batting...fast bowling and slow but accurate bowling..the unreadable Hoggy and the Awesome fielding displays...These boys are redefining OD cricket and how its played. But then, NOT being of Asian race must mean they dont count? Hmm seems to me abit of racism is getting through the door..Sad days indeed.

  • Amish Patel on April 16, 2007, 21:17 GMT

    lankans played dirty today. all that talk that they're so fun and innocent in their aspirations and play all gone, they played dirty i say again and again. Hope aussies blow them apart even with muralis and vaas

  • Tony on April 16, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    I have read the majority of comments here and find the hatred of the Australian side bordering on fanatical which is disappointing. Sri Lankan supporters have a right to question why their team appears scared to face the Australians. Resting key members of their side short-changes the tournament and the fans who have travelled to see them play. I find that approach very arrogant.

  • Dawar, LA USA on April 16, 2007, 19:03 GMT

    I totally agree with James above.

  • drneilmukherjee on April 16, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    TO ALL SL FANS, Answer this: How many times can you score 240 without Jayasurya scoring atleast 40? You have a bowling attack thats comparable to Australia but you dont have even one class batsman. You may get by teams like India and NewZealand a few times but you cant bluff your way past the Aussies. Even India destroys you on batting friendly pitches. Please bring Attapattu back if you want to challenge the Aussies.

  • Indian fan on April 16, 2007, 17:34 GMT

    Roshan mate, did u forget Arujuna Ranatunga arguing with Ross Emerson and Daryll Hair when king of chucking Chuckalidharan was called ? Or do u forget the anger in the eyes of the King himself ? SL is all about negative brand of cricket, they play bore draws in Test matches, prepare flat tracks where their below par batsmen keep on baating for days n the KING bowls 50% of overs (luckily one bowler cant bowl more than 1 over on trot), else he d hv bowled 100% of overs......Seeing them play is like a torture to your senses, dont know how Mukul found them poetic and joyous...Watching that 624 partnership and 952 against India was such a torture and virtually killing the test cricket!!!!!! WUPJCV always sledges his batsmen when he gets them out........But one man he could not sledge was Mahi when he whacked him for 4 sixes in his epic knock of 183*....Ganguly got his 183 against SL, Yes Jaisuriya too got 189 against us, but that was long back n since then we get this man cheaply.....So wot point r u tryin to convey abt such a boring team!!!!!!!!! Abusive team who abuses in the native language......

  • Chamara Gamanayke on April 16, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    Look Mukul Kesavan what you have done. You have written a provokative articla where fans are abusing Indian players, questioning them n wot not!!!! To me this is sensational journalism!!!

  • KO on April 16, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    I dont know where you sometimes get these crazy ideas. Suddenly you're comparing the mighty 80's Windies to the current sri lankan team!?! whats so great about a team who, luckily for them, found form at the right time? and a team which has 8 points from 5 games in the super-8s? whats so chivalrous about a 'veteran ancient' bowler who bad mouths a young player after getting him out? please spare us from these kinds of thoughts. and one more thing, there are words to describe people who 'never stops grinning'...

  • Roshan on April 16, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    AN INDIAN FAN ROOTING FOR AUSTRALIA

    i wonder how this person in a pschyciatric condition writes a comment about SL. i dunno what funny name u carry, but ur friends must call you wacko. bcos u seemed to be frustrated and dissapointed on your indian teams exit. none has a hand in indias exit than the very indian team itself. if you people cant play a good game, please shut your mouth and watch other teams performimg. do not try to express your anger to SL who is playing absolute cricket in the field, not like others in the press conference.everyone supports Sl to win bcos people seeing them winning, and in style.

    SL's success based on the players and its nations charecter. do u ever see a SL player upset in the field or disagreeing with the umpire on the field or sledging or verbally abusive? oh please show some respect for the lankans. if you cant(im sure u dont have respect) atleast better keep shut.

    i dont want to waste time on commenting to this ...

    thank u mukul for your supprt for SL.

  • Proud2B Lankan on April 16, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    To all Indian Fans and Sameer,

    In true Sri Lankan mannerisms,I would like to say thank you for your views.. You have clearly made an impact in cricket..I agree India is a great cricketing team and it is sad that they were unable to preceed any further in this competition.. As Sangakara wrote, there is an emptiness in the competition without India.

    However, with regards to Sameer's interpretation of sledging when you accused Sangakara of cursing in Sinhalese by saying "alle Alle",I honestly think that you should take the time to understand what you are writing because Alle alle does not mean a single thing in Sinhalese. Maybe "Go" in French.. (Allez)- which is completely understandable if he's telling the Lankan team "Allez Allez" (Go Go)! Or maybe you are hearing it wrong, maybe he is saying "hari hari" which means "Ok Ok" in Sinhalese perhaps in regards to the bowling saying it was good..

    Sri Lanka - World Cup 2007 Champions

  • cricket-fan on April 16, 2007, 12:36 GMT

    i think that any of the semi-finalists will be capable of winning the world cup if they play well on the day. However at this point , Australia and Sri-Lanka have the most successful bowling attacks in the competition 60 wickets for Australia (1185 runs against at 19.75av) and 59 for Sri-Lanka (1204 runs against at 20.40av)with the Australian bowlers having slighly better averages but the Sri-Lankan bowlers having better economy rates. However the batting is a different story, although both teams have scored a similar amount of runs Australia's 1750 runs cost only 27 wickets (64av) and Sri-Lanka's 1705 runs cost 45 wickets (38av). Additonally, in seven matches, Australia's 9,10 and 11 batsmen have not even had a bat, while Symonds and Hogg have yet to be dismissed. Australia have seven batsmen with a tournament strike rate of 100 or more (including four out of five of their highest run scorers) , white Sri-Lanka have only four batsmen with a strike rate over 100, but none of their five highest run scorers. Addditionally, Sri-Lanka has narrowly lost to South Africa and only narrowly defeated England, both of whom Australia beat comfortably, so on balance predicting anything other than an Australia win is probably more of an emotive rather than an objective decision. The proof would be in the eating in a few hours time. In all probability, their will probably be a rematch in the final later next week.

  • Tejas on April 16, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    Hi, Mukul sounds like a typical Indian fan. No sooner does a team start doing well, he elevates them to such greatness such as the West Indies of the 70s and mid-80s! Lets wait for a year or two or at least the end of this WC to see if they really deserve such adulation.

    Cheers.

  • Natasha from Brisbane on April 16, 2007, 10:39 GMT

    The article by Mukul is a bit one sided..? Well Sri Lankans seems to be a very friendly lot compared to some others...It dosent mean others arnt...I think whole of Australia would like a final encounter with the flamboyant Sri Lanka team. I hink the Aussies and the Lankan get on well too. I cant wait for it !!!!!

  • Cricky on April 16, 2007, 10:00 GMT

    Mukul, please stop creating a warzone with your amateur journalism. All Asian mates, please watch game with a sportive spirit, rather bringing your extreme feelings and hurting each other.

    I hope you all guys watched yesterday's match. Ireland routed Banglas with ease, who troubled India and SA.Cricket is anyone's game. Srilanka peaked at right time. Australia shows consistency, NZ and SA are also running alongside SL.WI fell at right time, INDIA and PAKISTAN had baddays in their office. England being the ununderstandable. Banglas and Irish shows spirits. Thats it till now. Lets watch Aussie Vs SL, better team today will emerge as winners. Indeed winners today doesnt determine the finalist. both of them can falter in semis. :)). thats the truth about a game called cricket. I can say 2 examples, Aussies of 87 and 99, Pak of 92, they got into semis as underdogs and went on holding the trophy. I saw some rubbish here really. Mukul got what he wanted by publishing this article. Watch and enjoy the game. I dont believe in predictions. Yesterday's game is truly an example.

  • Biju on April 16, 2007, 9:49 GMT

    Hi Cricket fans

    Let us not talk about racism in cricket.If you are a real fan you should enjoy every ball of the game who ever plays.You have the freedom to support the team you want.We are not the ones who decide who is chucking or not .There are rules & regulations & umpaires appointed to look after that.Let us talk about the game not about racism.Of course Aussies are known for their behaviour in the feild.Cricket is known as gentlemen's game & it is not good for the spirit of the game to behave like the way the do.Like Mukul I also support Sri Lankans because they play with real spirit & patriotic(Which Indian team members lack).They play for the country and not for money.Let we billion Indians back them .

  • Ramson on April 16, 2007, 9:41 GMT

    Mukul, good article. The real test will come when SL bowlers like Murli, Malinga and Vaas bowl to the Austalian batting line-up like Hayden, Ponting & Symonds. Once you put Aussie on check you are going to win the World-Cup for sure SL. Good luck.

  • Theena on April 16, 2007, 9:19 GMT

    My flipping God, some of you people need a life.

    I find it hilarious when, following a defeat to the Sri Lankan team, fans of the opposition go...., much like the proverbial drowning man clutching to straws, accusing our bowlers of being chuckers and what not. Very original I must say.

    Not a day goes by when I don't thank the Cricket Gods for giving people like Sanath, Murali and Malinga to us and not some asinine cricket system like England. Surely, they would have been thrown out of the reckoning because they are not "proper".

  • Sena on April 16, 2007, 9:17 GMT

    Gosh!!! The amount of comments!. Anyhow I am a Sri Lankan and definitely I would love to see if our team can win the cup, obviously. But I am more than upset the way some SL fans have commented the Inidian team's exit from the world cup and totally unnecessary. There must have been some reason for that and as fans we cannot judje by looking at one particular match. But they had a bad day and I guess it is not at all correct to bash the Indian cricketers, even by the Indian fans. The other thing is that I guess, Mukul's pulication of this article is not the correct timing. Atleast if we are in the finals position, then I think this article would have been more appropriate. The other thing I want to say is that, I dare say that many has not understood what Sameer has said. What he is talking is reality and we must accept and discuss how we should filter of the ups & downs in our teams if we are going to beat the Oz's. We must try to win Sammer's support not to throw him away just becuase he wrote the reality. Really speaking, just look at Mahela playing in the middle, he seems to be out of form and I can say from his body language that he is out of confidence. Just because he can utter few word in front of the media doesn't make him a captain, he has to show the practical qualities of Ricky Pointing, Lara amd Fleming. My alternative is bring back Atapattu as the captain. Sameer I have to correct one point of yours, other points I agree, Sanath's home was never attacked due to cricket, it was attacked but that was private matter and it's none of our buisness, Just like I think as a SL fan it is not our buisness to bash the the Indian cricketers. . But our crickrters were never ever attacked over cricket, instead we have left it for the media. Media gives the appropriate bashing. Finally Sammer, I will count your support to our Lankan team and please do accept the fact that our SL fans are little over joyed which little too early.

    P.S Take if it concerns you.

    People who trying to challenge the leagalities of Murali & Mali, better start your education again from the primary school. The science did prove the legality and of course ICC is there to handle those issues. Our job is to watch the game and if we win we'll enjoy or if if we fails aceeot with grace.

  • Sameer on April 16, 2007, 8:48 GMT

    Go Australia go!!!!

  • suresh kottegoda on April 16, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    mukul sir, as a srilankan it is so heart warming to read your article. sri lanka going well thus far but the middle order looks very fragile. i hope they get it sorted. i think indian team has taken enough cricism & should be able to make a strong claim for 2011 wc along with pakistan. they have enormous talent ( the biggest in the world ) at their disposal. Honestly, it is heartbreaking to see sri lanka getting in the way of india & blocking its progress on too many occasions in main tournaments. cant we knock somebody else out, for god`s sake ? i`m surprised that sri lanka is getting any indian support ! may be that shows how big the big brother ( india ) really is. i hope indian fans show their own team the same kind of affection & tolerance. 2007 wc is not the end of the world! chamath well said man ! i wonder how such a disarticulate joker like ranjit fernando( RANJANI as we call him )is been allowed to babble away all this time. he is a shame & a disgrace to sri lanka. please bring back shastri, akram, sidhu, ian chappel, david lloyd & .....harsha bhogle

  • SLion on April 16, 2007, 8:18 GMT

    Sammer,

    It's not "Alle-Alle". It's "Allanna-Allanna" or "Alluwa- Alluwa". That means "Catch it - Catch it". I suppose it's not sledging. LOL

  • Shiraz on April 16, 2007, 7:13 GMT

    For all those sour grape Indian fans and experts I can say only one thing. We Asians are always experts in killing the messenger without looking at the stark truth in the message. What do you guys do each time a series or a world cup go wrong? Remove the coach first, then drop some of the seniors and start the crap all over of sitting there (I mean the Administrators) until the next Board elections comes, so that they could fight and sling mud at each other. Our Board is no better, but the only reason we are doing better than both our politically embroilled brothers of India and Pakistan is that our players still feel the pride of playing for the country. With the kind of problems our board is saddled with, no player can even think of playing. But hats off to them, they want to sport that Lion in their chests and come good. My dear Indian fans, and big brother, first get your good cricketers to play for their country with pride and enjoyment and not for the money that they can earn from the endorsements. The moment the incumbent coach points out these shortcomings, what do you guys do? The fans start throwing rotten tomatoes at him and the administrators start firing salvos and calling explanations or sack them altogether. So, do you really think any soul is going to come to the rescue of Indian cricket unless and otherwise the Indian cricket starts to think that cricket is a game and the players should represent their country and not their 'interests'.

  • tamim on April 16, 2007, 6:51 GMT

    i gotta say that some ppl who keeps coming back here has no life. I mean come on.. it's just a game. I just read 5 comments and realized that there are too many of them. Please take it easy guys. This debate will go nowhere. Enjoy the game...

  • siddharth on April 16, 2007, 6:13 GMT

    Hi Mukul, it surprises me how the cricketing world has not found solutions to Sri Lanka's bowling attack. It seems like everybody is paranoid of losing their wicket to the plain clinical spin bowling of Lanka. Remember Malinga, Maharoof and Fernando being despatched to all parts of the ground in the very recent past? How is that suddenly they are being seen as 'awesome'. If Glen McGrath or Shaun Pollock can be clobbered so they too be. Why are people making so much out of something which the cricketing world can soon sort out. To my mind they are plain simple lucky. Sanath Jaysuriya is simply lucky to get big scores. He has been very shaky. Indian has got him cheaply on most occassions in the recent past. So have they clobbered the likes of Malinga. I think generally in this world cup the ghosts seem to be in the mind of the opposition playing against SL. I do not see their cricket as world champs. My favourites are Australia and then New Zealand

  • Rajive on April 16, 2007, 5:30 GMT

    Hi Guyz; Its time the world sees the true diversity Sri Lanka brings to the field, from the Wizard of Spin Mutthiah showing the way to his apprentices Singh & Panesar to Vitori & Hogg to the true mastery of leathal mind games of Vass the Force to the Rawness of Dilhara with his dark hard bounce and the Extreme Pace of Sling King Malinga that similar to Jeff Thompson, the SL Lions are roaring with all of Asia behind it carrying the pride of Asia on its shoulders. Its time for Everyone with a passion for cricket to rally behind the SLs and everyone that seeks professionalism to back the Aussies. It is correct one cant compare the current SL team to the WI 80s team merely cos WI had only a few Test Playing nations play against and Spin was still difficult to learn as its an art and needs alot of learning as against fast bowlinig and there were hardly any team that had another Viv Richards. Aginst the current era where There are many teams competing and even the new comers are a force on a good day as we have seen in the defeats of India by the Tigers and the Pakis by the Irish (Wish there was a Qtr Final between India and Pakis and a Final between SL and India) But if Sri lanka was to take on the WI 80s team in the Semis and the Aussies all time great team in the Finals perhaps it could be fair to say that that Lankan Lions then would pull out their Rakish Flamboyance and Raw Passion into the fore to play them in time for the victory celebrations in the evening baila party! WI 80s team if you watch the TV replays will show werent as good in the field and would have crumbled like old rotten cake icing in front of the Wizardry of Mutthiah. mahela would have over shadowed the great Clive Loyd and it would have been Sir Mahela Jayawardena and King Sana & Wizard Murali with Master Mind Vass. There are NGOs trying to bring about SLs downfall as they are campaigning in WI against SL sports which I hope will turn on the families of such ill minded organizations! Its a NZ SL Semi V Aus SA Semi and if NZ doesn try to run out a batsmen during the drinks break or calls for a dead ball after being bowled of gets a female fan to run nude to the field when Vaas is bowling to distract the umpire the SLs should meet their destiny against the Aussies to bring the muc needed passion for the game from the den of a Lion to the whole world out there.

  • Sebben on April 16, 2007, 5:18 GMT

    I think someone earlier was right, Posts critical of SL are being censored. We all forget the racist australians at the time of the tsunami. 120 million donated by then racist public.

  • Savi on April 16, 2007, 5:12 GMT

    It looks so interesting to read out the views of different people in different areas of the world. Please let me to remind you some imporatnt facts behind the accual succes of Sri Lanka. As a lankan, we always admire to our big brothers Ind and Pak. We always wish their unity not because other reason, it gives us huge strength as well as confidence to chase our targets.In 80s'and 90 s' when the nobody in world cricket other than Pak and Ind had not given more than one test MATCH and hardly invited for ODI sereis. Pak and Ind always had anrolled us in their tournaments, ex; Ranji trophy in India. We have played our bulk of mathes against these two big, big teams with some greatest cricketers in cricket history like Imran Khan, Sunil Gaveskar, Javed Miandad, Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram. We have earned the experience that we needed to standerlize our cricket, ultimately ended up with very good team. Therefore one can't forget or ignore the role played by the IND and PAK cricket for our sucees.

  • kavin on April 16, 2007, 4:27 GMT

    Go Lanka their ginna win the cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • An India fan rooting for Australia on April 16, 2007, 3:56 GMT

    Australia take on Lankans today in an inconsequential super 8 game. The reports from the ground say that the pitch is similar to Lanka grounds like Premdasa, Galle or SSC. Its is expected that Mahela Jaywardhene would begin the bowling with Murali and Dilshan with Vass bowling off spin 1st change. Lasith Malinga is being kept under wraps as a X-factor as Lanka are expected to meet Aussies again in final on Apr 28 in Barbados. SL skipper has urged the curator to make Barbados pitch quite similar to the Lankan pitches, so that all Lanka fast bowlers can reduce their run up and bowl spinners to Aussies and bowl the negative leg side length to Aussies. However the fast Barbados pitch is not expected to support Lanka who are notorious to play poor cricket on faster pitches.

    Meanwhile Sky Sports reported that fans on cricinfo site have demanded ICC to abandon the world cup right now and award the World Cup to Lanka because of fan support and the way they play their cricket. According to the Lanka fans demands, ICC is seriously considering to award the World Cup to Lanka. According to Lanka fans, the SL team are a Maritan s pick and are blessed religiously. So the World Cup should go to Lanka, and SL fans have decided that they wud taunt and pass on barbs to the other team fans if they dont support Lanka. If they hold slogans against Lanka, then Lanka fans have arranged for a pyschatrist clinic near the ground where they would get the check up done for the opposite team fans and try to convert them to Lanka fans shouting "Allane Allane" means catch catch the World cup.

    Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have agreed to play for Sri Lanka post world cup under leadership of Mahela as Attapattu and Jaisuriya would retire. The Indian duo said that they have been wasting their times playing for a country like India, and they would attain salvation when they play for Sri Lanka and would wash away their sins by scoring so many 100s and 50s against SL in Tests and ODIs...

    Its expected that Ponting, Hayden, Kallis, Fleming, Lara and Kevin Pieterson are also planning to shift their bases to Lanka after the world cup is over.

  • Channa on April 16, 2007, 2:08 GMT

    Nice article...comparing Sri Lanka to West Indies of 80's a bit unfair to Sri Lankan cricket. You cannot compare apples and oranges. Sri lanka has their unique style of cricket. Only comparison I can come up with is their jovial nature of SL and WI cricketers. They seem to be happy and smiling most of the time no matter what (I still don't understand why Lankans smiles all ways. May be they've just won a jackpot.) They sure are an exciting bunch to watch.

  • teamUSA on April 16, 2007, 0:24 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing Mukul. This is not about Sri Lanka. This competetion is all about South Asia against the most racist and most unethical sporting team in the world (Australia).Lets all rally behind Sri Lanka on this occasion.

  • Arpit Parikh on April 15, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    Mukul, I agree with you that the force seems to be with the Lankans now, but in my opinion, they are still no match for the awesome Aussies. They came to within two runs of losing a match to England, for God's sake. Their match against SA also looked close only due to the freak incident of 4 wickets in 4 balls by Malinga. He may well never repeat that feat for the rest of his career!!! And remember, only last year, they lost the series 7 to 1 in India.

    And it is taking things too far and getting too carried away by the emotions of the moment to be calling Sangakkara great. He failed in every innings in this world cup except against NZ. And Jayasuriya is the biggest flat-track, weak attack bully ever. Mark my words, he will not reach double figures for the rest of the tournament, except if they run into England in Semis.

  • shakil on April 15, 2007, 22:34 GMT

    Well apart from their frienndly attitude and a very balanced side , the fact that even though they are professionals they play the game like kids having fun...In an age of the Aussie Intimidation, South African Machines and the Prima donnas of India and Pakistan , it is still refreshing to see there are a bunch of guyz who still enjoy cricket just for the love of the game and are still a champion team..............Go Lanka!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus they have 2 players who have changed the way the game is played forever , Jayasuriya n Muralitharan..................Malinga n Sangakarra looks like they are on the verge of greatness as well....and ofcourse the Silent Assasin Chaminda Vaas....most often Murali represents the Lankan bowling and Vaas is the most under rated bowler in world

  • UT on April 15, 2007, 21:18 GMT

    The best WC player is from SL: Kumar Sangakkara. If he has a good day, then it is over for the opponents. If any two SL players get over 50, then it is over for the opponents.

  • firoz on April 15, 2007, 21:09 GMT

    as a srilankan i would love to see my country lift the trophy yet again but lets be realistic.no one can predict the outcome of ODIs , look at bangladesh v SA for instance.lets not all get carried away by the entertaining cricket the srilankans are playing.the srilankan victories werent half as comprehensive as the aussies were, and to match these sides would be getting carried away. That being said , weve made it to the semis and i only hope we thrust all our energy weve bought to the caribbean into these 2 important matches and bring the cup back to where it will enjoy being !

  • Iftikar Zaruk on April 15, 2007, 21:04 GMT

    PLEASE POST THE BELOW AND IGNORE THE PREVIOUS ONE..

    Mukul thanks great article, we've watched there are more Indians who've called a spade a "spade", I still remember during the semi finals vs India in 1996, while most Indian fans were desperately attempting to interrupt a Sri Lankan win, there was one, I would say a Great Indian held a board apologising for his fellow countrymen's spoilt sport and accepting Sri Lanka's win.. Just because we Sri Lankan's don't throw stones at our cricketers and cry fowl of others doesn't mean we're not passionate about Cricket.. I guess the fact is most Sri Lankans do know to accept defeat just like we know how to Party for a WIN.. We all know there's unity among the subcontinent for obvious reasons, when an Australian involved with a bookie, he gets away with a pitch report, and others the likes in the subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbeans will be fined, I am directing straight at the Aussies. look at the HAIR incident he openly tried to ask bribe and he's still called great by a fellow HAIR friendly Auz.. Its no secret that the ICC heavily depends on the subcontinent for its survival its hightime the cricketing professionals teach the Auz whats fair and just the traditionsl Asian way.. I am no anti Auz I know more than a handful of Auz who are real sportsmen but the systems is still biased towards the whites in crucial times.. In my opinion HAIR should have been sued for the same sum hel held ICC at ransom.... I think any betting on Cricket should stop..

    By the way Sameer shame on you... hope at least you'll stop your nonsense now, you're harmimg more Indians than defending...

    Mahela whole of Sri Lanka with you..

    Amnesty International, no Sri Lankans will want to approach you for any violations, even the muslim community that I represent or for any minority community for that matter.. I am not into Politics but you've hurt lot of Sri Lankans and we've lost trust for good (God knows any one had one)..

  • Saleem Mukuddem on April 15, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    Having recently played against the Sri Lankans in the World Cup (I played for Bermuda) and having stayed with them in the same hotel in Trinidad I genuinely wish them every success as they are a great bunch of guys. I am a South African do I dont say things like this easily. They are friendly, approachable, down to earth every day guys. They pulverised us (not surprising) but did so with a degree of humbleness. This is most probably a cultural quality that is very endearing to the Sri Lankans. Their cricket is not bad either. I faced three of the fastest balls I will ever face as a cricketer from slinger Malinga that I will never forget. Good luck SL.

  • Sanchit on April 15, 2007, 20:16 GMT

    I guess Mohan's non-sensical argument has already got the battering that it deserved, so I won't bother to add my share of it.

    Regarding the Sri Lankan "way" of playing cricket, well, even being an Indian (or asian for that matter), I must confess that they are the most boring team to watch. I really don't care about what tha Muralis and Vass' are doing after they take a catch or two. It's about how well you demonize or grind the opposition. And in that sense, the Sri Lankans need these typical wickets and conditions to come out good. A world champion team ought to do well against all the teams in all the conditions. By that logic, Australia and NZ are the deserving candidates. Racism deserves no place in cricket, be it from any side.

  • Chris Peries on April 15, 2007, 19:00 GMT

    Hi, I'm a staunch Srilankan supporter & I really value the comments made by you. It only shows the deep affection & fondness attributable to the brand of cricket played by our Srilankan Boys. Good Luck to our Boys in their quest to bring the World Cup to our beloved emerald isle.

  • my2cents on April 15, 2007, 18:19 GMT

    Mukul, good article. I thought it was funny that you used the word "gay" to describe the SL team given the varied meaning of that word these days. But it still "straight" in the old English dictionary =) (just a joke..)

    But i think the main reason that the team is holding Marvan on the bench is because if you take Upul out now, that's going to be a big blow to the youngsters confidence and the old mantra is 'if it's not broken, don't fix it'. Plus, with Sanath definitely retiring after the world cup, they need to give Upul as much time as possible so Marvan can come in and join him after Sanath's retirement. Jeff: Most (not all) Australians are more racists that any asian can ever be. Mohan: I think we should have 1 Billion cricket teams represent India so that its fair for everyone in India as a large country....

    And... Go Sri Lanka!

  • Vindana Ariyawansa on April 15, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    Kudos to Mukul for writing with such passion.

    for people who bashed mukul for comparing this current SL to the WIs of the 80's , i think you guys underestimated Mukul's knowlegde of stats and his ability to distinguish between facts and fiction. when he made that comparison it wasnt out of just pure passion and prejudice. and this is why the reasons that comment was justifiable.

    during the 80s WI played their matches againts half witted teams from all around the world, if you look at the subpar teams from the subcontinant, mediocre english and new zealend teams , an underperforming aussie team that had a sub 500 record and no south africa, yes they had a great run then, who couldnt when you played with those teams in the 80s.

    and the cricket wasnt as competitive as it is these days, you didnt have fielders like jonty rhodes in the covers doing acrobatic moves, and have you ever seen Joel Garner dive to save a boundary, yeah with english and australian cricketers with their beer bellies hanging ( mike gatting,david boon, merv hughes etc etc etc..) and almost all the teams are with players with no athletism , chosen purely on ability to bowl or bat, yeah with the fielding sides of australia, south africa and srilanka, those west indies may have got out in various number of ways.

    and also they only played a very little number of matches in subcontinent (mind you they never toured Srilanka in 80s) and their ability to cop up with spin was never exploited, and when they had to play great ABDUL QADER, take a look at the stats on those matches they played against Pakistan.

    and CLIVE LOYD being the great captain he is.yeah right , in a sport like cricket if you have a good enough team the captaincy reallly doesnt matter, Australia has proved that in the past decade. and if Clive loyd was that a genius how could they lose twice to a mediocre INDIAN team in 87WC including the finals.

    and the other debate is the great VIV richards, believe me growing up he was my idol and still i am a great fan of him. but if you look at the number of matches and his match winning innings, Mike Hussey, Michael Bevan, Herchelle Gibbs, Ricky Ponting all have higher winning percentages when they perform well.

    and if you look at the team stats.. yeah Greenich and Haynes were good, but there stats are way behind on the major players who are playing today. and then one down was richie richardson and we all know how avarage he was and how he chokes under pressure. number two was king richards,of course one of the greatest and then look at their batting, Gus logie, Clive Loyd, Larry Homes, Jeff Dujon, CAN YOU IMAGINE THESE GUYS EVER GETTING A PLACE ON CURRENT AUSTRALIAN TEAM? i guess not.

    and so called fierce bowling, if Jayasuriyas, Tendulkars, Pontings, Haydens, Symonds, who have batted against those.. ? and even with the likes of Holding, Marshal, Garner,\ today, pollock, Mcgrath and especially Vass have performed very well on pitches made to eat the pace bowlers out,

    so this is why i think Mukul compared the current sl side to the WI because ..of the nature of the game being played today.

  • True SL fan on April 15, 2007, 17:25 GMT

    got to agree wit FAT MONKEY... lets just stop commenting here ... Its all no use and our talk here wont change a thing in tomorrow s match.. so get back to some productive work...

    PS: Mukul time to stop the thread ,AND START A NEW TOPIC MAN....

  • Asanka on April 15, 2007, 16:17 GMT

    Dear Sameer, India had 2 bad days only. No one should insult them or teach them. Still I belive they have best batting line. Murali also said that. That's why they wanted to kick them in first rount to avoid to face them in Semi or Final. But There are 4 things I see in Sri Lanka team 1. They concern about the team performance and not personel performances. 2. Just see the happiness when they take a wicket(From that we can assume how much effort they have put ) 3.No one has receive bribery charges 4. When they loose no one burn their effigies or destroy houses ( Because of that they can play without pressure in a cruical match)

    I don't want to answer to Jeff or Terry Gonsalves . That is just a time waste.

    Anyway hope SL will beat Aussies again.

  • Sean on April 15, 2007, 15:24 GMT

    Mr. Jason,

    People in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Your comment about Maling and Murali do not bowl properly is ridiculous at BEST!

    Where were you brothern when Jeff Thomson was slinging against the pommies?

    Why are you closing your ears and shutting your eyes to ICC's comments/reports about MCgrath and Lee?

    ICC report concluded alomst all the bowlers bend thier arms EXCEPT Ronnie Sarwan.

    PLEASE CUT OFF YOUR SELECTIVE BIAS AND APPRECIATE THE GENIUS OF MURALI!!

    Some of you cannot accept colored people succeeding in this world!!

  • Cricket Fan on April 15, 2007, 15:10 GMT

    All teams have their own qualities, strategies and focus for the game. Sl , with Vaas, Murali, Malinga, Jayasuriya and Sangakkara. NZ with Fleming, Styris, Oram,Bond and Vettori. SA with Smith, Kallis,Pollock, Gibbs and Boucher. India have Sachin, Rahul. So it is. SL can win Cup, NZ can win Cup, SA can win CUP. NZ,SA or Sl needs 250, 275 to defend against Aussies but Aussies just need 175 they are the only team where 11 members contribute for their nation rather pointing some heroes.Aussies are not heroes like Asian Units but they are professionals.

    Only Australia and WI of 80s can defend a score of 175 odd. You see the cricket commentry in Cricinfo, Here comes master tendulkar, Blaster Dhoni Here comes blaster Jayasuriya, spin wizard Murali. Here comes Wall Dravid or Wall Inzi. Here the superfast bowler Shoaib.

    so they have heroes to win their game.

    But Aussies have professionals. I've never heard, here comes blaster gilly, or mastre ponting, great Mcgra by any commentators.

  • Seyad Farook on April 15, 2007, 13:50 GMT

    My best wishes to the Sri Lankan team. They have come a long way and so far so good. They deffinitely play the type of cricket which they are used to playing back in Sri Lanka. The basics had been taught originally by Arjuna Ranatunga way back in 1996 how to improvise, how to be cunning as a fox, how to apply pressure on the opponent, how to add on the singles and the double runs,and how to be a team together. Seniors like Vass, Jayasuriya and Murali constantly coach the juniors and never allow them to be disappointed or fade away even at times of defeat. It is a real team spirit which will make any match with s.l. so interesting to watch. They challenge upto the last ball and never give up. They believe in a saying: it is not important whether you won or lost but it is more important how you performed in a game. They continue to be a threat to other teams and looks good at this moment to easily walk away with the cup this time after 11 years. They will give a interesting match in the semis and possibly in the finals. Good Luck to the Sri Lankan team lead by Mahela.

  • S Rajapakse on April 15, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    From Cricinfo

    "Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lanka offspinner, has been named as the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2006 by this year's Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, which hits the bookshops tomorrow.

    "Muralitharan is a truly great cricketer," said Simon Barnes. "Those that cannot go along with such a sentiment have something lacking in their souls. The spirit of cricket, perhaps."

    I am sure people who voted for Murali are not idiots. It looks like the last two sentences are specially written for people like Terry Gonsalves and Jason.

  • s.u on April 15, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    I'm a Sri Lankan, after reading most of the comments I think both Indian & SL fans should calm down & enjoy the game of cricket by appreciating it not by bashing it. Also these sledging stuff c'mon guys if none of the cricketers on the field give a damn about it then there is no need that u guys should carry the pain, I mean on the field it happens bt I dont think any of the cricketers carry those things 2 another game so I dont think u guys even have the right 2 talk about those things so chill out guys & mind u're own business. & by the way those fools who call Murali & Malinga chuckers, dont bother about it ICC will take care of that Oh & those fools who say India are a bad team just give it a rest they are a good team they were just bit unfortunate 2 lose 2 game so watch out for them on the next world cup finaly as an Asian go SL & Bangladesh & that Sammer guy seriously need 2 cool down & stop digging this is 4 sum of the SL fans toooooooo!

  • gp on April 15, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    Even as an australian, i do like the sri lankan cricket team. some wonderful players, Jayasuriya is my absolute favourite with Attapatu not far behind. Malinga is a wonderful bowler. Arjuna in 1996 WC probably the best captain and ODI finisher in the tournament (outside bevan).

    However Murali will rightly always be tainted as a chucker, and Daryl Hair was absolutely correct to call him at the MCG in the boxing day test. Absolutely correct.

    The Sri Lankans are extremely good at portraying a "we're the good guys" cleanskin image. Nothing could be further from the truth. They play the sledging game as hard as Australia, don't worry about that. And in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with that.

  • mahesh on April 15, 2007, 13:20 GMT

    awsom!!its all tru wht u said mr .mukal

  • AK47 on April 15, 2007, 13:06 GMT

    To me watching Jayasuriya is like watching Superman at work. Absolutely brilliant batsman. After him the orthodox excellence of Sangakkara and Jayawardhane seems to play secong fiddle but that only highlights the overwhelming influence of Sanath's game. Murali is a certified genius but equally Vaas is no less. Never giving anything away he is the ultimate pro. And that killer stare - Uthappa must be having nightmares about it. I am rooting for the Lankans. Way to go Sanath & Co.

  • PJ on April 15, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    Interesting comments all round. Hope Sri Lanka prevails (as in 1996) not having the financial clout of Australia, New Zealand or South Africa - just for the sake of the game.

    I tend to agree with chamath Kodikara's comments on Ranjith's commentories - HE NEVER TELLS ANYTHING THAT YOU ALREADY DONT KNOW ABOUT.

  • Trap on April 15, 2007, 12:51 GMT

    >>>Three of these guys are so old they should be playing veterans' charity matches. Vaas, Murali Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya helped Sri Lanka win the Big One in the last millennium for god's sake!

    Mukul, i hate to be rude, but could you just shut up! For one I don't understand what a guy with excellent ability to write prose but little else is doing on a cricket site.

    last Millenium is 7 years away, so cut the dramatizing crap and try not to over emphasize your point. look around teams and you will find major teams with the same age group as Vaas and Murali.

    Veteran's charity matches?!!huh! : We face a serious problem of seeking opinions out of folks who don't really qualify to have an opinion in the public domain on a vertical. You are the perfect example for that!

    honestly nothing personal : but you're a blemish on this otherwise excellent site.

  • Jayakumar on April 15, 2007, 12:43 GMT

    Jeff (I presume is an Aussie) thinks the support Indians give for SL is due to color of skin and hence concludes it has to be Racism.

    He is dead wrong. The next choice to SL for most Indians would be NZ, exactly for the same reasons why we love SL : joyous, bubbly, talented and fun to watch. Go figure.

  • Jayakumar on April 15, 2007, 12:29 GMT

    Great piece of writing, Kesavan, as usual.

    I wish human beings win the automatons and get the cup this time around. I am sure it will bring cheer to a billion Indians, not to mention the Lankans too.

  • gaminid on April 15, 2007, 12:29 GMT

    Someone still beleive only Murali has a doosra! Is he living in this world or in jupiter? India's own Bajji and Kumble both have doosras. Saqlain and shoaib have doosras. But, he wants Murali's doosra to be banned!! Why? That's the ball that got Dhoni in front. Some other indian supporter has a very interesting theory. SL purpously lost to India, purpously bowled bad during the recent tour and lost the series just to put India on the "Murunga tree". What rubbish. Go and meet Kara Johaar with your 'script' for a bollywood movie. Utter nonsense!!

  • Fat Monkey on April 15, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    Peoples, stop with the damage control. Australia is racist, Australia is ungracious blah blah blah. Maybe its because they win too often that you feel the need to bash them. Anywho I hope Australia and Sri Lanka play in the final. I'm Australian but part of me wants Sri Lanka to win.

  • PJ on April 15, 2007, 11:21 GMT

    Interesting comments all round. Hope Sri Lanka prevails (as in 1996) not having the financial clout of Australia, New Zealand or South Africa - just for the sake of the game.

    I tend to agree with chamath Kodikara's comments on Ranjith's commentories - HE NEVER TELLS ANYTHING THAT YOU ALREADY DONT KNOW ABOUT.

  • Suresh Murugaser on April 15, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    Dear Mukul Thank you very much for the lovely comments on this magnificent Sri Lankan side. I've been predicting them winning the World Cup for the last 6 months - just like I did in 1996!!

    There's just too much fire power in the bowling like you have so keenly pointed out. It's without doubt the most varied attack including three absolutely world-class performers in Murali, Vaas and Malinga. This is something NONE of the countries can boast of - and it will be the key to winning the Cup on the 28th.

    Then you've got three world-class batsmen in Jayawardena, Jayasuriya and Sangakkara, and this incredible melting pot of youth and experience. GO SRI LANKA!! Asia is with you!! Cheers Suresh

  • Ranil on April 15, 2007, 8:51 GMT

    Hey guys, I went through most of your comments... Its hard to believe that the situation now is that everyone expects Sri Lanka to end the Aussie winning stream... Why SL? everytime... But think carefully deap in to your hearts... The Aussies are the ones who gave thier worst sportsmenship ever to SL when they were down under in 1995.. And ultimately woke up the Sleeping Giant in tio a Roaring Lion... we thank you Aussies for making our teams mentality to take anything that comes against your way and also to Arjuna for standing up tall by your mother nation at that critical moment. That was the time Sri Lanka changed! and since then they were fighters than never before. and Against Aussies they have a speciall feeling since then and beating them at any tournament/match would give them the sweet revange of their kangaroo meat for the Lions!

    No worries of beating Aussies twice this time... May it be semis or in the grand finale.. all the Asians along with the Windies will be there with the Lankans dancing away cheering them every ball of the Game!

    Sri lankans are down to earth and they are playing their best eleven as their former Captain and one of the most technically correct batsman in the world marvan still carrying drinks and sharing his experince in the middle (SL has the luxury of sending one of the most experienced captains to the middle with drinks where no other captain/coach this time around does not have! ever thought of that?)

    Great article and hope & wish it will be Sri Lanka and 4 more games to go their way...!!!

  • Charmin on April 15, 2007, 8:39 GMT

    Sam,I think you should come down to earth, There’s nothing wrong praising a particular team or players so as Mukul and most of other critics have done. It’s goes without saying that some of well known players raised to unthinkable brilliance thanks to mass media and well known commentators. It’s a fact that players’ records do nothing but writing the history of the game when it comes to the real battle and the test in the middle. Anyone can come to the middle with 12000 runs and 300 wickets but if your bat can’t speak up at the right time, those heroes become zeroes in a flash considering the behavior of some fans.

    SL will face crowned Aus on Monday with lot of guts and self belief just as David faced Goliath. SL is one of the powerhouse in the world Cricket without a doubt.

    I love Australia as one of the best place to live and their Cricket. However, if someone says they unreachable, that’s a pure ignorance. Aussies known as prime sledges but that’s a part of the game which apply to any players profile. That tests the temperament of the individual. No one like to see dump robotic nature invade this mind game of Cricket play with lot of passion. If you can’t see the beauty in that Sam, you are a coward. You wouldn’t be a Cricketer by any means. SLs wouldn’t have such a record of WI Lyod’s team but they have produced number of world class players during the past 10 -15 years. People used to rank players based on their test career statistics which is utter nonsense. In my view, real masters emerged from one day Cricket. The intense pressure and pushing players beyond their limits make them innovators of the game. That’s the beauty of it. This wouldn’t occur in the boring monotonous Test cricket. Even modern day test cricket become attractive after the application of some rules in one day cricket in to it. It doesn’t matter if you are any type as long as people love to see you are playing.

  • Bota on April 15, 2007, 8:17 GMT

    Well this chucking issue bores me now,

    This was cleared by a scientific test; the committee had members from all the countries except from Bangladesh.

    So whats the fuss? I think this is more about Jealousy than anything else.

    What happens if there was no Akatar, did you guys remember the Pakistan India world cup match where Sachin hit a six over third man of Akthar, what a moment that was, fantastic, brilliant, a great moment of cricket. Now tell me if it was gentle medium pacer like say with all due respect Chris Haris, well that would have not been that good would it? Great batsman would want to face a great bowler, he wouldn’t care whether he chucks or not, that’s how greats of both forms are made. Lara will like to hit Murali out of the park not Dilshan. I don’t want five sharvans bowling in every cricket match and batsman hitting them all around the park. We will have plenty of Sachins, Laras, and even few Bradmens if we are going to band all the bowlers.

    Let them play, I want more Chuckers, doesn’t matter what the country is, I want Lees, Muralies, Harbajans Aktars, Malingas, not to forget Daren Gouffs, , and even Afridies faster bowl. This just adds to color of cricket and keeps the balance. Doing these within the limits is the ICC duty.

    If there were only proper bowlers and batsman in this game, we will have sharwans bowling to Atapattus, how boring…

    What about proper wicket keeping, proper fielding too. We can do with proper Umpiring though. (I mean the decision, don’t band Billy Bowden)

  • D on April 15, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    Don't you idiots realize that in 100 years, infact 10 minutes from now, no-one in the world will give a damn about your 1 dollar opinions. Go back to your pathetic lives if you have any. The aritcle was good for what it was - a good article! If you non srilankans and srlankan cricket haters needed a reason to vent out your frustrations, you did!, so you can quit your therapy sessions now, coz frankly you are giving us more reason to laugh at you!

  • Sajith on April 15, 2007, 7:51 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan I am very proud of the team for what they are performing as a team.. Forget about various comments.. World Cup is everyone's dream and the best team that can adopt to the situation.

  • Ravi Hevapanne on April 15, 2007, 7:48 GMT

    Mukul, Your great capture has produced more than 300 comments from cricket lovers from all over the world....Well done.

    Summarising the facts & figures of all comments, I gather IND is not appreciating SL success. This is ridiculous ? Being a top finance professional, worked in four continents, lived in 8 contries, I exactly know the indian mentality towards their neighbours, particularly to SL. I wonder, what makes them continue this....

    My dear indians, ...Please stop doing this and be illustrative to your son & daughter to treat neighbours with equal respect to gain yours.

    Hope, this drop will add to the ocean of other comments and INDIANS will improve !!!

  • Chanaka @ on April 15, 2007, 7:06 GMT

    I have been reading others comment about this world cup, sri lankan cricket team and the way their playing at the moment for a long time. I am thankful to everybody who are so enthusiatic of expressing their opinions whether their are complementory or not. I know most of indians and asutralians are so scared that sri lankan would win this world cup. But thrust me whatever you say or think those things are regardless at this point because they have proved comprehensively that they can beat anybody without any problem at this moment.

    I would like to say few things to indians who have forgotten that we are asians. I think that inians who are living in india will support sri lanka. I think that parkistan and bangaladesgh also would say sri lanka SINDABAD!. Because we would like to see atleast asians would win whatever they can if we can't win it individually.

    I have nothing to say espeacially about Aussies, Poemes and Proteas. Because they think that they are the best in the world. But unforunately they are not. They scared to play with sri lanka because they know that sri lanka can beat them very easiely at any time.In one hand they are jealous and the other hand they are scared.

    Winding up my comments on those who have expressed their opinions about sri lanka thank you for every thing you have said but remember comment that praise sri lankan cricket would encourage them to performe better and the comments that citizises them would not only encourage them but also sharpen their intention to teach a lesson to their enemies of the game

  • Atul on April 15, 2007, 6:50 GMT

    Stop comments & throwing mud sludging.Every team having up & downs.World cup is very important.But it's game that who wll win that perticular day.Top rankers South Africa loses 3 games up to now.Just accept ICC RANKINGS (Real World Champions).

  • Jason on April 15, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    I for one do not like sri lanka, you have 2 bowlers murli and malinga that in my own opinion do not bowl properly cite anything you like but malinga does not bowl armed, yet it's deemed legal, murli doosra should not be allowed, but yet they keep making exceptions for him why, so they don't upset the asian bloc of the icc. Granted they do have great players in jayasuria, vass, but the day murli retires along with jaya, and vass. Lets see how much sri lanka can hang in with the big boys.

  • ashvin on April 15, 2007, 6:32 GMT

    currently western autralian university seeking for mr."pacus" doctorate knowledge to analyse murali's bowling action.. lol .. murali is the best spinner in the world.. .

  • The Chuckmaster on April 15, 2007, 6:29 GMT

    Terry Gonsalves writes:

    "I am for a ban on chuckers,Murali, Harbajan,Shoaib Akhtar,Brett Lee, Marlon Samuels,Afridi when he throws his faster one,Razzaq from Bangladesh and many others."

    Well, Terry... ... but what’s wrong with McGrath, Powell, Flintoff, Pathan, Ntini, Vaas, Bradshaw, Pollock, Watson, Kallis, Harmison (and so many others), and maybe... just maybe... Terry Gonsalves himself?

    According to the ICC experts' biomechanical findings, 99% of bowlers chuck the ball (i.e. "all" except Sarwan, apparently).

    So, please tell us... when are you going to get rid of that tiresome chip on your shoulder?

    The only folk who probably enjoy reading your diatribes are the Americans, who got it right, right from the start i.e. they gave up ever trying to "bowl" a ball, which, as we all know now, is a piece of (very English) romantic comedy.

  • BAARI on April 15, 2007, 6:20 GMT

    Ok.SL fans,,, lets calm down.

    i would like if Mukul dont write about SL team any more ,cause it ll create much more hatred between the 2 countries... The thread started nicely and with the flaw now all are spilling hatred personally here.

    Come on SL guys,, i have to say that u are becomming quite irritation by over-hyping the team.And I AM A TRUE SL FAN ALSO.

    PS 1=And Mr.sam; i know u man , and we know u have a personal issue with SL, but lets stop this hatred now,,

    PS 2:enjoy SINHALA,TAMIL NEW YEAR,, and stop wasting the time in this blog.

  • Selvaganesh on April 15, 2007, 6:18 GMT

    TO ALL OUR MY INDIAN BROTHERS:

    LET US LEARN TO BE MORE MATURE AND GENEROUS IN OUR COMMENTS WHEN WE DO POST-MORTEMS ON THE VERBAL SNIPERS OF THE LANKANS ON THE FIELD. TRUE, IT PAINS TO DIGEST THAT THEY HAVE PLOTTED TO KICK US OUT OF THE APEX TOURNAMENT. THEY HAVE ALSO EXPOSED OUR LOFTIER CLAIMS AND HAVE BLOWN THEM INTO SMITHREENS. I STRONGLY BELIEVE THE LANKANS LULLED US INTO COMPLACENCY AND FALSE SENSE OF SUPERIORITY BY SACRIFICING THE TWO SERIES IN INDIA. THEY KNEW THAT WE HAD AN ACE FOOL AS A COACH, WHO TOO WAS THEIR FIELDING COACH FOR A WHILE. AFTER PLACING US ON A 'MURUNGAI TREE,' THE LANKANS WERE WAITING FOR THE LAST LAUGH. IF YOU HAVE THE VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE RECENT LANKA SERIES IN INDIA, TAKE A NOTE OF THE DELIBERATE ERRATIC LINE OF BOWLING BY THEIR SPEEDSTERS, AND COMPARE THEIR PERFORMANCE DURING OUR WORLD CUP ENCOUNTER WITH THEM. THERE IS A SEA OF DIFFERENCE! THAT APART, THEY ALSO EXPOSED THE CHINKS IN OUR ARMOURY TO THEIR FORMER GURU, DAVE WHATMORE, WHO EXPLOITED IT TO BRING US TO THE LOWEST NADIR OF THE COMPETITION.

    NOW, AS MATURE FANS, INSTEAD OF CASTING ASPERSIONS ON THE LANKAN HEROES, WHAT WE COULD DO IS TO ROOT FOR SRI LANKA, AS THEY ARE OUR IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURS. ONE THING IS SURE, WHETHER WE ROOT FOR THEM OR NOT, THEY HAVE A WORLD OF LOYAL ADMIRERS TO PRAISE THEM LAVISHLY BECAUSE THEY DESERVE IT BEST. ANYBODY WHO SAYS THAT THE LANKANS WILL NOT WIN THE WORLD CUP 2007 NEEDS TO GET HIS HEAD EXAMINED BY A PSYCHIATRIST. WELL, ALL ONE NEEDS IS COMMON SENSE AND NOT A GREAT CRICKETING BRAIN!

    I APPRECIATE THE PROFESSIONALISM, INSIGHTFUL AND IMPARTIAL ASSESSMENT OF MUKUL ON THE LANKANS AND THEIR DERRING-DOS ON THE FIELD!

  • chayra on April 15, 2007, 5:30 GMT

    aussie, i have no idea what you re talking about.first of all, mukul's not saying srilanka already won the world cup. hes just saying SL is a good team...and so what if mukul is openly showing his support for SL? they need it, seeing you australians and the other people have a bad impression on them...we saw that very clearly when stephen fleming talked about them once: he had alot to say on that subject. and anyways, what have you got to worry about? your team's australia, isnt it? and, whats this nonsense about india? how can you even compare them to srilanka? at least srilanka didnt lose to bangladesh.....

  • Pacus on April 15, 2007, 5:29 GMT

    SL are a good team. I really enjoy watching Malinga bowl. He is a rare talent. However any victory of Sri Lanka's is always tainted by Muralitharan's chucking.

  • MS on April 15, 2007, 5:07 GMT

    Relax folks !!! My bet is on England winning this cup...how many are with me ? I dont think Srilanka has got a chance. Mukul, which Srilankan city are you from ???

  • Santhosh Kumar on April 15, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    Mcgrath admits he fears a defeat in the hands of SriLanka!! WOWWWW how often do we hear that!!???!! SriLankans have really proved hardwork pays off..Hats off to their effort so far.. all set for Monday's match..could be a dress rehersal of 2007 WC final

  • Tasha on April 15, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    Sameer seems to be a very bitter person....dude calm down i think u need 2 start over here. Just love the game and appreaciate cricket for what it is...don't go bashing teams and what not. Nothing wrong with being a proud Indian supporter as i am a SL supporter but u'r going a bit ballistic with the attacks dont u think??? lol sames goes to all other extremists(Lankans included).....Cricket doesn't need this...It's a game of skill and passion...haters (by haters i dont mean constructive critisism- there's a difference) stop being bitter. Im so excited about Aus v SL....Yes im hoping SL win but nonetheless i'm predicting it's gonna be a great game of cricket...I live in Australia and its indeed a wonderful place...racism does exist but there's 2 sides to that story...Most Australians are lovely people and their cricket- it's just their style...I dont like it but hey they'r on top and deserve credit for ebing the best.(Just felt the need to defend australia coz some of the comments about Aus i feel are unfair) Let's enjoy this beautiful game shall v... :)

  • Hasan Rushdy on April 15, 2007, 4:49 GMT

    The beauty of this game applying and handling pressure in tight situations. I think the present Lankan set has the right combination, variety & the experience to do the job on any given day. I think the Lankans are well on track for their second word cup glory. Full credit to the coach, captain & the full team of course. We enjoy the blend of cricket & the never say die attitude the Lankans show in their game.

  • Sam on April 15, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    The author is going overboard in not just praising SL, but also in comments. He has allowed lot of fiery and objectionable comments from fans of lanka, when they have been unable to digest the venom and some hard facts about their team. Thats totally unfair . The Lanka fans along with some help from the author have hijacked this blog space for some overkill of Lanka praise and on the same hand overdose of India bashing. The looser gets the punk and the winner takes it all. Its true for India being knocked out of the world cup, but the true test for Lanka is yet to come when they take on Aussies in next game on Monday. And for those who say SL plays fair and free cricket how about these :

    1) Charlie Austin -- cricinfo SL writer, has himself acknowledged that Sangakara is a top class sledger with an Aussie attitude. Check out the player profile page on this site.

    2) How about Vaas frequently pointing fingers to the batsmen when dismissed and gazing them hard. Uthappa is just an example f this world cup, there are so many others.

    3) What about Malinga s jibes to the batsemn in India tour when they won a narrow game in Rajkot?

    4) In Last world cup grouo game vs SL, Sangakara sledged Pollock "he s gonna let his country down". Wots this ?

    Every world cup has 2 or 3 teams playing great cricket. 2003 it was Australia and India. 1999 it was Pakistan and Australia. And 2007 it is Australia, NZ and SL. That doesnt make SL an overnite world champs. They have just secured a semi final spot. Let them win and then pass on the comment. Looking in the current form its going to be 300% of any team to stop Aussies from winning 3rd title in row.

    Would urge Mukul to stop making provocative comparisos with West Indies of 1980s with this SL team. SL havent even done 1% of what Lyod s men did. And WI had their success in both forms of the game. whereas Lanka struggle in Tests and just this world cup they have been in winning groove else last year they were in total disarray (home series loss to Pak, 0-4 drubbing to nZ, 1-6 loss to India, VB series loss, loss to Bangladesh) this time. Reading this space gives a feeling that there is just Lanka all the way around which is not true.

    Last point, some comparisons of SL crowd to WI crowd. I beg to differ totally here. SL crowd is monotnous and they continously play same band of music despite SL winning or loosing. And carribean crowd -- we all know how good they are. There are Aussie crowds who d get behind their team by constant singing and mexican waves, though banned. Indians would get behind their team with ferocious vocal support and music play. English crowd -- Barmy Army, did we forget that ? Guys there is more to cricket than just Lanka praise and Australia, India baash!!!

  • thinesh on April 15, 2007, 3:41 GMT

    ok.its getting kind of painful reading all the comments now...

    THE thread is going way out of hand.. And our SL mates should understand they are over- hyping the team'. Am a SL fan but its kind of getting irritating to read all this praise about SL...

    we have to be little realistic folks... Come down to earth from the hangover and smell the roses....

    And my plea to all fellow blogers. CALM DOWN..

  • Charmin on April 15, 2007, 3:32 GMT

    Very good article, I entirely agree with Mukul, Aussie, Just becoming the world beaters won’t make any team the best. When it comes to the modern day cricket, it has gone far more beyond the 80’s Cricket in terms of standard, quality, technology and the competitiveness. If anyone can’t compare SL Cricket and the passion of the spectators and the musical noise in the ground, they don’t know about subcontinent Cricket. In one era, WI Cricketers were of our role models, that shows on our approach to the game and that has become an instinct to our modern day cricketers. We have well demonstrate that in the 96 world cup and that’s been a mantra of our success until rest of the world come up with probable answer like Gilchrist, Hayden,Afridi,Shewag…etc. So, why on earth, anyone cannot compare SL Cricket with WI cricket. Open your eyes, modern day Cricket has gone far beyond than where you are aussie. Modern heroes like Ponting, Warne, McGrath, Jayasuriya, Murali, Vass, Kallis, Pollock, Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid,Akthar, Yusuf…etc. are the role models and the trend setters of the game. They are far more composed and well oriented cricketers who are much more capable of delivering something new to the game all the time which was lack in the good old day cricketers or conventional crickerters. When it comes to one day cricket, Ponting is run machine and delightful to watch and how he ruthlessly attacks any team and so as McGrath Murali with his bowling. There’s no wander why they are the top contenders to the world cup. However, when it comes to One Day Cricket in this short history, one name always comes to anyone’s mind that follows the game closely. That is Jayasuriya who played 387 matches, who innovates the art of hitting with incomparable fluency, who innovate the art of spin bowling in the one day format.

    Go Sri Lanka & Go Australia!!!!!!!!! Who will win it? Whoever does execute the game plan perfectly will be the Champion.

  • SANJANA on April 15, 2007, 3:30 GMT

    I tink its time to say this;

    To those Ind fans who are upset here (because of stupid few fanatic sl fans comments) Take it easy chums…

    It’s the festive season here IN SL and hangovers from the late parties are very common.. Catch my drift..

    Happy AVRUDHU SIYALLANTA.. SL fan

  • Bota on April 15, 2007, 3:27 GMT

    Hay Mr. Gonsalves,

    I agree with you that if it's gonna be a band for arm benders, it should be to everyone as you have listed, but my point is the committee also reports that this has been going for decades and may be even more. Earlier there was no technology, of course but we cant erase the past, so best thing should be to continue the practice, it would be a shame if we had to call the retired cricketers like Thompsom and Hadlee and Lilie and the rest chuckers, a great shame indeed.

    Forget Murali and Harbajan, think about the old greats.

    And the other thing is the game of cricket is a paradise for batsman they can play any way they like, bend every inch of their body, pretend they play with the bat and put the pad infront, reverse sweep, fielding restrictions, one bouncer per over, no beamers, good pitchs, so isn’t it about time these bowlers have a breather?

    Game surely is bigger than the star but we don’t want games with only batsman are stars. Indeed there will always be leg spinners, they can’t chuck.

    Think the excitement that goes out when there is no Aktar or Bret Lee and for that matter the faster bowl of Afridi, think about the upsets that faster bowl has caused for batsman.

    I’m not saying we should allow chuckers in the field but allowing within limits is the best we can do for the best of the game, anyway it would be very unfair to modern cricketers if this angle was banned, the bowling arm has been bended by many past bowlers.

  • italianstallion-vienna on April 15, 2007, 3:08 GMT

    Why are you guys forgetting bangladesh? I think Bangladesh bring more joy than pakistan+india+srilanka+australia combined. And I think bangladesh can beat india when india comes here. Afterall indians are under pressure. HAHAHAHAHA... go bengal tigers!!!

  • Omer Admani on April 15, 2007, 2:15 GMT

    The difference between Australia, India and Pakistan, and Sri Lanka: Australia: 11 scientists applying every pschological, sociological, and cricketing gimmick to win a cricket match, going for the kill like blood-suckers at each and every instant. The epitomy of "Australian cricket" is the great Glenn mcgrath himself, who, even if he tries to become less of a scientist, will still find the the good-length spot on and around off-stump.

    India and Pakistan: 11 cricketers who would otherwise, most likely, have taken a broom. Very passionate indeed, fervent religious pursuit of cricket, but lack the strongest argument because they compete, nowadays, in matters of "reason" with the "other".

    Sri Lankans: the perfect balance between science and the broom. The sight of Wasim Akram running in, or the applause that Tendulkar recieves when entering to bat, is still unparalled though. Sri Lankans are my favorites, as the Aussies are bound to get lost in the shortcomings and frailties of "reason".

  • Karl on April 15, 2007, 2:08 GMT

    I got a good feeling the World Cup is heading back to the Subcontinent.As Sri Lanka would beat Australia in the finals. like 11 years ago australia will have excuses to why they lost and never accept the other team played better than them. Like in 96 they blamed the dew and when they lost the Ashes they said the english bowler used sweets to get the ball to reverse swing.

    what is this guy talking of Indians being racist because australia is white skined. what about australians being racist to 'The Lord of Spin' Murali. Have you noticed that australia is only one that has propblem with him.As he has been called twice in australia. You no why, they do not want a darked skined man to be the highest wicket taker in the world. Murali has the backing of the icc and during the icc champions trophy in England they found out that all bowler went over limit that is recomended by the icc accept sarwan from the west indies. So get of his back! Give him respect he deserves as he did not have facilites australia had but is best bowler the world has ever seen.

  • Kevin Perez on April 15, 2007, 1:56 GMT

    Some of the writes here ask the question why India cannot produce a fighting unit like the Lankans having a 1 billion population. Well I think it's not the population, it's the ego problem almost all of the players in the Indian cricket team have. Just look at the metality and friendly ways of Vetaran Jayasuriya and many others such as Jayawardana, Murali, Vass, Kumar (Sanga) and even the new comers such as Malinga, Tharanga, they have the simplicity and most importantly "Eagerness to learn" no matter how well they know the game. Compare these players to Indians such as Ganguly (Hot Headed, pinnacle of ego problem), Tendulkar (Taking "I am the master attitude" too much to the head) Dhoni (thiks he is teh Hollywood/Bollywood Sexyest .....

  • Terry Gonsalves on April 15, 2007, 1:39 GMT

    The rules have been bent to suit the bend in chuckmaster's arm. As far as the scientists who have examined Murali, it would be appropriate for them to stick to science and examine the heads of those who are in self denial that Murali is King Chuck. SL have an unfair advantage with this chucker. Nothing wrong with the hurler Malinga. No sir, I am not Australian. I have not committed any crime to deserve such notoriety! I am for a ban on chuckers,Murali, Harbajan,Shoaib Akhtar,Brett Lee, Marlon Samuels,Afridi when he throws his faster one,Razzaq from Bangladesh and many others. What I am promoting is going back to the basics, bowling not chucking. The comments received in support that Murali is a chucker is indeed very encouraging for those many fans demanding fair play, regardless of race, colour or creed. The game is bigger than the "star".

  • Siddharth Desai on April 15, 2007, 1:02 GMT

    I dont understand who enjoys watching Sri Lanka win ....I dont. There is no doubting the fact that the Sri Lankan cricket fans play some very good music but their music is reserved for Sri Lankan wins only. Anybody who has travelled to Sri Lanka for a cricket match will agree that the Sri Lankan crowd is one of the most parsimonious crowds. Hence it is very unlike the West Indian crowd taht celebrates good cricket. As far as the players go, I think every player goes through a high and a low. The author is talking about the burden on the Indian players but is forgetting that it was this very burden that had forced Jayasuriya to contemplate retirement. Now he is back and playing burden free cricket because he knows that he has nothing to lose. It is not always that Sri Lanka plays the highest brand of cricket like Australia. They are in very good form in this world cup also the conditions in the West Indies is suiting their style of play and hence the difference. Finally coming to the variety in the bowling , most of the variety is due to the awkward bowling actins of the possessed by the bowlers. Anyone will agree that with his slinging action Malinga throws the ball more often than not and Muralitharan has had his own problems with his action.

  • Anonymous 3 on April 15, 2007, 0:58 GMT

    Dear Aussie and Mohan Are you insane? Saying it was unfair india and other countries were knocked out by SL, It is a game thats the way it happens CHILL OUT May the best team win the World CUP IN 2007. Proud Supporter of SRI LANKA..................

  • Sean on April 15, 2007, 0:46 GMT

    The Jury is out on the debate Murali versus Warne; Mark Waugh wrote in Sun-Herald during the last hour that Murali is a better bowler than Warne. He aLso stated that his brother Steve concurs with him.

    END OF STORY YOU MURALI BASHERS!! GOOD NIGHT! GO TO BED! SLEEP TIGHT!!

  • drneilmukherjee on April 14, 2007, 23:35 GMT

    As much as the SL Lions are a fighting team with a fighting chance, they will not win the World Cup in their current composition and form. Heres why: - They only cross 250 when Jayasurya scores atleast a quick 40. The bowling department has to perform every game in such a situation. While that'll do with most oppositions, will it be enough for the Aussies - Mahela Jayawardene is a guy no fielding side would want to get out. He can even slow down a quickfire Jayasurya innings with his archaic style. Although I love watching him in tests, some players are not made for ODIs and hes one of them. He should come in at no 4 or 5 to steady the innings if wickets fall real early. Otherwise, he always reduces their final score by 30-40 runs if he bats long enough. - Malinga. OK, his bowling is amazing, but isnt this 'round arm'? This form of bowling was banned since the early 1900s and its good to see it resurface, but can someone tell him it's as un-cricketing a style, just as T.Chappel's famous under-arm ball? It's another matter that he has been a delight to watch....

  • Adi on April 14, 2007, 23:14 GMT

    What happened to the great SL team when India thrashed them for 376 runs in Taunton in WC 99, or bundled them out for under 200 in SA in WC 03? Its a game - sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. All three subcontinent teams have a long run average success rate of around 50%. Bangladesh is probably at 5% I suppose? Only Australia and SA manages success rates of over 75% over sustained periods. How many test series has SL managed to win outside their country? What about Pakistan?

  • Aditya on April 14, 2007, 23:03 GMT

    I like watching the Sri Lankan team too, especially Sanath and Murali, but this article seems a bit exaggerated! I mean, SL is good, but nowhere close to the mighty West Indies of the 80s or the Aussies of this decade. And whats with all the India bashing dude? We beat SL 3-1 a few months ago and also beat them 6-1 a couple years ago. Everyone like to kick those are down (currently it is India), and you are no different. We have all seen Indian cricketers relaxed on the field when things have been going well - they are just going through a lean patch now. The Sri Lankan middle order still leaves much to be desired. Players like Arnold and Silva are average bits and pieces cricketers at best. Jayawardane and Atapattu on the other hand are true class. So was Aravinda de Silva. And no one seems to mind the astronomical economy rate of Mailnga just because he has blonde streaks. Will you be as forgiving of Zaheer Khan if he got a tattoo? Its very convenient to jump on the bandwagon and cheer for the winning team huh? Having said all that, GO LANKA :) Or for that matter, go anyone but Australia!!

  • Jwalant on April 14, 2007, 22:10 GMT

    The difference between 2 nations, 2 teams and 2 players can be summed up in the players response when challenged. Murali took a flying full stretched catch on his wrong side when told by Moody that he is not good enough to field inside the ring; The morone Tendulkar sulked and talked in press regarding "my attitude is questioned". If people like Sachin cant even understand basic management principles, it's a shame. I am pretty sure Sachin is aware of his total inability to perform when contry requires ( a decade old problem)and did what he did in utter frustraton

  • sunil on April 14, 2007, 21:44 GMT

    mukul, great piece of writing. I note tht you write fiction, but this never before has so much truth been crystalissed in so few words. Now what we indian is someone that plays cricket as clearly as this article is written

  • James on April 14, 2007, 20:40 GMT

    Totally agree - I'd far rather see this vibrant, exciting, enthusiastic and (above all) happy Sri Lankan side lift the cup than any of the contenders - especially Australia, whose dominance is clinical and dry, and goes hand in hand with a bubble of arrogance that you can't help but want to see pierced!

    The Sri Lankans actually come across as enjoying their cricket - I think the comparison with the clear weight of expectation on the shoulders of the Indian players is extremely apposite.

  • Ameet on April 14, 2007, 20:19 GMT

    Strange, but Vaas and his outburst against Uthappa is the very reason that I so want Lanka to not emerge victorious. Vaas' tirade against Uthappa was unprovoked and the fact that he wasn't even censured is amazing. Quite a bit of noise was made when Sreesanth gave the same farewell to Hashim Amla in the recent South Africa/India series. Vaas is boorish. Reminds me of Nel in Sri Lankan colours.

  • bemused on April 14, 2007, 20:15 GMT

    It's funny how it's become fashionable for Indian cricket writers to join the Sri Lankan bandwagon and heap encomiums on them now that India has been eliminated.It's true that Sri Lanka is a good team but to call them the "new West Indians" is not only outrageous but also an affront to the once great West Indians. The Lankans may be smiling outwardly but their game hardly brings a smile to my face unlike the great West Indians of yore with the likes of Richards, Lloyd, Greenidge, Marshall, Holding et al. I find the Lankan game pretty dreary to watch, solid but unspectacular, yet mighty effective! (recent examples being the games against Eng,NZ)

    I certainly got a kick out of some of Mukul's comments. It seems he has been carried away by Sangakkara's "good talk", so much so that he seems to have left his good sense behind.

    According to Mukul,"Chamara Silva is the kind of young batsman Team India would die for". I wonder if he knows that Chamara is 28 and not exactly a spring chicken! I think India will be better served if they manage to unearth some "Tigers" like Tamim, Saqibul et al instead of Chamara Silvas! One innings against NZ doesn't maketh a great batsman! I can recall another Indian writer saying that Dilshan is the most destructive number 6 in the world!!!...what a joke!

    The mother of all jokes is this comment: "If Vaas favours the cold steely look, Muralitharan is the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of modern cricket: like the giggling guru, he just never stops grinning." Comparing Murali to Mahesh Yogi is sacrilege, even if it's just the giggles! Mahesh Yogi is an enlightened individual, an embodiment of peace and happiness contrary to Murali who always looks very intense and stressed out! In fact, Murali would do well to take some meditation lessons from the great man!

    Finally, contrary to what Mukul said, it's not Malinga who needs to be preserved in formaldehyde but the three pillars of Lankan cricket - Murali, Jayasuriya and Vass, for once they retire, the "new West Indians" will more than likely descend to the same ol' Lankans (circa 80s)!!!

    P.S. After reading this post, I wonder if Mukul is the new Kamran Abbasi and that's not a compliment!

  • irshad on April 14, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    I think some SL fans here have clearly gone overboard with their views.. Am sure indian fans and whole of India doesn’t need any other meddling with their issues. And surely SL wont like every TOM, DICK AND HARRY commenting on their team , even if they are doing great.(over praising is also a kind of a over-kill ).

    So it would b really nice that these few delusional SL fans mind their own business. And with the severity of the comments they ve made about ind team , those fans wont have a place to hide in this blogs if SL looses. And just imagine what hiding these SL BAD FANS would have had if SL had lost that match to India in qualifiers. WHY AM I SAYING ALL THIS……?? CAUSE I AM A SL FAN......

  • True SL fan on April 14, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    Did read all the comments painstakingly for 2 hours.. Have to say there are some fanatic SL fans here who might be having too much fun here cause of the festive seasons there….

    Come on guys .. we all know that India has helped SL out when ever they were in deep waters(I mean economically , politically…….)… And I tink we all should be little more grateful to the BIG BROTHER(literally……)..

    SL is playing some great cricket and am sure Ind do appreciate that. It was obvious from the start of the comments .. But as it flaws(because of a few stupid fans of SL team- am not sure if they are sri lankans), the comments gradually turns in to ANTI-SRI LANAKN, Well there are few rotten eggs in any basket, so Ind mates, don’t go overboard here cause of that.

    PS: And to those few who’re busy over analyzing Ind teams faults , BCCI do not want u r advice.. So don’t waster u r time chums.. JUST ENJOY THE AVRUDHU. And the cricket festival

  • thinesh on April 14, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    Was shocked after reading some of the extreme comments made here. AM sure SL team also will be shocked reading few of this comments by some SL fans.. Come on guys,, we all have some deep roots with India,(religion ,cultures ….etc..) Even over team guys will nod to that. (viz..And murali spend most of his holidays in India…) And its really not nice to see these smashing to some Indian fans.. Personally I tink those few SL fans have just got drunken too much in this festive season and still posting here after the handover.

    Ok . what the heck.. SUBA AVRUDHU anyway to all.

    reg, sl fan

  • Alex,canada on April 14, 2007, 16:33 GMT

    Great article. The difference between SL and India is the Management. SL management select players to win (good scouting system).It is easy to manage when it is small country.

    With india the problem lies in with individual state boards. It is mostly run by "elite people" from each state. They do not have good scouting in each state. It is more of which of your son play this year?. Lottery between State board members son. Until every state board is more self sufficent in running their own cricket , indians will be only fielding "democratic" but weak side.

    The difference between Australia and india is Australia is a country , india is a continent with 24 countries.

  • Aravind on April 14, 2007, 16:27 GMT

    Hi Friends, It always feels good when Non- Sri Lankan speak good about my country Sri Lanka. Having said that it would be the same feeling for any cricket lover. I am a Sri Lankan and thanks to your wonderful article. I am sure the statement of Sri Lankan Team compared to the WI Team of 80s is just about the passion for the game. First of all, we love cricket, we enjoy it and we never give up, we put up a good fight even when we lose the game. People of Sri Lanka love to do it because living in Sri Lanka itself is a fight for anyone. May be that is why even the defeats are taken in good sporting spirit. This could certainly be compared to any happy Team when they are winning.

    First of all I apologize to all cricket lovers on behalf of Sri Lanka for the unwanted talks about Indian Cricket. We defeated India many times and they crushed us many times as well. Fortunately things are going good for us in this tournament. We should not take advantage of it and try to teach others about Cricket. Indian Team has world class players like Sachin,Dravid , Ganguly,Sewag and Yuvarj. We Sri Lankans have Jayasuriya, Murali,Vaas, Malinga, and Sangakkara, Pakistan have Younis,Yosuf,Afidi,and Shoib Akthar And Bangladesh have Ashraful,Saqib etc. We(Sub Continent) made this Game so popular. Subcontinent players took the game to a great height. We(Sub Continent) have set many world records. Why do we have to fight here friends? Let India and Pakistan decide what went wrong and come out with answers. We have no business to criticize them. PLEASE DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CURRENT SITUATION my Sri Lankan folks. Let us not put down India and Pakistan (Our Big brothers)when they go through this bad time. Let us give them good support. I love you India and Pakistan. Guys, we as SriLankans would not forget the support that Azar’s Indian Team and Legend Akram’s Pakistan Team played together(I saw this wonder happen first time in my life)against us to show the western world that no life threatening fear in Srilanka. India and Pakistan , big thanks to you guys, we SriLankans owe you so much for your support that you gave us when we were going through the bad patch. That support had given us the confidence to go on and win the world cup in 1996. Coming to the world cup 2007. I still feel so bad for India and Pakistan. I have to admit that this world cup is boring without India and Pakistan. Having said that I love every sec. of my Lankans game in this World cup(Obviously it is not boring). I want my Team to put up a good show. If we play well sure we will bring the cup to the Subcontinent. I feel Atapattu should play in the Team. We lack power hitters right down the order. Do not depend heavily on Jayasuriya. No other complains. I apologize again on behalf of all Srilankans to my non-Srilankan friends about any bad remark made by my country men(Out of joy). I want all your warm support to back Sri Lanka to travel the distance and get back home as CHAMPIONS. (They deserve it now.. Don’t they..?)

  • Edward on April 14, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    Team Sri Lanka plays exciting cricket most of the time. Pity we will not be seeing Malinga, the flavor of the moment bowl against the Australians on Monday.

  • tariq, Dubai on April 14, 2007, 16:21 GMT

    Am pretty sure that this RADEE & TERRY GONSALVES know nothing about the degrees being allowed to bend your arm when bowling , Infact murali bends much less than some of the fast bowlers as per the last report which was also confirmed by Tony Greg who know much better cricket than RADEE & TERRY GONSALVES, please stop this nosencess this is no more a topic to talk ,murali has been cleared by ICC which knows cricket better than you both + there were also scientist involved during the inspection, So are you both gonna say that you'll know better than scientist??

  • Jagadish on April 14, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    Hey Mukul,

    wasnt there this entry recently about indian cricket. this excellent in-depth analysis of India's problems. Has it disappeared? Can you guide it to me again? Thanks. Jagadish

  • ExcelPro on April 14, 2007, 15:01 GMT

    Hi Mukul, I would love to have an autographed copy of your book "Men in White" for my collection. Please let me know the cost and how to order. Thank you.

  • dsw on April 14, 2007, 14:51 GMT

    So again we have another chucker bashing his mouth off. How is it that the world is so full of dumb wits who stand in the way of progress? Talking of the degree of bending, it was found that an Aussie star bowler Macgarth had a higher degree of bending! Who talks about these lab results. Please mister, get out of light before you strip! Sure. Ban the chuckers. All of them. Not only those who come from the Indian subcontinent, but in aussie as well. Such loosers!

  • ExcelPro on April 14, 2007, 14:48 GMT

    Time to shut down this post and get on with life and more cricket. Mukul, I have always enjoyed your style of writing which evokes all the special feelings I have for this wonderful game of cricket.

  • Erasmus on April 14, 2007, 14:25 GMT

    Hi Terry, I think you are sadly out of touch. Infact he bowled with straps in England and showed that he can get the same turn for off spin as well as the wrong one. You and Martin Crowe never seems to have heard this. So do a search in the Crickinfo and update yourself. And the leading wicket taker in world cup cricket bends his arm from the elbow 12 degrees and this was discovered under match conditions, as many other leading bowlers did. Fastest bowlers who are exceeding 160Kmph were bending even more. You know from which countries, these bowlers come. There is a Sri Lankan saying that you do not see a beam in your eye but can see a hair in others eye. Terry and Martin are living examples for this. So the rules have to be same for everyone. Even if Murali bowls with the straps he will get the same turn as proved in England for TV cameras sometime back.

  • JayKay on April 14, 2007, 14:19 GMT

    The only article of Mukul that I have enjoyed. Yes – as an Indian I support the Lankan Lions. They have not only played well, they have also entertained us well unlike SRT, Dada, Dhoni, Sehwag et al. Having worked with the Sri Lankans in the Gulf, I can confidently say that they are simple, uncomplicated people unlike us (Indians). I can give many instances where Indians have played for their individual stats and not for their team – Sachin and Dada screwing up our chances of win in ICC knockout championship finals in 2000 or the latest Asia Cup finals when we chased a small total of 200 odd set by Lanka. The list is in fact endless.

    We don’t have anybody in our team of the calibre of Sanath, Vaas, Murali, Sangakkara or Malinga. Let us face the truth. I can see India becoming a minnow in cricket like it is in Hockey with the likes of KPS Gill and Jyothikumaran running the show in IHF. I think BCCI is in greater shambles than IHF. We will some day play with the likes of Myanmar and China for a spot to qualify to World Cup final round. Thank God – Europeans and Americans (both North and South) are not keen on cricket. We are not a country with “sports” culture – it is simply not in our DNA. Yes, all we do is study hard and crunch numbers or write codes better than others. But do we play cricket or other sports? I have been to Sydney and what surprised me was that Cricket is just another sport in Australia. Australian Soccer, Rugby, Soccer are equally popular there and cricket is just another sport for them. Yet, Sports is in their Gene and everybody plays something or the other. We must outsource our entire Sports Ministry to say Australia/Russia and stop teaching subjects like distorted “history” and geography to our kids and encourage them to play sports. Otherwise, let us bid adieu to cricket in India.

    Although I like the Lankan Lions, I am still not convinced with Murali’s or Malinga’s bowling action. Whilst their actions may have passed the lab test conducted by the ICC, it does not pass the naked eye test. This 15 degree rule as implemented by the ICC on Sunil Gavaskar’s suggestion (I presume) is all bull. Lankan Friends (peace), please note that this is not a case of sour grapes. Also, my take is to include Atapattu and drop Arnold instead. Russel Arnold is good but Marvan is better. I can never forget his century in the last world cup against South Africa. Hats off to Sanath – my favourite. I am looking forward to Sanath to deliver against Tait and Mcgrath and Vaas to strike against Hayden and Gilchrist. Best of luck to the Lankan Lions. They deserve it.

    Cheers

  • Chris on April 14, 2007, 14:12 GMT

    Terry Gonsalves

    Murali had probs only in Aust.. umpire made the decision three months before the team landed in Australia. The same umpire could see Murali from leg umpire's position but did not want stand back in head umpire's position. He even called the leg sipn a throw. How can you throw a leg spin. Did he have this problem elswhere ???? True Murali's is an unusual action but his talent is briliant. I do agree Aussies are the best in the world and will dominate in comming years but SL is certainly not far.

  • Itsham Iqbal on April 14, 2007, 13:48 GMT

    The Srilankans are the best team in Asia. No politics in team selection, everybody gives 110%! MURALI is the GREATEST bowler EVER!

  • Mr.cricket_fan on April 14, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    I was born in Sri Lanka and I moved to Australia 4 years ago. (Btw I am 17 atm). Having played club cricket in both countries I can clearly say that the standard of Australian cricket is very high. I can say this because the domestic cricket system in Australia really pushes players to work hard at their game, while in Sri Lanka it is the passion that drives the game. As a result Australia can achieve the best out of their young cricketers and it is just that. It is not about how many people there are in a country, but about how much each one is motivated and driven to play the game. I believe genes have very little to do with how good a cricketer you are. This is perhaps the reason why a lot of sub continent teams do look down upon Australia for not having any passion in the game. This is a misinterpretation. Passion for cricket doesn’t always mean following the national cricket team wherever they go. Passion in the sense what Australia has is individuals themselves pushing the boundaries and the limits of what they can and can’t achieve. In other words to become the best through a lot of hard work. Honestly, while I am being critical, I loved your article. I do get your point because what won Sri Lanka that game was not ripping bouncers or super fast bowling, but the variety and the flavour in their bowling. Vaas proved that 120k is enough to take top quality batsmen like Stephen Fleming and Ross Taylor out. This is a slap on the face of the Australian selectors choosing the extra pace of Tait over Clarkes accuracy. Mind you I think New Zealand will dispose of Tait quite nicely, because kiwis are not easily intimidated by pace bowling. I am more of a Sri Lankan fan than an Australian fan. I have my personal reasons for this, I whole heartedly agree with the fact that most Australians are arrogant in the field expecting nations to play on their terms. But there are some greats in the Australian team. My favourite is Mike Hussey, mainly because I, as a cricketer in Australia feel a close pull to him. He’s a hard worker of the game, and I love his ability to stand tall and deliver for Australia when its needed. This is a different type of passion, another genre of the game, to which a lot of people turn blind eye.

  • Chris on April 14, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Hey Hey ... Terry Gonsalves

    You sound an Aussie

  • Pal Singh on April 14, 2007, 13:10 GMT

    When is the tour of Bangladesh and will it be shown on any channels in the UK? People I need information about this as soon as possible. Lets talk about this instead of the World Cup. No more talk about and new talk about Bangla time!

  • robaka on April 14, 2007, 13:10 GMT

    Hay you all,Non of the previous missed one point.May be Sri Lankan cricket team is enjoying plying on the field. But the Sri Lankan fans, the motto is "WIN OR LOOSE, WE BOOZE,AND ENJOY THE GAME", we do not damage players properties when we loose, their families are safe, they do not need police protection, therefore the cricketers can enjoy the game.Sri Lanka may win the world cup, even if NOT most of Sri Lankan fans will be watching the finals who ever plays in the final, and yes,who ever "WIN OR LOOSE,WE BOOZE,AND ANJOY THE GAME".

  • Terry Gonsalves on April 14, 2007, 12:45 GMT

    So very right Radee. Murali, the chuckmaster has been cleared by everyone who has examined him,true but this only happens in the lab. Ban the chuckers. King Chuck should lead the parade.

  • Canuck on April 14, 2007, 12:40 GMT

    I agree with Bota and A about ending this posts, most of which have obviously gone beyond out of control.

    However while I agree enjoying Mukul's article because it spoke well of our SL team, I must also admit that part of a journalist's (especially an internet one) agenda is to create traffic to the site. I believe in that sense Mukul knows exactly how to write them, as most of his blogs end up with similar results to this one. Therefore closing this or ending the posts means less traffic to the site and to his blog, which I doubt would happen for that reason alone!

    Hope some of the sensible posters would realize there's no need to skin an already dead cat, and we should move on. As of now I am moving on to another subject matter and another interesting article to reply to.

    Thanks to the guys who wrote their comments in an unbiased, balanced and civilized manner.

    cheers!

  • S. Grover (A Sri Lankan, married to an Indian, living in Australia) on April 14, 2007, 12:40 GMT

    Nice one Mukul!!! Yep, I whole heartedly agree with your comments about the Sri Lankan Team. They play the game as it should be played, in all humility, and fun of playing a good game of cricket. This is why most Non-Sri Lankans seem to root for them. So, Win or lose this World Cup, to me, the Sri Lankan Team has already made our tiny nation proud in the Carrbbean. We do not need any stats to prove who we are today in the game of Cricket - Lankawata Jayawewa!!!!!

  • shehan v on April 14, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    aye, i agree that these comments are a little bit in excess and over the top, and i agree somewhat with 'Smack Dat' (everyone needs a girl), but i have to say, you're also readin and commentin, arent u?

  • RUSSEL on April 14, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Oh my dear brother Mukul, Your comments are so great, you been non SL’an and writing such positive comments tells me what a cricket loving guy you are. I love the game as well and cheer any team that plays it in a sporty manner. And my wish was to see India winning the WC as they were or better said are a well balanced team which includes a power packed 11. Now that the SL’ans are doing so well, I wish them a long run! I know that Mahela with his team are having good success down there. Yes, it is just unity and the team sprite which has brought them the long run. To be honest, I want to see SL winning the match vs. Aus on Monday the 16th, and also qualifying themselves to the finals. And, may the better team win the WC (not the SL’ans)! I remember how carried away they were after winning the WC in ’96. They were almost unbeatable in the ODI arena for a while. Arjuna as a captain was good, but as a sportsman??? ( remember the issue when Arjuna and some of his so called thugs had unmercifully beaten some innocent school boys just because the ball was accidentally flown into the garden? WAS THIS AN ACT OF A SPORTSMAN? Well let’s not talk of the captaincy!). And this is the only reason I don’t wish the Lankans winning the WC as it will ruin the game CRICKET in the country.

    To all those who call themselves “ I am proud to be a Srilankan”, It would be better to have mentioned “ I am proud the way Srilankans play cricket”.

    And to you poor old JEFF, I fell sorry for you. If you cannot bear or appreciate a positive comment done to Sportsman in sub continents, go brush your teeth, they look dirty. And if you are still not satisfied, have a good look into your underpants and start commenting on the difference “RACISUM” let me have a hoot.

    Finally, let me introduce my self, …….Russel, a Srilankan.

  • FromSL on April 14, 2007, 12:25 GMT

    Dear Bota,

    I agree and disagree. I agree ppl are a bit overboard here as somebody else said. But I disagree to the point that we should strictly limit the ideas to the article. Just think about it. Mukul compares the current SL team to the best WI of 80. (Well, being a SL - I have my doubts about that statement). So there is one big assumption Mukul brings on to the table. That is, as of today, SL team is better than AUS or India. So people are arguing about it and I don’t see it is being completely out of context.

    We shouldn’t read or write these articles in the mind frame that the Englishmen watch cricket at Lords.

  • A on April 14, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    People are going overboard ere - its just becomin a comments board where these ppl jus curse others an embarass themselves by chattin crap! This should be stopped now Mukul (agree with Bota).

  • Smack Dat on April 14, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    People need to chill - get a job or somethin or a girl lol. U guys r like 30 years old and chattin al dis crap on da net lol.

  • rean on April 14, 2007, 11:40 GMT

    Mukul,

    Its not entirely true about you talkig about their spirit. After seeing dilhara fernando not complete that deliver after running up for no obvious reason(yes whatever srilankan fansmight defend), I am not quite sure of their spirit. They might not be as ruthless as the astralians or do they sledge like they do but they are as good or as bad as any other team

    Your blog reflects your love and the biased opinion for srilanka

  • Bota on April 14, 2007, 11:26 GMT

    Mukul,

    One more thing, I think it's about time to stop this comments column, The discussion is no longer is about your article, it's about Indian cricket, which team is better, Ind vs SL, SL vs Aus, which bowlers chucked, Indian domestic competition format, how the fans behave, etc..

    Things getting way out of hand.

    This looks like a 3rd grade Internet forum, not a comments column, only the bad words are missing.

    Guys this is not a cricketing war zone. Argue with facts and logic, don't fight like babies..

  • Ramakrishnan on April 14, 2007, 11:07 GMT

    Sameer and ryas,

    "there are no words in any language spoken in sri lanka called "Alle" the closest it could come to is potato and "

    Yes, there is no ward called 'Alle'. I heard mant times Sangakkara says 'Allen-ta', means 'catch him'.

  • Bota on April 14, 2007, 11:03 GMT

    This Sameer guy newer learns,

    Hello Sameer, only thing you ever remember is the fact that Australia beat Sri Lanka in home 3-0. And you are supporting an Indian team that has a worse Test record than Sri Lanka in all conditions. And talks about their greatness, Sri Lankans are not world beaters for sure, but Indians are not much greater than them. Infact Pakistan is the best Sub-Con team.

    I live in North America, you know why they call Indians and Chinese a Nonsense, because of people like you. You are becoming a shame to your country. Patriotism is good but foolishness in not good. Give me your parents’ phn no. I’ll talk to them about your condition, don’t worry things will be fine once the doctors have a look at you..

    Mukul, If you love India stop Sameer’s posts, He is not making any sense anymore, and he embarrasses the country.

  • Shehan Vithanage on April 14, 2007, 10:58 GMT

    Right, all of you people here, calm the **** down Its just a... game!

    Watch it, enjoy it, live it, dream it... but dont ... ruin it for the rest of us!

    All this about murali bein a chucker; if proof itself can't prove he doesn't, then what else do you want? Are you so close minded that you can't just accept that he is, indeed, one of the greatest bowlers, and players, to ever have lived the fantasy of the game. And everything about him only smiling when the teams winning, moments are etched in my mind when he's just been hit for boundaries, and all he responds with a huge grin and a few words to the closest fielder...

    This Sri Lankan team is well balanced, its true. They do enjoy their game, that's also true. But i think the reason that everyone likes them is that they allow us to enjoy the game with them. When they're playing, i feel its worth sitting through the advertisements just to watch the next over.

    With the Australians, the only reason to wait for the next over is because of fear of missing a wicket. Such expectations isn't a good thing.

    To all you Indian fans out there, i enjoy watching your team play. But i think this 'crowd support' you talk of is uncalled for... Indian fans don't go to cricket games to watch, support, and enjoy the cricket. They go to admire and worship what the media has made into virtual demi-gods. I'm not go into the media and all that rubbish again, but just let me get the record straight. I believe the indians have a great team, and i also believe that the general public is just expecting too much of them.

    And no one can take anything away from the Australians, they simply are the best out there. I think they too are enjoying their game, but in a different way from the sri lankans. I believe that most people hate them for the wrong reasons, and that is uncalled for. Just let them play, and let us play. If any one of our teams beat them, the world shall erupt in joy, and that will be amazing. If any of our teams lose to them, we shall just have to pick ourselves up, and fight back even stronger than before.

    I see these comments here from Sri Lankans, and most of them are claiming that we will win, that we are the best, we will go all the way... This is completely opposed to what i hoped Sri Lankans thought like. For me, at least, the Sri Lankans may not win the World Cup, but thats just a title. Even if Australia don't win this world cup, that doesn't mean they'll suddenly drastically drop their standards and Sri Lanka will become invincible... Sure, I'd love to a see a sri lankan win as much as the next guy, but let's not pin our hopes up too high.

    Win or lose, i'm still proud of what we've achieved, of who we are.

    WE are people, and we... ROCK!

    Live true bros

    =]

  • gaminid on April 14, 2007, 10:45 GMT

    Really interesting blog!! Being an Indian, Mukul's professionalism shines when he gives credit where it is due. He is talking about the cricket world cup 2007 and NOT 1999 or 2003. Sameer should be ashamed of himself for being a one way thinker; take a leaf from Mukul's handbook Sameer. You write with a lot of hatred within you. Why? What for? Make the blog interesting to read. For some of his supporters who mentioned they were supporting SL before and not after reading this blog shows how matured they are!! If you guys cannot enjoy this forum please do not spoil it. You may read it but do not for god's sake try to plant hatred. There is no argument that Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid are great cricketers. Just because they had two bad days in this world cup does not mean that they are finished. They will come back for sure!! I want them to come back for the sake of cricket!! As someone correctly pointed out just because they have won 4 matches in a row, SL are not the best team in the world cup, but, we must appreciate the way they approach every match with the limited resources they posses. Other than Sanath, Murali, Vaas, Sanga and Mahela all the rest are 'average' cricketers. Forgive me for telling this, I will get a lot of criticism for not giving credit to Dilshan's fielding, Chamara's charm and Malinga's innocent brutality. This team has used their limited resources to the maximum. That's where they stand out comares to team India or Pakistan in this world cup. Yes, anyone can dream about the day SL getting thrashed without Sana, Murali and Vaas, but, the same situation remain with all other teams. How would India cope without Sachin, Ganguly,Kumble and probably Harbajaan? Pakistan without Inzi, Younis, Rawalpindi Express and so on. Don't worry mates, those shoes will be filled by someone else. that's how the world survived and will be survived. To some one who commented about sledging by Srilankans. Complete rubbish. Yes, Arjuna taught SL to stand upto the Aussie sledging. People talk the greatness about Mcgrath. How dare they forgot him calling Sanath the "Black Monkey". People have very short memories. Those who still cannot digest the greatness of Murali, as a Srilankan all I could say is "I love you!!". Do you think Wisden, the mahagedara (the prime institution) of cricket has gone mad to select Murali as the greatest cricketer of this year. (I would like Sameer to reply to this.) For those who think Mahela is riding on other's performance again ICC must have gone out of their heads to select him as the "Best captain of the year" (ahead of Ricky Ponting) and Wisden to select him as "one of the best five cricketers of this year" ahead of the greats such as Sachin, Dravid, Hayden, ponting, Fleming, Inzi and Kallis to name a few.

    Finally, with all due respect to all the other teams in the Super 8, my sincere wish is for Sri Lanka to lift the World Cup because I love my country the most and secondly, for bringing the rather dull 'mis-matches" of this world cup to some form of 'life' thro the four matches they have played so far.

  • Nelani De Silva on April 14, 2007, 10:04 GMT

    Don't get caught to Mukul that much. He is going to write articles and get SLs fired, then once they loose he will start writting crap stories about them. The only thing about is that whether they win or loose we are 100% behind them.

  • S Rajapakse on April 14, 2007, 9:07 GMT

    It is laughable that the Indians keep on harping about the 6-1 win against the Sri Lankans such a long time ago. Don't you have anything in the recent times to talk about. It is ancient history now. Why can't you comment about the thrashing of the English team by the Sri Lankans 5-0 in their own backyard or the way they played in Australia and New Zealand. The bitter Indians find it hard to accept the fact that currently the SL team is better than their team. On the other topic, as a professional cricketer, Miss Uthappa must be tough enough to withstand the sledging. If the young Sri Lankan, Upul Tharanga is sledged by McGrath, I don't think the Sri Lankan fans will keep on crying about it.

  • Hashini Jayasinghe on April 14, 2007, 9:05 GMT

    Sameer: You are an idiot! Get a life! It is not about which country does which, just give every country its due respect and accept certain realities. Come to Sri Lanka and see its cricket games, it does make more noise than WI, it starts from mighty school cricket. If that equal out as pollution for you I guess you are already a lifeless spirit. I think apart from few about 90% Sri Lankans are always true to their south asian brothers. We always, always support OUR OWN when they are not playing with us.

  • SL Aussi in Melbourne on April 14, 2007, 8:49 GMT

    Wish we had commentators that exude the same sentiments, these days it seems SL doesn't really have commentators that can really take it up to their fair skinned cousins. I reckon Tony Greg needs to be hired by the SL board to at least counter analyse some of the comments made by the others who to be fair is biased towards their own countries or has been smitten by the SL team. I was listening to some of the discussion going on in the SL vs NZ clash and the WI commentator was saying that some of the SL throws were offline unlike usual, & the response of the NZ was that the Sri Lankens were never good fielders & that they have improved since T Penny joined the team, while he's been an excellent influence on the team, I feel that one of the constants in SL have always been their fielding, Mahanama, Hashan, Roy Dias to name a few.....and then it's quite intersting to hear these same commentators do a bit of a back flip when the SL are at the top in the final overs, and the so called great NZ dropping catches & giving away extras. It's also going to be a problem getting any Man of the match awards for these guys since the only commentator voting for them is Fernando & the rest is from the opposing country, not once but twice the losing team seems to have been awarded this award. It was also interesting choice to give Bopara the award in the Eng clash when there was a few deserving SLanken's if they really wanted to give it to the English it should have been Nixon who really turned the game around. But hey the performance in the context of the game doesn't really seem to matter sometimes. I do consede though that VAS being awarded this award in the last game was an excellent choice.

  • Nelani De Silva on April 14, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    Everybody: Who have no idea of Sri Lanka's domestic cricket please do NOT comment! We have one of the best School cricket tournaments and big matches. Try bringing your country to that par and then start talking. All these cricketers are top shots in the Sri Lankan School Cricket scene!

  • Nelani De Silva on April 14, 2007, 8:17 GMT

    LUX: The civil war has not inflicted the whole country. Come to Sl and look at its liveliness. What do you mean SL does NOT have a good domestic competition? have you ever come to a SL school cricket matches and rival schools poundign each other call "Big Matches?" If you don't know about Sri Lanka, don't talk crap! SL has one of the best school cricket systems - come and take a look, the games are as hugely watched just as the national team playing any other world cricket team!

  • Thomas on April 14, 2007, 7:56 GMT

    Some ignorant Sri Lankan has said Flemming captained the 1992 New Zealand Squad. I know that prior to 1996, most Sri Lankans didn't pay much attention to cricket, but this is ridiculous simply from a chronological standpoint. Flemming made his debut in 1994, he would have been 18 during the 1992 world cup. Martin Crowe was captain of that squad. He did point out that Mark Greatbatch was promoted up the order to score aggresively in the initial overs, I hope this settles once and for all that the Sri Lankans did not invent the "pinch-hitting" tactic. For those of you who say Jayawardne was the first captain to delay the power play beyond the 35th over, please check your stats, and start watching matches between other nations. All Ranjit Fernando clones, who shout "Oh he's hit him for four, and Bopara has taken England to victory... oh what is this... he's bowled him, I thought he had hit him for four but he's bowled hima and..."... idiots who talk too much without observing the facts. The only tactic Sri Lanka invented was the racism card everyt time one of their chuckers was caught.

  • UMW on April 14, 2007, 7:55 GMT

    The other side to this SL v/s Aus argument... :

    "Mukul, you are a hypocrite of the highest order. Based on your previous blogs, its easy to see your bias to the Sri Lankans and disdain (bordering hatred) towards the Australians... "Young Uthappa decided to go after the slow-bowling ancient, whacked him for a couple of fours and then swatted another ball (that flat-batted straight hit that modern batting brutes so favour) only to have Vaas catch it with both hands on his follow through. Exit, bewildered youth, sent on his way with a few instructions." So I see, when Vaas does it its "the new west indians" and a "gay cavalier.." approach. We all know what you think of the australians when they give batsman send-offs (when was the last time you saw them do that?)

    "Muralitharan... : like the giggling guru, he just never stops grinning." Murali can afford to grin and giggle all day, he can afford to chuck, chortle and chuckle as well, because the rules of cricket have been bent (pun intended) to accomodate his (and /apparently/ every other bowler's) action. Ever noticed how often Murali bowls in powerplays (or if he does, how many overs he bowls), or how he has (at least) three fielders on the ropes on the onside. Compare that to Warnie...

    "Lasith Malinga's so wonderfully strange they should freeze him in his delivery stride and suspend him in formaldehyde for posterity." No, they should freeze him and throw him out. Underarm bowling was banned for a reason, I really wonder if slinga Malinga ends up bowling with his arm over his shoulder?

    The Sri Lankans are not good sports, they play boring and restrictive cricket when they bowl,(how many test victories do they have abroad, compare that to the Aussies). You want to question my claims for sportsmanship? What happened to Fernando on that (supposed) last delivery against England? Watch the replays carefully, he pulled out of his stride, but kept watching Bopara. When you pull out of your stride normally, you don't watch the batsmen, something has upset you and so you can't complete the delivery. Worse, as he turned around, he was sporting a grin on his face, which he quickly tried to wipe off. I'll never forget the Sri Lankan's appealing for a runout, when the ball clipped the bowlers pants and hit the stumps at the other end, the batsman was Dravid, at Sharjah. There is controversy about a similar decision this time with Jaisurya being the bowler. And they had the audacity to cry foul when McCullum ran out Murali (do you think Gilchrist would ever do that?). The Sri Lankans attempt to sledge every bit as much as the aussies, if they were a bit witty that might work, but as things stand its awful, noisy dribble.

    For a change though, you've been outdone by "Jeff" when it comes to controversy, and he's done it in fewer words (good for you Jeff!). Ranatunga made as racist a comment as anyone about the aussies, but it is McGrath who is conveniently remembered for apparent racism. Why is it that so many cricket fans think Murali is a chucker? I mean there must be something there, isn't it? I would guess around 85% of all cricket fans think he chucks. Chuckers and cheaters don't deserve to be champions."

    -Thank you to anjo

    I think, as a sri lankan, that there exists a lot of xenophobia and paranoia about the australian cricket team, which is representative of the de facto anti-white feelings which exist (not amongst everyone). Somehow the australians are easier targets than the english for this purpose.

    I think it's about time that people stopped generalising and accepted that there's racist people in australia (darren lehmann for example), and racists towards whites in sri lanka (anyone remember ranatunga's comments about australian heritage?). There's also plenty of people that aren't racist.

    It has to be in my opnion acknowledged that the behaviour of the australian team since the turn of the century has been very, very good and probably the best behaved team on the field.

    Remember that it was ponting who kept having the "accept the fielder's word" proposal turned down by every captain before each series. Remember the sri lankans making a fuss about ponting not walking after jayawardena had taken a catch in sydney in the VB series finals of 06, then to find on replay that it had fallen short just like ponting pointed out? Of course jayawardena did apologise for it later.

    Who started the friendliness between england and australia in the 2005 ashes? The australians, by visiting england at the end of the 2nd test match. Not the other way round. Why did australia get annoyed that england didn't check on ricky ponting after harmison hit him at lord's? Because australia always do it.

    Many sri lankans probably don't know that matthew hayden spent an entire tour in 1999 fishing with the villagers in galle of his own accord after befriending them (he was only a squad player back then).

    Anyone remember gilchrist taking the match stumps to malinga in darwin in 2004 after the test match and presenting them to him with words of encouragement after a good bowling display out of nowhere as a debutant?

    Do people know that guys like lee and mcgrath and warne spend lots of time with players from smaller countries (eg. bangladesh and mashrafe mortaza) on tours, helping them off the field? The same players that they go and thrash in the game later on of course.

    Hasn't anyone seen the australians ALWAYS applaud to a man, an opposition batsman reaching a milestone and then - as in the case of warne and flintoff - congratulating him as he walks off the field?

    And more on this bad/good behaviour thing - apart from the points stated by anjo - doesn't anyone remember tillekeratne dilshan incessantly going at damien martyn from point at a VB series match in perth in 2006? Vaas giving uthappa the glare and sendoff?

    Why do sri lankans forget that the actual coach of this SL team is tom moody, the same moody who played with the rest of the so-called racist eleven australians in the 90s? I bet if steve waugh took over and guided the team to more success, then everyone would conveniently forget who the heck this guy coaching them is, EVEN if he was THE steve waugh - the symbol of the aussie team till he retired.

    And to the guy who posted the article from the guardian, monty panesar was LOVED by the crowds in australia and there was no awkwardness (like there was in england at the start) at all. Not one single time was he given anything but love by the crowds. Mahmood wasn't given anything either..but he didn't play much either.

    So yeah, let's stop generalising and accept that there's racist aussies, racist sri lankans, but mostly non-racist aussies and sri lankans and that since the year 2000 the behaviour of the australian team has actually been damn good on the field, especially since ponting took over.

  • Sameer on April 14, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    WOw, readin this comments gimme a feeling that SL are world beaters and thy have ruthlessly thrashed all n sundry so far. Poor Robin , he had to face rosy words from Chaminda Vaas rt when he accidentally took tht catch, that was not abuse. Sangakara keeps chanting some thing or other in his local tounge and then surrounding fielders grin and giggle, thats not sledging either. When in 2003 WC final group game Vs SA, Sangakkara said to Pollock "this guy is going to let down the entire country", wasnt that sledging ? u can always find Chaminda vaaaaaaaaas pointing fingers to batsmen when he gets them out....That too isnt sledging......

    WOW, there is a famous dialogue in INdian movie which says "people living in glass houses shouldnt throw stones on other ppl". Very true and applicable for Vaasa and Sangakara.

    Now few poor knowledged cricket fans r going to teach entire cricket world how good their Lankan team is.

    Some Percy said Fleming was NZ skipper in 1992 WC. Get ur facts correct man, it was Crowe Martin, Crowe who was NZ skipper then.....

    I remember how Wasim Akram had taken 2 hattricks in Asian test championships against Lankans in space of 1 month. How Australia had thumped them 3-0 in their own home series on the pitches tailormade for the bowler to throw his balls around.

    And u guys r even predicting Lanka victory in final beating Australia ? :O, Australia would loose ? To Lanka ? Ohhhhh, 1996 scars still visible ? Come out of past, the world has changed. If u hv to call urself a world beater, then win in 1) Australia, 2) SA, 3) England and 4) India. And not once but for decades or 2, if u r able to do that, then we d say Lanka s great and world beaters, untill then accept that SL are paper tigers at home n in those conditions where wkts are slow and low. Fast bouncy tracks make SL wallop, gallop and dance, jump, sit, duck and wot not....And finally edge and bowled.........We Indians would never accept that Lanka is a world beater....First beat us in India,

    And abt fair cricket, how about Ranatunga taking out his players off the field just cos THE BOWLER was called for a no-ball. Just a no-ball call and whole team is off the field. Wow, thats fair and flair rt.......Kya kahne aap logo ke!!!!

  • Sajeewa de Silva on April 14, 2007, 7:39 GMT

    Dear WordPerfect:

    As a Sri Lankan, I use this forum to apologize for the unusual verbal letloose of Chaminda Vaas, following Robin Uthappas exit.

    Having known Vaas for a long time, I could say with great certainty that it was a trick he employed to provoke and kindle a flame in the remaining Indian batsmen to go after him hard and make errors. I do not think you should read anything beyond. After all, WE SRI LANKANS LOVE YOU INDIANS!

  • Mr S on April 14, 2007, 7:32 GMT

    Firsly let me put forward my views why I love Sri Lankan cricket. The first and main reason is because i am a Sri Lankan and very proud of it. Be it if they are winning or losing i will still love the Sri Lankan cricket team. I will be disappointed in a loss but will not hold it against players if they do not perform. The thing fans of sport (especially indian cricket fans) have to remember is that the players are choosen because they are outstanding at that sport, and if you have ever played competitively in any sport you will know that performing 100% every game is a ridiculous expection, sometimes you just 'stuff up' thats life. The next reason why it is so enjoyable to watch Sri Lankan cricket is because of their sportsmanship to every team. They dont bring in race issues to games (eg Darren Lehman) they dont swear excisevely and act childish when hit for a boundry (eg Glen McGrath) and they dont try and intimidate the batsmen by approaching them after a bowl and saying inappropriate things (eg Brett Lee). The next reason would have to be because Sri Lankans are not arrogant and 'cocky' like their Australian counterparts. The Australian 'cockiness' maybe due to the amount of games they have won over the past few years but there is no need to rub it in continuously. So hopefully this World Cup will be Sri Lankas once more, so then we will get to see a team really celebrate graciuosly. Go Sri Lanka Do it for the rest of the world.

  • Ravi Bansal on April 14, 2007, 7:15 GMT

    Coundn't endorse your view any lesser. The Sri Lankans bring to their game an uninhibited joy that other teams don't.

  • Surane on April 14, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    Although the following may be a bit harsh, I thought of sharing it with all of you in order to add some humour to this sometimes too serious posts.

    Child custody hearing in a Courthouse. The Judge is questioning the child about his preference of living with a parent.

    Judge: Do you wanna live with your mother?

    Child: No, I do not like to live with my mother because she beats me.

    Judge: Do you wanna live with your father?

    Child: No,I do not like him too, and do not wanna live with him because he is the worser of the two as beats me a lot.

    Judge: Is there anyone else that you like to stay with?

    Child: I like to stay with the Indian team.

    Judge: Why do you want to stay with the Indian team?

    Child: Because they do not beat.

  • madhu on April 14, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    I am Sri lankan and am having a blast watching lankans playing great cricket, but muhul should stop using every opportunity to pick at indian players...it so unfair to compare them to the indian team...love and admiration of a game is only good up to a limit....if it goes beyond that then it start negatively affecting the players and their mental strength. that is exactly what has happened to the indian team...they had a great batting line up but the pressure was just over whelming....the problem is not to rearrange the team...but releive some pressure and just let them play and support no matter what...did u see those irish people (aus vs ireland) cheering for every run and dancing for the one wicket even though they knew it was for a loosing cause...that is the kind of admiration indian cricketers need....It was so sad to see Dravid release a statement to public saying he hopes they won't physically hurt any of the players or the family...it is so sad... On the side, i have so much admiration for NZ, esp fleming and bond. I would root for them over anyone outside the subcontinental teams...but yesterdays game...i wish styris had walked away when he was caught behind...he just lost my respect

  • FromSL on April 14, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    Hei Sameer,

    You know, Murali’s father was the ICC chairman those days and he changed the rule for him. But, just to remind – You Indian’s are LOOSERS now.

    Why don’t you get down to a street, throw a stone or two at Dravid’s house and burn a poster of Tendulkar. As a devoted Indian, you will feel much better that way. Pathetic.. Just to remind you .. You LOST like rats.

    Hei, something new .. You LOST , You LOST and you Indian’s are losers. Nothing can change that. You LOST, and LOST and LOST.

  • Canuck on April 14, 2007, 6:39 GMT

    To Mick. Excellent post mate and thanks for being honest, and many Sri Lankans including the ones now call Australia their home, do understand that not all Aussies are the same. We know that they are generally good blokes, who take the game a bit too seriously (like their beer.. he he!). Same goes to the Indians who are waging a war of words on this blog, with some Sri Lankans. They are passionate about their game, and some take this hard loss by pointing their frustration at other's success. But we understand not all Indians are like that. Same goes to Sri Lankans, most of whom admire their neighbouring countries' cricketers. Few do cross that line now and again, but I am sure others do understand not all of us are the same (great post Sunil).

    One thing I realized though is that not everyone posting here has played cricket in any decent competitive form. Not everyone has the talent or the knowledge of the sport to properly conduct a conversation without going off point or slinging mud at the other. However every fool seems to have access to a computer and a lot of free time, and suddenly everyone's a pundit or an arm chair critic! Unfortunately that's a dangerous notion and a no win situation for some of us who wants to discuss issues in a civilize manner.

  • Brian Goonesekera on April 14, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    Hi to all Cricket Lovers,

    It is very interesting to read all these comments. I would like to share my thoughts about Cricket, World Cup, Sri Lankan Cricket and Sri Lankan fans. Cricket is a lovely sport where you could learn life time lessons from it. It has improved and upgraded so much. The Spirit of Cricket is at stake now. However still we get lots of players, umpires, officials and fans from every cricket playing country doing their best to save the Spirit of the Game. Every Country will have those who bring disrepute to the game. But the fans have a big say in the future of Cricket by the way we respond. Be it a win or a loss to your country, how you celebrate or react will determine the destiny of Cricket as a whole. It's is fully commercialised and it had to be for it survival. But those who know cricket should teach the new generations watching cricket the real lessons cricket could teach anyone. It's like real life. Nothing is certain. One day you are in top form next day you are struggling. All it takes is one ball, one wicket or one run to win or loose. That's the beauty of the game. This World Cup has brought lots of Highs and Lows to cricket. I don't want to mention the lows, but would love to pay respect Late Bob Wolmer who has done so much for Cricket in South Africa and world over. May his sole rest in peace. At the Start of this World Cup there were 8 teams who could win it. Unfortunately India and Pakistan had an early departure. I feel sorry for those Cricketers as I know how much they would have dreamt to hold that WC in their hands. But sadly they have to also go through the fans and media critics. Well today people will say that is what you have to except when you represent your Country. I like to point out something Kumar Sangakkara wrote recently when India went out of the WC. He said he is glad that he is a Sri Lankan and that he does not have to face the ugly threats, burning effigies or Houses if Sri Lanka Team looses. He still could walk on the street and still young kids will come and ask for the autograph. To all Sri Lankan fans keep it up! Enjoy every victory and accept defeat as there can be only one winner. What is important is how we play the game. Cricket should be the ultimate Winner. Well Our Cricketers have been Great Ambassadors for Our Country over the Years. Earlier people knew Sri Lanka as Ceylon Tea and Today as World Beaters in Cricket! Praise should go to all Great Cricketers/Officials/Coaches represented Sri Lankan Cricket at the Highest level as well as the grass root levels from the day Cricket was introduce to the Country. Special mentioning of the 1996 Squad under Arjuna & Dav for making that dream comes true. Today we have a side that could beat any Cricketing Nation on their day. But there are no guarantees in Cricket. Who plays well will win the game. So still there will be 4 Teams at the end who will stand up. Finally it will be only 2 Teams standing out in the middle for the final punch. So all the hype about favourites is only for the fans self satisfaction our ones ego. From 8 strong contenders it has come to 6 still battling out there. Australia is qualified for the semis. NZ and SL are very close to it but still not there. Remember Cricket is a Game of uncertainties. England and SA will be fighting to get in. So there will be some great games coming up. Australia has been dominating for a long time. It is not due to other Countries do not have the Talent in their teams. It is mainly be because other Teams the following points. 1. Poor Team spirit and Team work 2. No Self Belief (Confidence in self and the Team members). 3. Fearing the opponents. 4. Lack of Commitment and preparation. (Fitness, improving skills, pushing the boundaries). 5. No Hunger to win. (No never give up attitude).

    Sri Lankan Cricket went through this period. Thanks to Australia for being the big bully they woke the sleeping Lions. Under Arjuna Ranatunga the team followed the Great Leaders attitude to fight fire with fire. That spirit rubbed off on all the Cricketers in the dressing room as well as school cricket in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately after that WC win the authorities and the players did not know how to enjoy the victory. They forgot that to stay in top is more difficult. They forgot to keep pushing them self’s more and more. That started the rot. Still those old work horses were there. (Murali,Vass,Sanath). Even though Marvan & Mahela did not play in the WC in 1996 they were very closely involved with the Team. Today we see that old hunger is back, we have the guidance from Moody, Leadership of Mahela, Raw Talent of the youngsters, experience of Vass, Murali, Sanath, Kumar. So Sri Lanka has a Great Team to challenge any Team. They will pick them self up 100% more when their opponent is Australia. They just love that Challenge. If you follow Australian Cricket for the last 2 years. They are on a down hill. Still they are winning because the other teams have not pushed them hard enough. They are winning in their comfort zones. NZ beat them in NZ, but they did not have the full team. Australians batting is strong, bowling and fielding is good. But they are low in confidence. Any team who challenges them to the edge will show how weak this Australian Team is. I hope that what I say today will come to light in the semis or finals. I don't mind if it is Sri Lanka, NZ, or SA. I did not use England as I do not see that Hunger in the England team to really Challenge Australia. Unless Paul Collingwood & Kevin P. takes it to the Aussies. I think NZ & SL has it in them to beat the Aussies. SA can but Aussies have a mental control over key SA players. However Cricket is such you will have to wait and see. To Mahela, Moody and The SL Cricket Team we are very proud of you guys. You all have brought Great Honour to your country and all Sri Lankans. We know you will do you best play well, play hard and play fare. Keep enjoying the Great Game you play you will do well. If you win be humble about it. If you loose. Don't worry because you have won millions of fans world over. So just go out and enjoy, give your best shot. What ever the result is you guys are winners and you have encouraged lots and lots of youngsters to follow your foot steps. That is the biggest win Cricket could have. Ultimate winner is Cricket! Good Luck to All Cricketers thank you to all Sponsors and West Indies Cricket for Hosting.

  • Jayantha Ranasinghe on April 14, 2007, 6:26 GMT

    Shame on you Lankan excile for you bad mouth against Sri Lankans. Sri Lankan's selection process is the best in the world and we will prove it to you on the 28th April. Those 4 provices you mentioned do not have any first class players not because of any bias. Because they can't play cricket. Those province majority are Indians. That's why they can not play the game. If we pick them, we would not even make to the super 8s. You know what I am saying?

  • dirtyappa on April 14, 2007, 6:24 GMT

    Murali is arguably the best spin bowler of all times who will be rememberd as a legend.

    Sameer you tend to get on peoples nerves. You are a pure wimp. Grow up you loser.

    appreciate the fact that murali will be the highest wicket taker in cricket history.

  • Sangakarra on April 14, 2007, 6:21 GMT

    In all honesty, after seing this article i can appreciate the level of support for Sri lanka and Sri lankan cricket.

    Its good for the game that we are a competitive side. I am happy to see that there are so many people out there that are so happy to see this nation suceed.

  • annonymous on April 14, 2007, 6:17 GMT

    sameer,

    who ever you are, it appears you write with real patriotism mixed with absolute idiotic.

    on the chucking matter it was found many bowlers chucks including likes of lee,macgrath,botham,lillee and walsh.

  • Lester on April 14, 2007, 6:16 GMT

    Good article. I, like many Australians, love watching Sri Lanka play despite what some of the posts here seem to suggest. While the attitude of the Australian team obviously offends some supports in other nations (as well as here)- I think it's an important part of why the team has been so dominant since the Steve Waugh era. But whether you're grinning like Murali after having an appeal turned down, or swearing like McGrath, it's still refects equal amount of passion for the game. But I love cricket and my country and personally I'd rather see Australia sledge, swear, taunt and win than lose any day. And if that happens I'm not too fussed what non-supporters think. But here's hoping for an Aus v Sri Lanka final!

  • Richard on April 14, 2007, 6:15 GMT

    Slogger Mauler Sanath's the greatest !! If he had started his career as the so-called PRODIGY Tendulkaarr , he would have had 25K runs in 1-day cricket and more than 1 100 centuries !! God ultimately helps the humble as Superstar Rajini says in "Annamalai" , Our guys are braggers and love to be hyped. Sanath & Co are just the opposite - humble to the core , GOD be with Sanath in the final and get them conquer the 2007 holy Grail of Cricket

  • Chintaka on April 14, 2007, 6:13 GMT

    Anyone who cries about chucking, unorthodox, etc, etc... are bad losers, simple as that.

    Also ever wondered when our feilders take real good catches, its only a good catch but when AUS, SA, ENG take a catch, my god the tributes!!! Mahanama, Jayasuriya, Jayawardena, Dilshan & Murali makes catching looks so simple and it makes AUS, SA, ENG & NZ catching looking like a walk in the park

  • savi on April 14, 2007, 6:01 GMT

    It is nice to hear comments of you guys. No doubt that australia is the best. Considering the fact that the attitude and the skills, sri lankan team is the only teal who has the chance to beat austr specially in finals. But I doubt that they would be able to that in fast, bouncy track at Barbados.

  • Canuck on April 14, 2007, 5:55 GMT

    Dear hyphened bo-theju,

    Is that the only your argument and fact you can come up with for selecting a Captain...?

    Actually, I do know how Madugalle was selected with his pater's pull. But did you also know that Madugalle was also a bowler who took match winning wickets to beat an under 19 Pakistan team Captained by Javed MIandad, during the Ali Bhutto Trophy finals that was captained by late Anura Ranasinghe (may be you were not even born at the time...). Regardless of how he was selected he also did prove his worth as a player, captain and now as one of the most respected match refrees. If you want to talk about selections, do you know how Arjuna got his place ahead of the same Anura Ranasinghe in our inaugural test match? However did Arjuna not confirm his selection by scoring 54 on that match and also becoming the most influencial Captian on Sri Lanka winning the world cup.... I can go on if you but it seems a moot point trying educate an elle player what cricket really is.... Bottom line is Mahela has proved his worth which the real fans with a proper knowledge of cricket knows, which ironically you seemed to have missed by a mile.

    By the way according to your own idiotic theory of selecting a Captain, he has to be able to bat as well as bowl. May be other readers can help me remind this guy of other Captains who have done their job without bowling a singe ball... What about MArvan...? Was he also a bowler who captained the tem? Oh, what about wicket keeping captains...? Guess poor Sanga has no chance of ever Captaining SL, according to hyphenated bo-theju!

    BTW thanks for deselecting the caps lock key, but now find the hyphen key and disable it please!

  • Mick on April 14, 2007, 5:49 GMT

    Whatever Percy Karunatileke is smoking, please can the rest of us have some too? Fleming was not captain in 1992 when Dipak Patel opened the bowling and Greatbatch opened the batting. Fleming was probably still in primary school at the time.

    As for his comments about "unorthodoxy", that doesn't mean that he was bad mouthing the Sri Lankans. That is taking paranoia to new heights. Sri Lanka have many unorthodox players but that can be seen as a compliment. It's not an insult. Gilchrist's high grip on the bat is unorthodox too. So is Graeme Smith's wide stance. Andre Nel's bowling action is hardly orthodox. I don't think Fleming was necessarily bad mouthing anybody by using the term 'unorthodox'.

    The ongoing Murali debate continues to amuse me. How many times does his name need to be cleared before the cheating allegations stop? He has never been actually 'convicted' of cheating. The only spinner with a cheating conviction officially recorded against his name is one SK Warne. Or maybe they've transferred the conviction in his mum's name? Regardless of whether you believe the "Mum gave me the drugs" story or not, the fact remains that he is the only one convicted of cheating, not Murali. If we are not prepared to accept the University of WA's verdict on Murali, then we must also accept that all the bowlers they have cleared must necessarily be guilty too. We can't just say that their verdict on Murali is flawed but their verdict on McGrath, Lee etc is perfectly acceptable. That's a bit like Aussie Swimming's view on drug cheats. If it's a Chinese swimmer found with drugs, they must be cheating. If it's an Aussie, it must be a mistake or a headache tablet or mum's fault. Same with chucking - either accept that just about everybody was past the 5 degree mark or accept that everybody is now legal. Once you've made that decision in your own mind, get on with watching great bowlers in action, McGrath, Pollock, Murali, Vaas or Bond. The skin tone doesn't really matter does it? We can support a particular team but does that necessarily stop us from appreciating the skill of an opponent?

    Using that same logic, why is that McGrath, Nel and Co can't adopt the same philosophy on the field? You can run in every ball, trying your best to dismiss a batsman but if he manages to hit you for four, why is that the catalyst for a torrent of abuse? Isn't that the whole point of the game? Batsmen vs bowlers? You can still be competitive but appreciate an opponent's skill. That doesn't stop you from trying to knock him over next ball. The sledging and verbal abuse - some would argue that it's cheating too. There's nothing in the rules or spirit of this great game that legislates for this 'skill'. It's another way of gaining an unfair advantage - isn't that a fairly simple definition of cheating? It really doesn't matter which country you support. Let's just get behind any team or individual who plays it hard and fair with a smile on their face and a genuine sense of honouring the noble traditions of this great game. Or is that too old fashioned for today's professional game? Sadly, I fear it may be.

  • Bota on April 14, 2007, 5:47 GMT

    I ran out of words for sameer, He is nuts.... He's mom should stop him form playing or watching cricket, or else he will end up in a mental hospital.

    His attitude makes me hates the Indian team.

    Now he calls Kumara Dharmasena a chucker, Ok so was Rajesh Chauhan, and Harbajan both were monitored and the ICC committee that suggests the new policy of the angle of arm bending has a list of players who bend the arm and you know who is in the top of the list, HARBAJAN SINGH, not MURALI.

    But no Sri Lankan ever accused Harbajan and why do some Indians accuse Murali? Jealousy perhaps…

  • S N on April 14, 2007, 5:46 GMT

    Gday all,

    Let me say, first of all, I am Australian. Now, before you label me a racist, a bigot or just an idiot in general, let me tell you a bit about where I come from.

    Australia, statistically, is one of the most multicultural societies in the world. We have benefited from being discovered by ‘westerners’ relatively late, and as such have been able to be influenced by a wonderful cross-section of the worlds cultures. Admittedly, we are largely represented by anglo-saxons, but this has not stopped us from appreciating everything that other cultures can bring to our society.

    Sadly, when you gather 20 million people on an island, you are going to have a small minority who clash. But to label a whole country racist (as many of you have done) is naïve & greatly unfair. Living in such a Utopian society that the sub-continent can often be, you may not know what it is to continually involve yourself with people that have such a wide range of beliefs (if I am wrong in saying this, please correct me).

    Continually bringing up rather minor incidents that have been scrutinized (and often exaggerated) over and over again is tiresome. As has been brought up previously, what Darren Lehman muttered 5 or so years ago was most certainly wrong and degrading – he has admitted this and apologized many times – but we should not judge an entire nation on one individual’s brain fade.

    Australia is a wonderful place to live and play sport, even for an Australian muslim such as myself (perish the thought!). So lets stop turning this forum into a slinging match and watch some cricket

  • Brian Goonesekera on April 14, 2007, 5:39 GMT

    Hi to all Cricket Lovers,

    It is very interesting to read all these comments. I would like to share my thoughts about Cricket, World Cup, Sri Lankan Cricket and Sri Lankan fans. Cricket is a lovely sport where you could learn life time leasons from it. It has improved and upgarded so much. The Spirit of Cricket is at stake now. However still we get lots of players, umpaires, officials and fans from every cricket playing country doing their best to save the Spirit of the Game. Every Country will have those who bring disrepute to the game. But the fans have a big say in the future of Cricket by the way we respond. Be it a win or a loss to your country, how you celebrate or react will determin the destiny of Cricket as a whole. It's is fully commercialised and it had to be for it survival. But those who know cricket should teach the new generations watching cricket the real leasons cricket could teach anyone. It's like real life. Nothing is certain. One day you are in top form next day you are struggling. All it takes is One ball, one wicket or one run to win or loose. That's the beauty of the game. This World Cup has brought lots of Highs and Lows to cricket. I don't want to mention the lows, but would love to pay respect Late Bob Wolmer who has done so much for Cricket in South Africa and world over. May his sole rest in peace. At the Start of this World Cup there were 8 teams who could win it. Unfortunately India and Pakistan had an early departure. I feel sorry for those Cricketers as I know how much they would have dreamt to hold that WC in thier hands. But sadly they have to also go through the fans and media critics. Well today people will say that is what you have to except when you represent your Country. I like to point out something Kumar Sangakkara wrote recently when India went out of the WC. He said he is glad that he is a Sri Lankan and that he does not have to face the ugly threats, burning effigies or Houses if Sri Lanka Team looses. He still could walk on the street and still young kids will come and ask for the autograph. To all Sri Lankan fans keep it up! Enjoy every victory and accept defeat as there can be only One winner. What is important is how we play the game. Cricket should be the ultimate Winner. Well Our Cricketers have been Great Ambassadors for Our Country over the Years. Ealier people knew Sri Lanka as Ceylon Tea and Today as World Beaters in Cricket! Praise should go to all Great Cricketers/Officials/Coaches represented Sri Lankan Cricket at the Highest level as well as the grass root levels from the day Cricket was introduce to the Country. Special mentioning of the 1996 Squad under Arjuna & Dav for making that dream come true. Today we have a side who could beat any Cricketing Nation on their day. But there are no gurantees in Cricket. Who plays well will win the game. So still there will be 4 Teams at the end who will stand up. Finally it will be only 2 Teams standing out in the midle for the final punch. So all the hipe about favourites is only for the fans self satifaction our ones ego. From 8 strong contenders it has come to 6 still battling out there. Australia is qualified for the semis. NZ and SL are very close to it but still not there.Remember Cricket is a Game of uncertinities. England and SA will be fighting to get in.So there will be some great games coming up. Austarlia have been dominating for a long time. It is not due to other Countires do not have the Talent in their teams. It is mainly be cause other Teams the following points. 1. Poor Team spirit and Team work 2. No Self Belief (Confidence in self and the Team memebers). 3. Fearing the opponents. 4. Lack of Commitment and preperation.(fitness, improving skills,pushing the boundries). 5. No Hunger to win. (No never give up attitude).

    Sri Lankan Cricket went through this period. Thanks to Australia for being the Big bully they woke the sleeping Lions. Under Arjuna Ranatunga the team followed the Great Leaders attitude to fight fire with fire. That spirit rubbed off on all the Cricketers in the dressing room as well as school cricket in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately after that WC win the authorities and the players did not know how to enjoy the victory. They forgot that to stay in top is more difficult. They forgot to keep pushing them selfs more and more. That started the rot. Still those old work horses were there. (Murali,Vass,Sanath). Even though Marvan & Mahela did not play in the WC in 1996 they were very closely involved with the Team. Today we see that old hunder is back, we have the guidence from Moody, Leadership of Mahela, Raw Talent of the youngsters, experience of Vass, Murali, Sanath, Kumar. So Sri Lanka has a Great Team to challenge any Team. They will pick them self up 100% more when their opponent is Australia. They just love that Challenge. If you follow Austalian Cricket for the last 2 years. They are on a down hill. Still they are winning because the other teams have not pushed they hard enough. They are winning in their compfort zones. NZ beat them in NZ, but the did not have the full team. Australians batting is strong, bowling and fielding is good. But they are low in confidence. Any team who challenges them to the edge will show how weak this Australian Team is. I hope that what I say today will come to light in the semis or finals. I don't mind if it is Sri Lanka, NZ, or SA. I did not use England as I do not see that Hunder in the England team to really Challenge Australia. Unless Paul Collingwood & Kevin P. takes it to the Aussies. I think NZ & SL has it in them to Beat the Aussies. SA can but Aussies have a mentle control over key SA players. However Cricket is such you will have to wait and see. To Mahela, Moody and The SL Cricket Team we are very proud of you guys. You all have brought Great Honour to your country and all Sri Lankans. We know you will do you best play well, play hard and play fare. Keep enjoying the Great Game you play you will do well. If you win be humble about it. If you loose. Don't worry beacuse you have won millions of fans world over. So just go out their enjoy and give your best shot. What ever the result is you guys are winners and you have encouraged lots and lots of youngsters to follow your foot steps. That is the Biggest win Cricket could have. Ultimate winner is Cricket! Good Luck to All Cricketers thank you to all Sponsors and West Indies Cricket for Hosting.

  • Chanuka on April 14, 2007, 5:34 GMT

    Mick! i couldnt agree with you more. As a sri lankan, i cringe every time i hear ranjit fernando commentate. The other commentators take the complete mickey out of him and he still cant work it out. He states the bleeding obvious, is soo completely biased towards sri lanka and just makes me reach for the mute button quicker than michael jackson reaching for jesus juice in a kindergarden. And what is with him and his use of the word "one"? "one must say", "one does thing", "one is led to believe".... ohhh man.. get that guy a muzzle.

    And to Sameer. my dear friend, this article has obviously hit a nerve with you. Why do you feel the need to defend india sooo strongly! they produce some of the best batsmen in the world, why are you so threatened? perhaps a tad bit insecure?

    All i can say to you is the same thing George Gregan was heard screaming at the all blacks as they kicked them out during the rugby world cup of 2003..... "FOUR MORE YEARS BOYZ, FOUR MORE YEARS!" But having grown up in new zealand, im confident they'll be back to win this year.. so fear not!

    As for indians having the most passionate crowds.. theres a fine line between passion and obsession.. And the indians cross that line in a blink of an eye. You gladly gobble up all the products ure crickets endorse, watch the stupid ads they are in and are all for it.. As soon as they perhaps have an off day and let you down.. all hell breaks loose. Effigies are burnt, stones are hurled.. are we still living in the stone ages? And what are you trying to say by burning a picture?? how does that have any impact on the quality of cricket thats produced.. Its a joke! so perhaps you need to address what true passion is, and really think if the everyday indian fan has it.

    And oncemore Mick. I grew up in new zealand and moved to Australia. I noticed a huge difference in the mental toughness of people over there. And i dont think its fair that people constantly partake in aussie bashing. I played a cricket game in aus which can hardly be called professional, and i was amazed and how much sledging i recieved. You laugh it off, it makes you stronger, it makes you more focussed. You get to be the best by having a mental toughness thats greater than your opponents. No teams can match the aussies for that. And the aussies should not be targeted for it, its the way they were brought up.. to win and win with all the weapons you can bring. Good on them.

    The sub continent teams can hardly target Australia for devaluing the spirit of the game when many of there players have been involved match fixing controversies. Whats worse, a sledge from shane warne or selling out your country, ala azhar, jadeja, cronje and malik?? .. pot, kettle, black.. etc etc

  • SOORYA on April 14, 2007, 5:32 GMT

    Uththappa is the latest swollen head to come to the Indian team and you could see his attitude when playing in india (Only where they win playing in paddy field like wickets).I dont think any coach can put indian cricket back on track untill they change their attitude and the senior mafia is chased out.

    Comments about RANJITH FERNANDO,I totaly agree and he is a shame to the rest of the panel

  • prasanna on April 14, 2007, 5:25 GMT

    well sangakkara has accepted that the srilankan public view sport as a sport so the palayers also enjoy and thats why dravid is not smiling and srilankans are.also the conditions suit them.why the same lankans didnt smile when they were in india with same moody?

  • Jay on April 14, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    "WordPerfect" why you hidding your name, is it herting the true?

  • Nipuna on April 14, 2007, 5:03 GMT

    Katz, i really think u should shut up and let the big people do the thinking for u. But i'll give u credit for one thing......lanka DID manage to level a series in NEW ZEALAND.........now can u c where i'm heading? Let me give u a hint......they leveled a series on FOREIGN soil with pitches that the lankan batsmen were not familar with....catch my drift? Lanka never really performed consistantly over seas (other than on the sub continent) uptill recently. Moody and Jayawardene have brought a new dimension to Sri lanka's cricket....especially on the mental thinking front.

    As desilva recently said, lanka tended to rely on their spinners to take wickets even on seaming tracks whereas now they have a fully functionial bowling lineup with a prefect balance between quick bowlers and spinners. Vass and Malinga do an exceptional job in the opening overs with Maharoof backing them up from behind. Although now Fernando has lifted his game immensely further strengthing the bowling attack. And well, then comes Murali..........well we all know the experience and talent he brings to the game. Follwing him is the ever reliable jayasuriya who gets through his overs in a flash and puts the batsmen under constant pressure with his tight bowling.

    Do u seriously think that through the experience the younger players gain by playing with hold hands such as vass, murali and jayasuriya, that they will not have the perfect platform to launch into successfull careers after the seniors retire? If u do u really ought to wake up and smell the roses my friend. Malinga, Maharoof and Fernando are the stars of the future.......their bowling will not make the lankans feel as if they are missing their stars. These three, with a bit more work, can easly take over Vass' role in the team not to mention that Malinga Bandara is an ideal replacement for murali (although he cannot replace him......but is there anyone in this world who could?).

    As for the batting......yes you are correct in saying that Jayasuriya has technical limitations BUT what is this rubbish about his weaknesses being the "short,fast stuff". If at all this is his strength. On numerous occasions he has dispatched bowlers of Lee's and Mc Grath's quality to all ends of the grounds when they were caught bowling short. Check your facts mate! And as for the garbage you add about the rest of Sri Lanka's batting attack.......well all i can do is shake my head at your stupidity. Dilshan, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Arnold and YES Chamara Silva who is showing an outstanding technique similar to that of De Silva at the very begining of his international career (i am aware nonetheless that he debuted a while back but only now is he begining his ACTUAL career) has huge potential. And as for "surviving on the freakish nature of their bowlers" who won't last for long......well last time i checked, Murali (whom i'm assuming you are relating to) has at least another 3 years to go till retirement and as for Malinga.....well lets just say he has another eternity to show his true potential.

    The Lankan team have the best chance of beating australia. It wouldn't surprise me if it was a Lanka vs Australia Final!

    So as for all those people who can admit the facts which prove theories.......Sri Lanka are well set for future success!

    GO LANKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • C on April 14, 2007, 5:03 GMT

    Sameer, you obvisouly have a complex like someone else in this forum has already said. If you cant face other teams and individuals doing well..dont make a fool of youseself by making stupid accusations. If qualified medical staff have approved murali's action, who the hell are you to question that judgement. try not to let your disappointment in having india knocked out so early show in this foolish manner.

  • Percy Karunatilaka on April 14, 2007, 4:56 GMT

    Stephen Fleming(NZ) has been calling the Sri Lankan 'Very Unorthodox' lately. May I remind Stephen that it was he as captain of NZ who used Deepak Patel the slow right arm offspinner to open the bowling aginst Australia in the 1992 World Cup in Auckland. he also used Mark Greatbatch the opening bat to throw his bat at every ball in the opening over of that World Cup and called it innovative!!! Where was orthodoxy then??? Comeon Stephen get your boys to learn to play Murali and Malinga, for they are not going to go away from the international cricket scene in a hurry. That 's the way to get the better of Sri Lanka not by bad mouthing them. Sri Lankans without making a fuss learnt to play the classy Shane Bond who went wicketless in 8 overs on Thursday.Stephen Fleming better learn for a start to play the very orthodox Chaminda Vass who got him out on the last four consecutive occasion LBW for no score. Let us see how Stephens team does today against South Africa whom he describes today as 'Orthodox'.Come on Stephen simply 'play the game' like Sri Lankans so successfully do without bad mouthing the opponent.

    PK / Sri Lanka

  • Sonny on April 14, 2007, 4:50 GMT

    I really like the thoughtfulness of this article. As much as I enjoyed reading it, I don't necessarily agree that "smiling on the field" will translate into success. I do think that enjoying your cricket can lead to positives, such as working very hard in the field and positive strokemaking. But their expression wasn't as you describe against South Africa... If it wasn't for that Malinga burst, they were ready to lose by 5 wickets!!

    I do credit them for their attitude and not giving up. They will need all of that and more on Monday, because they haven't a played a team of the calibre of Australia in quite some time. Yes you can make the argument that England and NZ had the best of Australia in the few months leading up the World Cup... but I feel that if Australia play their game, they will not be beat. And that is even if Sri Lanka play to their full potential.

  • WordPerfect on April 14, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    Sri Lankans playing fair and hard? Did you see the verbal abuse that Vaas unleashed against Robin Uthappa after dimissing him? A young man still in his early days of international cricket, he did not deserve it at all! The only mistake he made was wacking Vaas for 3 boundaries. If Vaas can not handle it, he sure is no gentleman. Many Sri-Lankan fans say that he is their best in terms of bahaviour. If it is so, you leave much to be desired!

  • Jay on April 14, 2007, 4:40 GMT

    Well wrote Mukul Kesavan , see the problem that i see in australia which they atituide, have a look, if Mcgrath got hit few boundres, first word comes from his month is F..k, have a look in sri lankan boys, no F.. word, even they get hammerd, when any team travel to Australia, they give more presher from news papers first, then... (every one knows i think) before even that team on air port, ones, in australian news, that was one of sri lankan tour, sport news has shown school boys troying cricket ball rather than boling, they said, due to ICC is ok with muralis action, then cannot even countrol school cricketers. why australia cannot play like other country with a frendly & fair manner?, if they can, every one will love them too.......i know cos i am living in aus & lot of australian now know that reson too by the way, good luck to sri lanka....

  • Sameer on April 14, 2007, 4:35 GMT

    Murali is an illegal bowler and he continues to bend the rules...Why was the law amended ? just 4 this lad who attributes this illegal action to born defect in elbow!!!! Kumara Dharmsena was another illegal bowler. but never called.... n this aort f team s called joy to cricket!!! ridiculous

  • ExcelPro on April 14, 2007, 4:18 GMT

    The Murali debate has nto been laid to rest after much scientific testing has proven the legitimacy of his action. Let's just enjoy his genius. End of story!

  • Sean on April 14, 2007, 4:00 GMT

    As a Sri-Lankan expatriate, I would like to see we Asian brothers sticking together and supporting each other. To the Sameers, Mohans, and others let's consider this forum as a sibling rivalry in the Asian family and when we all wake up in the morning, we all will be one happy family. Just like everything in life, the cup is either half full or half empty -- so is the article. In the final analysis, it is a well written piece and Mukul should be congratulated for that. Similarly, Sri-Lankan team looks good enough to win the world cup andlet's hope so. It would be nice to keep derogatory remarks away from the forum. For heavens sake - MURALI IS NOT A CHUCKER!!! Enjoy the good cricket until April 28th.

  • thinesh on April 14, 2007, 3:51 GMT

    no objections about OZ being the best.. SL have to play out their skins to win this one.. come on guys lets be realistic.. reg, sri lankan

  • ExcelPro on April 14, 2007, 3:42 GMT

    A bit of of perspective, and perhaps some pause to reflect would be welcome. Guys, this is just a game when everything is said and done. Let the best team win and let's enjoy excellence irrespective of nationality. For the record, I root for Sri Lanka in Cricket, Brazil in Soccer and any team that exemplifies passion and joy on the field of sports.

  • Nick on April 14, 2007, 3:09 GMT

    Frankly, if Australia meet Sri Lanka in the final, any true cricket lover would want Lanka to win! Why? Because they play the game cleanly, honestly, and make it good to watch. Who wants the 11 Boors from the Outback to win? For 15 years, Australia have been foulmouthed, ungracious, arrogant and unpleasant to watch. Winning that way only damages the game. Please God, let's see a real cricket team lift the trophy this time!

  • Mick on April 14, 2007, 3:01 GMT

    Thanks to the editor for correcting my long-held (and mistaken) views on "to the manor born". That little known Shakespearan fact was news to me and I must apologise to Johanne too for doubting his literary wisdom. It's great to be on a cricketing blog and get educated about some of the finer things of life. I would have lost a lot of money if someone had asked me to bet on the correct derivative of this phrase which only goes to show that I was wrong and that sometimes, even long-held views can prove to be mistaken. Anyone still grinding an axe about Murali's action may need to adopt a similarly apologetic tone. Science has proved him innocent and we now need to move on from that hoary old chestnut. Or accept that most bowlers (McGrath, Lee, Pollock etc) also transgressed the 5 degree rule and we label them all as chuckers too. Once our mistakes (or misconceptions) have been pointed out to us, it would be pigheaded of us not to admit a mistake.

    On the issue of the ubiquitous Ranjith Fernando, all I can say is that Sri Lanka must surely have a phalanx of people who are eminently more eloquent than Ranjith. He murders the English language in grammar, pronunciation and context and it is painful to listen to him speak. He can't even differentiate between V and W. Sri Lanka must have some other beautifully spoken broadcasters who can represent the country on air with a bit more pride? To make matters worse, his cricketing knowledge is not all that flash either.

  • Chintaka on April 14, 2007, 2:50 GMT

    Great story Mukul, However most people have lost the plot. When you take the spice and the flavor out of this story, it all boils down to is that SL are enjoying their cricket even more than the Aussies. Remember cricket is STIL only a sport where wining is not everything, AND then you have good losers and bad losers. In SL, they bring the joy and passion to the field where AUS and SA play hard to win only.

    One thing though, being a Sri Lankan I will not want to compare SL or for that matter the current AUS team with that great WI team of the 80’s, that team will never be touched again. The current AUS team is the best at the moment or the last 15years and I have read so many articles of comparison between the them and that of the 1948 team led by Bradman and the WI of the 80’s. Shame on you Sir. By all means pls do with your own team of 1948. Remember WI NEVER lost a series for nearly 20 years and that is something the Aussies just cant match. AUS lost to India twice, SL, ENG and did not make the final of their own world series twice!!

    Dav Whatmore didn’t teach us how to play cricket. He made us positive by re-adjusting our heads, Moody has taken off from there to another level and SL are being positive and enjoying the game the way it should be played. SL don’t care where they finish, SL knows to be champions they will have to beat the best teams one time or the other. I would rather meet the Aussies in the final. However with the scars of 96 still visible, one thing is for sure, Aussies will rather play SL in the semi-final and not in the final.

  • kevattaya on April 14, 2007, 2:45 GMT

    Sameer "Alle" means "Catch". Usually you hear it as "Alle Ganna", or "Allanna" ("Catch it"). It is normal for Sangakkara and others to say this when the ball goes in the air towards a fielder. Nothing to do with sledging. I've been watching the matches on TV and I haven't yet heard any SL sledging via the stump mike.

  • Chamara Ratnayake on April 14, 2007, 2:36 GMT

    Lankan Exile! While your point is well made, you need to understand that cronyism is the way of life in Sri Lanka. It is a quintessential part of Sri Lankan culture. It is not fair to blame any particular cricketer or province. Look at the current president of the country (whose whole family are in the top most positions of all ministries), or the previous one. Cricket just reflects such fundamental flaw. But there have been some inroads made into this rotten system in cricket. Sri Lanka (unlike secular states like India, Australia, NZ, SA, Jamica etc) is an official Sinhala-Buddhist country (it is in the law, and the subsequent civil war is well known). Even the ruling coalition has many monks in it. But there are a more than a fare share of non-buddhist in the cricket team (Vaas, Murali, Arnold etc). We are optimistic; things are changing for the better.

  • Vinnz on April 14, 2007, 2:27 GMT

    Sameer, You like any other indian take defeat like a bullet to the head. Why do you think so many indians commit suicide over a game of cricket. Its just a game, play to win and be a sportsmen. Take defeat and come back stronger. Learn from your mistakes.

    There is great debate in this article and the is a difference in the attitude of the fans, You probably see most of the world prefer the Sri Lankan team a much more friendly and competitive side, thats why they bring excitement to the game.

    Theres no overhailing going on before the game. Even if we lose a game we accept and say that our team has put 100% to the game and they tried their best. Whereas if india loses its like the end of the world.

    Dont get me wrong, i used to be a really big indian supporter they were my second favorite team after Lanka, and ever since 2004 mini world cup where they both one due to rain, i saw a completly different way of indian supporters.

    The indian supporters just like yourself is what causes the rest of the world to condemn india as a cricketing nation. You seem to overhail your cricketing team above all things.

    You talk about Sri lanka losing in the first round in the 99 world cup, in all honesty thats a way better way to exit the world cup then to make the finals and lose by over 200 runs. Its an embarresment, only two competitive sides are worthy of a world cup final. Its was just a shock to watch the Aussies crush the indians.

    Anyway mate wish you all the best for your indian side. Hope they improve and come back.

    Credit to Sachin tendulker the only player in india who 'One' can respect.

  • Sunil on April 14, 2007, 2:23 GMT

    To Sri Lankans who posted here dissing the Indian team:

    Cool it. The are going through a rough patch. They have some problems, they will sort them out and comeback stronger. Their superstars may be aging, may have lost a bit of touch, but these guys are good players. Just as I love to see Sanath taking apart a bowling attack, I enjoy watching SRT in full flight.

    To Indians who seems upset:

    Don’t take it personally. Given the clout you guys have in world cricket commercially and politically, people sometimes enjoy taking a jab at you whenever your team stumbles. It is lonely at the top.

    To Jeff who said that the support for Sri Lanka by other subcontinent countries is racism:

    No. It is just people rooting for the under dog. To most non-Australians, that team is like a well-oiled machine flattening down the opposition each time they play. Not much fun in that.

    To Mukul: I enjoyed your article. Yes we Sri Lankans play the game with lot of sprit and enjoyment. Just go to any “big match” between two cricket playing schools. The baila music never stops and beer flows freely. We don’t get too upset with our team when they lose. We don’t burn them in effigy or stone their houses. They are our heroes. In a country where corruption is running rampant, the politicians screw the common man on a daily basis and where money can get you anything, these cricketers are the closest to the ideal of someone who got to the top because of their skill, hard work and dedication and not because of connections. The fact that most of them come from very common backgrounds like many of us, makes them very endearing to us. When Malinga talks about playing tennis ball cricket in a village coconut groove or down the street we all can relate to that. We also are very proud of the fact that most of them are very down to earth and seems to have very little egos. I think when you said that these are the new West Indians, you were talking about the sprit and not the awesome skill that those legends of 60s and 70s from the Caribbean.

  • Mick on April 14, 2007, 2:22 GMT

    To deviate from cricket ever so slightly, the phrase "to the manor born" is not a corruption of the expression "to the manner born" as Johanne incorrectly suggests.

    The correct phrase is indeed "to the manor born" which means that someone was born in a manor (mansion, palace, rich residence) which conveys the sense that they were always destined for that particular role because they were born from that background. In other words, Greg Chappell may well be thought to be to the manor born because he hails from a rich cricketing dynasty (the manor) and it is natural that he fulfilled a similar destiny. Johanne is correct about the British sitcom starring Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith which portrays a 'new rich' man who lives in a mansion and lives a life that is very upper class even though he is not. His tenant is Penelope Keith who is relatively less rich but hails from so-called aristocratic stock and she looks down at her landlord's lack of manners, gentility etc because despite being poor, she sees herself as "to the manor born".

    Sorry for that literary diversion....back to more important cricketing matters please.

    Note:

    "A person who is “to the manner born” is one who has acquired genteel tastes and habits by virtue of having been born into a privileged class: “Rachel is charming at dinner parties—as if she were to the manner born.” This expression is sometimes mistakenly rendered as “to the manor born.” The phrase is from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare." New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, Houghton Mifflin, 2002. (MK)

  • Matsya on April 14, 2007, 1:59 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan fan I appreciate all these kudos on the team. They are playing good cricket now. We have to agree though --cricket wise-- Australia is inits own league. Currently, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and perhaps England all play at the same level.

    But, for giveing hundered-percent and for exhibiting the joy in the game, Sri Lankan team has attracted many supporters. I think they have been very good ambassadors for the country. It is joy to watch Sinhales, Tamils, Moors and Buddhists, Christians, Muslims display the sheer brotherhood in the field.

    Win or lose, in my book, you are winners.

  • Mohan on April 14, 2007, 1:54 GMT

    Pace like fire, thanks for the comments. I don't think there is anything wrong with Indians' diet. Only 30% of the population is vegetarian. And it is not like Sri Lanka has produced an array of fast bowlers. If they have Malinga, Karnataka had Srinath. As for other points like infrastructure, ocrruption etc. I doubt Sri Lanka is any different. That is why I am comparing with SL, not with Australia or NZ who have a different infrastructure etc.

    I don't see how being one country or a union of nations is related though. Whether a region is a single nation or union of nations is a political decision - why should sport bother itself with politics?

  • C on April 14, 2007, 1:51 GMT

    Sameer, I'm quite disturbed by your understanding of crowd support. Yeah true, Indian supporters are extremely enthusiastic about their cricket, but lets not forget the havoc they create as well. Are you forgetting the 96 World Cup semi finals, where your so called 'fans' engaged in severe destruction of the stadium and the match had to be abandoned. Wow, what kind of support is that. If throwing items at the fielding side is considered crowd support according to you, then thats just wrong. Crowd support means sticking by ones' side through the highs and the lows. Indian fans only stick by their side through the highs but through the lows, like the early exit in the recent world cup they turn their backs on the team, and even go to the extreme of destroying the personal property of players (Are you forgetting what happened to Dohni's House). Dude, while your support of Indian cricket is commendable, dont get on here and talk about Indian crowd support as if thats the benchmark around the world...thats absolute rubbish...

  • Shanka on April 14, 2007, 1:46 GMT

    Paul, Why would you have to bring that well-known pointless argument at this stage again. Murali is a chucker????. Are you out of your mind? Do you know the number of medical tests that he has gone through to prove his legality? He can't straight his arm naturally. But dumb heads like you can't even understand that fact proven by the medical exams. We don't need your opinion on Murali's action. Everyone knows that he is as legal as he can ever be, but a group of people like you JUST CAN'T ACCEPT THE TRUTH. I feel sorry for you. Irrespective of what anyone says, Murali has done more than enough to prove his innocence, not to us but to people like you. Try to respect Murali as he is: He was, is and will be a GREAT CRICKETER OF ALL TIME and pointless comments from people like you will never even be able to stop him. GO LIONS-WE CAN WIN THIS WORLD CUP. GOOD LUCK!!!

  • Jason Cahill on April 14, 2007, 1:25 GMT

    sameer seems to be the classical indian fan,delusional,a sore loser and living in the past. Sameer, all those exploits come at home. other than the 1-1 draw against the aussies and the 1-0 victory against the weak west indies,india has done nothing abroad.they havent done much in odi's other. I, and countless others,view sri lanka as a much better team because they are more competetive abroad,even though they gained test status decades later. And Indian crowds are amongst the worst in the world,there s no apprecation for good cricket by the opposition,they leave,burn seats,throw stuff onto the outfield or riot. West indies have intelligent crowd support combined with colourful music.Sri lanka s good too,in that they never stop the music or leave if their team is losing.

  • RSN on April 14, 2007, 1:17 GMT

    Right on about tendulkar! Overall, i think the pitches are appallingly slow and dusty. And considering the 3 other semifinal teams (AUS,SA,NZ)apart from SL, they aren't very good players of spin. I guess SL with its bunch of diddly dodlers and Murali stand more than an outside chance of beating even AUS in the final. but why do you root for SL? Is it because of the strange subcontinental bondage?anti colonist streak?Stockholm syndrome? or that perennial david beating goliath thing???..

  • Hussain Alavi on April 14, 2007, 1:10 GMT

    Sri Lanka have something that none of New Zealand’s six previous opponents could claim: a balanced and incisive attack. Even without the wacky, round-arm pace of Lasith Malinga, whose ankle ligament injury sadly will keep him out for the next fortnight, they still have Vaas’ swing, Dilhara Fernando’s pace and Muttiah Muralidharan’s incomparable mystery spin.

    If Australia’s World Cup balloon is to be burst, one suspects that Muralidharan will be the man wielding the drawing pin.

  • padmal Kolongahapitiya on April 14, 2007, 1:09 GMT

    Paul I don't know why you call Murali a chuker even after many bio-mechanical experts including Prof Bruce Elliott from Uni of W. Aust have proved he does not chuck. According to Prof Elliott's report you can call many of past balling greats chuckers including Lilly & Hadlee if Murali is a chucker. I geuss you are one of million aussies who can't withstand murali's success as a bowler & achievements of SL team. Get over with it. Face the reallity.Stop calling great Muralidharan a chucker as you do not know anything about it. This is one of many reasons why people around the globe hate aust cricket team & fans.

  • Pace Like Fire on April 14, 2007, 0:43 GMT

    After reading very entertaining comment by Mohan, I had to put few points across!

    I agree, places like Karnataka and Bengal can produce Test teams, before that they all should become independent countries or atleast India should redefine itself as a union of nations like English and Scottish nations are part of United Kingdom! After that they can play as Karnataka or Kerala...So decide what you want: Brand India or seperate entities...you cant have both! But remember even if do have 20 Test teams they will be as mediocre as Bangladesh

    Really.... Lets look at the population figures of Three sucessful teams thus far....

    Austaralia 20 Million Sri Lanka 20 Million New Zealand 4 Million

    They all have Genuine Fast bowlers

    Tait bowled a ball at(98.2MPH)earlier in the year Malinga bowled a ball at (97.9MPH) in New Zealand Bond at his best could hit (95 MPH)

    Whereas India, have never produced a genuine fast bowler, even when their bowlers start as fast medium within a year they become medium pacers!Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan,Pathan and Munaf Patel to name a few, only Srinath bowled as a fast Medium bowler throughout his career... Pathetic...... Sort your diet out man....Stop moaning about recources and Genetics....Pakistanis used to have many pacemen and now Sri Lankans have a few...howcome you dont?

    India as a sporting nation is shambolic... in Cricket you cant win abroad .... in Athletics you are light years behind China .....

    Finally, state of Indian statadiums are are a reflection on Indian attitude towards its people where they cramped in like farm animals....Only stadium that is fit for public usage is Mohali...

    Unless the Indian attitude of being subservient changes it will continue to be third rate sporting nation.... Sad state of affairs for such wonderful counrty

  • Yarthav Mathiaparanam on April 14, 2007, 0:01 GMT

    Yes Sri Lankans have stuck to the 3S's(Simplicity,Smile & Sporty) this time and its paying off. I noticed the fact that most other including repsected professionals within the sport did not consider them serious favorites. Little do these pundits realise that Sri Lanka Thrashed england 5-0 in England Drew 1-1 (Tests) In England , Drew 1-1 (Tests)in NZ , Further more Sri Lanka also routed the mistakenly rated South Africans back home in School cricket fashion. Well Sri Lankan hence came into the world cup with lot more confidence than any other team I would say and this is what is contributing to their success. Australia will struggle against them as Australia has not been tested with quality spin bowling and this tests may come at a crucial moment which might de-rail them of their tracks.

  • crickio on April 13, 2007, 23:33 GMT

    Excellent article. Sri Lankans and their bowlers in particular need to be appreciated for a fantastic showing. With the Indian team exiting early we atleast have a team to root for against the mighty Aussies.

  • Muqtada al yada yada on April 13, 2007, 23:25 GMT

    Mukul, you're as transparent as the skin of an old white man. The reason you root for Sri Lanka, whether conscious or subconscious, is racial; the same would apply if Pakistan were the only team left in the tournament.

    In Australia on the other hand, we always go for the underdog, which might be Sri Lanka one year, or might be New Zealand. In fact we'd probably go for anyone other than England and South Africa because they're history is so white.

    Now doesn't that sound like a more spirited basis to determine who you barrack for? Sagacious yogic wisdom would suggest - it's time for the brown boys to forgive the white boys.

    By the way, in Australia you'd be laughed at for saying you root for someone, because the English definition of the term has far more colour and gravitas than any throw away American idiom.

  • Lankan Excile on April 13, 2007, 23:05 GMT

    Stop this nonsense about Sri Lanka cricket. First of all, don't paint a pretty picture about their recent record. They were hammered by the Indians just weeks ago. If you think you have problems in Indian and Pakistani cricket boards, just go through the news articles about the chaos that has been reigning over the Sri Lankan board over the past 12 years (cronyisms, ministers sons ruling the roost, entire boards being thrown away, elections after elections, bribery, scandals etc etc). If you think regionalism was ever a problem in India, go through the Sri Lankan cricket team selection over its history. There are 9 provinces in Sri Lanka. 90% of the cricketers come from ONE province (Western province). Other 10% come from 4 other provinces. The other 4 provinces never had a representation. These provinces don’t even have a first class player. Nepotism is the name of the game when it comes to selection. While a big bellied, lethargic son of a minister just walked into the team on any given day (even his talent-less brothers were given a go) the boy from the Southern village who was by far the fittest and more talented than any of his contemporaries, and could wack the world’s fastest bowler over the point fence on any given day had to wait the for 5 longs years before being given a fair go (thank God he took it with both hands). My sincere apologies dear Lankans, for raining in your parade. This team is riding on the skills of the few players who somehow pushed through many selection barriers to gain a place in the team and took their opportunity with both hands (namely Vaas, Murali and Sanath). When these players are gone, the reality will come back to haunt. Just be prepared.

  • Jagan on April 13, 2007, 22:57 GMT

    An article high on emotions and less on facts.....MUKUL Kesevan has over done on the "WE" part and "WE" totally disagree with this....when India did well last time ard in South Africa everyone shouted from the top that the Wickets are not Typical south african wickets....its slow...this...that....but they were ideal ONE DAY wickets with good bounce, pace and good for batsmen to play their shots...and we decimated the lankan's...this world cup is just an one off game for us and the format didnt allowus to repeat the magic of 2003.the ones in WI for this world cup are slow low dead wickets....and the only type of wickets where the sri lankans know to win, lean alone win, where they can play some decent cricket. It ill be better served if Mukul can touch upon this chink in sri lankan's armour and explain the facts rather than get high on emotions....coming to the AUSTRALIANs......they are the real world beaters, they are too good and the surface and the conditions doesnt matter.........only thing that can stop them from winning the WC is some divine intervention in the form of back luck.....and of course everyone knows who will be on the other side to grab this good luck....SRI LANKANS.......he he he

  • Prashanth on April 13, 2007, 22:35 GMT

    Nice article Mukul but a quick point. Test crowds in Sri Lanka have been ABYSMAL. And I know you enjoy test cricket more. Just thought I would let you know. But yes the one day crowds have been good but have definitely been coming down over the last two years.

  • Ch on April 13, 2007, 22:19 GMT

    Ohh ...for god sake , SAMEER... Grow up... Grow up... Grow up

  • Hemant Gandhi on April 13, 2007, 22:02 GMT

    We root for Sri lanka because they play cricket, and you are right, they play the brand of cricket played by 'Great' WI team.

    Every member of the team contributes, and without much 'hulla gulla'.

    They deserve to win the W.C.

  • Mick on April 13, 2007, 21:57 GMT

    I'm an Aussie and I've been lucky enough to have played cricket at a decent level in Oz, NZ, England, India , SA and Sri Lanka. From my own experiences, I think the 'neutrals' generally tend to support anyone but Australia for two reasons: Australia is No 1 and most neutrals have a tendency to root for the underdogs. Secondly, Australian cricket at all levels (unlike other countries) is played with an aggression and ugliness that is epitomised in the behaviour of their national team. I've played with and against some of these players and I can vouch for the fact that the system they've grown up in encourages them to extoll these virtues of sledging, abuse and ultra-competitiveness.

    Not surprisingly, it may well be the very reason why they are No 1. The talent pool around the world (major cricketing countries) is much the same but the Aussies seem to have that little bit extra when it matters most, fuelled by that little bit of 'mongrel' that they have grown up with since junior cricket. It's called "white line fever" and I think it adequately captures that extra 10% that we tend to find to win big matches.

    That said, I don't think it should be a source of national pride. I'm always embarassed when I play cricket in another part of the world and get reminded of what the rest of my countrymen are like. They expect all Aussies to echo the behaviour of the national team and whilst they admire the winning spirit, it's easy to understand why they might always root for the other side. It pains me to admit that we are much admired but little loved. Everyone wants an Aussie pro in their own team but they hate playing against one and hate supporting one.

    I can see why most neutrals support Sri Lanka in this debate. I think Aust are probably the bookies favourites but the neutral corner will tend to cheer for all-comers vs Aust for the simple fact that we've managed to alienate ourselves from the true spirit of the game. Sometimes winning cricket matches isn't the only measure of success. Winning hearts and minds might be just as important. Ask George Bush!

    Anyone who has played cricket in Aust or played against a typical Aussie will know what I mean - White Line Fever. It wins matches sometimes but you may lose friends too. It's just a matter of what's more important to you as an individual or a nation. Despite being an Aussie, I can understand why we are admired for our winning but loathed for the manner in which we win. Each to their own...

  • Hilal on April 13, 2007, 21:47 GMT

    In response to Mohans statement above of giving india a chance of making 20 world class teams instead of producing one. I ask you this, If India cant produce 1 good cricket team what makes you think you can produce 20 teams out of the billions that already exist? I can clearly tell you that being a Sri Lankan we differ in many ways from the Indians. Sri Lanka is an island we are all 'island people' and that encroaches are easy way of life, portays clearly on the circket field. The only disgruntled, Vicious and revengeful elements in Sri Lanka hail from the south of india from a state called Tamil Nadu.

  • Vik on April 13, 2007, 21:02 GMT

    Jeff - you have it absolutely wrong. Most people from the subcontinent do not support other teams..i.e no racism, being an Indian, I love to see Pakistan lose and hate Sri Lanka, who have Murali who bowled illegally for years, till they changed the rules to accomodate him....i am all for AUSTRALIA, they are the best!!! and I'm brown, so what racism??? You'd be suprised, but most Indians do not support Pakistan or Sri Lanka in a clash with the non-Asian nations...only our boards have to come together to fight against the solid Aus-England-SA-NZ block in the ICC...

  • Sanjay on April 13, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    Sameer, It doesn't really count as crowd support when the very same ppl go and burn down the players houses every time they lose... sorry mate..!

  • Shehan on April 13, 2007, 20:41 GMT

    To Sameer, I do not think Lankan lion was talking about what financial state the Indian players came from but their current view of themselves at this point in life. Since you started talking about how most of the Indian players came from middle class families I assure you that most Sri Lankan players had it the same if not worse. I for one think there are a few batsmen with swollen heads in the Indian*every* team that have stopped playing the game for the love of cricket. That has forgotten where they hail from due to all the money in the bank or other reasons. We are not talking about nor are denying the help given to SL by India in certain difficult times, which I tell you the whole Island nation is thankful. As for India touring SL when no one would, that is because they have nothing to worry about. The LTTE would be risking a lot if they were to bomb the team of the country that contains most of their main supporters. ----------------------------- To all, This world cup deserves to go to Sri Lanka simply due to the Spirit they bring into the game and their never give up attitude. The Aussies too deserve to win it since they too will not give up until the last ball. I will not be that surprised if Bangladesh managed to win either they have been equally as fun and certainly unpredictable as Sri Lanka. -------------------------------------- I support Sri Lanka cause I am Sri Lankan that and my grandmother would have killed me if I didn’t.

  • bo-theju on April 13, 2007, 20:16 GMT

    immi-grant canuk listen. those who know the history knows how madu-galla rep-resent sl. now mahela. his background enable him to play. need a caption who cannot bat/bowl ? change rules to allow 12 man .

  • Bota on April 13, 2007, 20:08 GMT

    Well Well, Sameer is going nuts at the moment.... Others please be kind enough to him, before he blows the whole Cricinfo site

    And Sameer,

    If you want facts here they are,

    ODI team records (win % over all) India placed 6th - 49.11% Sri Lanka placed 7th - 47.22%

    ODI team records (win % Home) Sri Lanka placed 2nd – 71.54% India placed 7th – 56.78%

    ODI team records (win % Away) Sri Lanka placed 6th – 36.02% India placed 7th – 37.22%

    ODI team records (win % Neutral) India placed 6th – 52.72% Sri Lanka placed 8th – 41.79%

    Tests team records (win % over all) Sri Lanka placed 6th - 42.72% India placed 7th - 40.27%

    Tests team records (win % Home) Sri Lanka placed 5th – 60.37% India placed 6th – 56.36%

    Tests team records (win % Away) Sri Lanka placed 6th – 26.78% India placed 7th – 24.32%

    Sri Lanka was considered minnows before 1996 and they have placed them selves in 6th palace in tests above India and 7th in ODI and catching up to Indians.

    With all due respect to the current Indian team, I still prefer the older Indian teams with Azars, Vinod Kamblies, Shasthries, Prasads and etc etc

    Two in the current team from those days (Kumble and Sachin) are the only players who look like they play for their country. Those were great days for the Indian cricket, today its been screwed, I don’t know whom to blame. The victories on those days might not have been great but there was this Indian flavor in cricket they played, its missing since the arrival these new cricketers, true they are talented and great players, but something seems to be missing.

    And one thing more, Sri Lankan cricket is not as good as they say, Politics play a great part in there too. And people also get angry when the team looses, just see few falliers Mahela might loose his captaincy. They are not aggressive as Indians and don’t throw bricks but I think its because they forget easily. Sri Lankans have this quality in their genes, they forget as soon as they loose the match, they sometimes even forget there is a war in the country.

    And about the Sri Lankan fans sameer, Different people have different ways of enjoying themselves, Indians have their own way, likewise Sri Lankans, If you are a true cricket fan you should be able to appreciate each others values and qualities and enjoy. See the English have fancy dresses, Aussies have glued eyes on the ground, Sri Lankans have their bands and songs, Indians have passion and noise, Windies have their big brass bands. It just add colour to the game. Being an Indian, the country with the most cultural diversity, you should be able to appreciate these things.

    Don't stay stupid things and shame your country. You are in the Internet the world is reading your comments.

  • Anjo on April 13, 2007, 19:57 GMT

    Mukul, you are a hypocrite of the highest order. Based on your previous blogs, its easy to see your bias to the Sri Lankans and disdain (bordering hatred) towards the Australians... "Young Uthappa decided to go after the slow-bowling ancient, whacked him for a couple of fours and then swatted another ball (that flat-batted straight hit that modern batting brutes so favour) only to have Vaas catch it with both hands on his follow through. Exit, bewildered youth, sent on his way with a few instructions." So I see, when Vaas does it its "the new west indians" and a "gay cavalier.." approach. We all know what you think of the australians when they give batsman send-offs (when was the last time you saw them do that?)

    "Muralitharan... : like the giggling guru, he just never stops grinning." Murali can afford to grin and giggle all day, he can afford to chuck, chortle and chuckle as well, because the rules of cricket have been bent (pun intended) to accomodate his (and /apparently/ every other bowler's) action. Ever noticed how often Murali bowls in powerplays (or if he does, how many overs he bowls), or how he has (at least) three fielders on the ropes on the onside. Compare that to Warnie...

    "Lasith Malinga's so wonderfully strange they should freeze him in his delivery stride and suspend him in formaldehyde for posterity." No, they should freeze him and throw him out. Underarm bowling was banned for a reason, I really wonder if slinga Malinga ends up bowling with his arm over his shoulder?

    The Sri Lankans are not good sports, they play boring and restrictive cricket when they bowl,(how many test victories do they have abroad, compare that to the Aussies). You want to question my claims for sportsmanship? What happened to Fernando on that (supposed) last delivery against England? Watch the replays carefully, he pulled out of his stride, but kept watching Bopara. When you pull out of your stride normally, you don't watch the batsmen, something has upset you and so you can't complete the delivery. Worse, as he turned around, he was sporting a grin on his face, which he quickly tried to wipe off. I'll never forget the Sri Lankan's appealing for a runout, when the ball clipped the bowlers pants and hit the stumps at the other end, the batsman was Dravid, at Sharjah. There is controversy about a similar decision this time with Jaisurya being the bowler. And they had the audacity to cry foul when McCullum ran out Murali (do you think Gilchrist would ever do that?). The Sri Lankans attempt to sledge every bit as much as the aussies, if they were a bit witty that might work, but as things stand its awful, noisy dribble.

    For a change though, you've been outdone by "Jeff" when it comes to controversy, and he's done it in fewer words (good for you Jeff!). Ranatunga made as racist a comment as anyone about the aussies, but it is McGrath who is conveniently remembered for apparent racism. Why is it that so many cricket fans think Murali is a chucker? I mean there must be something there, isn't it? I would guess around 85% of all cricket fans think he chucks. Chuckers and cheaters don't deserve to be champions.

  • Moo on April 13, 2007, 19:40 GMT

    Lots ... here (i.e.) who believe murali is a chucker and they amended the rules for his benefit. they amended the rules so that glenn mcgrath,shaun pollock,ntini,brett lee,and 99% of all bowlers wouldnt have to retire as their actions are illegal. they all bend their arms more than the previously set limits... case in point= mcgrath 11 degrees.please,intellectually challenged, learn to read and then get yourselves some newspapers before making ill-informed statements.

  • Shia on April 13, 2007, 19:38 GMT

    CALM down people. This is only a game!!!

  • orgwi on April 13, 2007, 19:30 GMT

    Sameer, India is out of the wc, we will see them in 4 years, in the next wc, live with it man.... Let the others continue until the final is played. Sachin is one of greatest batsmen we have ever seen, together with Saurav & Dravid, but what happend to them is up to Cricket India to discuss. So what can I do to bring India back to this series?? They are out out out.... About Dhoni hitting Murali was a great feat by Dhoni, you must have jumped and made the biggest noise to see Murali being hit to all coners, like wise it was a thriller to see Murali taking Dohni 1st ball in this world cup. Some days are happy and some are sad, that's how the world goes... As far as the crowd goes, we all know how Eden Gardens burned down with fire and the game was awarded to sl in the '96 wc. Remember how Kambli went crying.... you think you could be pruod of such events from Indian fans.

  • Poonam on April 13, 2007, 19:28 GMT

    Sameer,

    I know the kind of crowd support you are talking about mate. You are clearly one of those idiotic fans whose idea of crowd support is blasting firecrackers, burning seats, hurling rocks and bottles, burning effigies, burning posters, burning flags and making an utter fool of yourself in our stadiums. It is fans like you that bring shame to all of us normal Indian fans. Bands are not boring. Dancing in the stands is not boring. It is normal and fun.

    Also please stop shaming our team and country by going on and on about India's PAST achievements. You are totally missing the point here. Mukul is discussing Lanka's current form, but you being the ... that you are, keep bringing up statistics from the times my niece was born 10 years ago. Where is the relevance in that to this article mate? Please start some other thread on some other website somewhere for yourself and the other lost souls living in the past. This blog is about the here and now. I think what we all need to do is address India's current problems so that we don't face further humiliation in the future. Retards like you only make our current sinking feeling worse whilst others laugh. So please please puhleeze don't embarrass the rest of us rational Indians living in the here and now and shut up.

  • mohammad bin Laden on April 13, 2007, 19:24 GMT

    Great article Mukul. SL are a fantastic team, without a doubt. Throughout this entire tournament they have showed great consistency. It was thrilling to watch the NZ v SL clash yesterday. I was particularly impressed with the early breathroughs Chaminda Vaas got for the team. All of SL's bowlers impressed me. The batting response was strong in the sense that it got the job done... but I would have preferred to see SL just play their natural batting tecnique - aggresiveness. I was proud of the massive scores that Sangakkara and Jayasuriya put on the board. However, it was disappointing to see them not thrash the ball - it would have been great practice for them as they are preparing for their clash with AUS. I think that SL fans who have criticized Tharanga saying that Attapatu would have been a better option, should just cut him some slack. It was the decesion of those in charge of SLankan cricket to put Tharanga in as opposed to Attapatu - they know best and I think that the best thing to do right now is to just trust their decesion. Now... regarding JEFF's completely uncalled for comments - SLankans, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are all united because they come from similar ethnic backgrounds. Aryans/Dravidian/Sin. etc. We all share this in common, our cultures are extremely common and thus, we are united for all these reasons. It may be difficult for an Aussie (I think you are) to understand this as your culture is completely different from ours. Finally, South Asians have been the victims of racial ridiculing in cricket for many years by whites. Monty Panesar was completely degraded when a bunch of retarded, stupid Aussies called him a "Stupid Indian." Herscehelle Gibbs racially insulted a Pakistani crowd at a match in SA. Now if the crowd were white, would he have yelled at them. The funniest thing about all this is Gibbs and his Daddy both claim that he is not racist. I can go on forever about racism in cricket. Thus, South Asians are united because of their struggle aginst this problem... it's not racism it brotherhood!

  • Michael on April 13, 2007, 19:09 GMT

    Yes, crowd support, like the crowd support in the 96 semi-finals.

    Who beat SL 6-1? India India India. Who beat India in this World Cup? By your logic, the answer to that is India, India, India.

    Also:

    true jayasuriya hit 189 as some one had mentioned...but take jayasuriya out and tell me how many truly aggressive power hitters do you have.

    Not many of the 90+ SR, but how many times have India folded after Tendulkar is dismissed?

  • dhanushka on April 13, 2007, 19:09 GMT

    oh yeah sameer i remember..india crowds know how to burn seats and disrupt the game by throwing stuff to the ground when they are losing...lol

  • dhanushka on April 13, 2007, 19:07 GMT

    Seems like many india supporters are talking with Superiority complex.. India has been in the cricket for a loger time..guess it's hard for many people to accept that currently Sri lanka is doing way better than India..to that matter BD is doing better than india..

    For people who talks about 1999 india trashing SL, also think about 1996 twice..and dont forget the famous win against india in 1975 WC when SL was a minnow.. If you check the SL vs Ind record in WC, sri lanka has the edge..

    India is great playing at home.. sure they did bash SL 6-1 then 2-1 recently... but at SL home they scored 952..

    someone said that SL have not won any tournament out side of SL.. i just have to say.. go check the record..and get it straight..

    The difference from india to SL is that, win or lose we love our players..we will not break down houses or burn effigies..but in india they are heros only if they win.. think about that...

    stop hating and accept the truth..

    Win or lose we are proud of the SL team...

  • Daks on April 13, 2007, 18:55 GMT

    firstly anonymous please do keep supporting South Africa so like India they can keep loosing all the time ( as they both did to Bangladesh) secondly I am an avid Indian cricket team fan when Sri Lanka is not playing in fact Sachin was a real hero in my eyes and still is . the problem is that this article focused initially on the sri lankan team and we had some Indians such as Sameer come in and go on and on about the past days of Indian cricket and how they deserve to be in the super eight still . Instead of arguing how good India is really ( but not really ) why doesn't a country which takes cricket much like a religion come out and voice the need for change instead of pointing at other teams and saying " oh we won against them in 19... and 19...". To Sameer i full agree with your points but was your initial comment really necessary and I don't know where your cock and bull stories are coming from but just cause we from the sub continent doesn't mean we resolve to violence every time we loose a match in fact most Sri Lankans were happy we lost a game cause it leads us not to be to cocky and over confident.As for if we lost in the initial stages as some one else mentioned we watched the rest of the cup and told our boys next time we will win in 1999. We didn't need no extra security over the houses of our cricketers mate. The hardline truth is Sameer how much you try to deny it the Indian team isn't playing cricket anymore its more of a way to get rich and live like kings and if people like yourself choose to ignore it and rather insult other teams so be it but remember you will only have to throw more stones next time as well at sachins house

  • SOUTH ASIAN on April 13, 2007, 18:55 GMT

    I would like to say I am supporting Sri Lanka because they are playing excellent cricket for the last 9 months. Yeah, and I also like them because they are from South Asia, all us nations, Pak, SL, B'desh and us r linked okay, we all like each other apart from a few idiotic Indo-Pak fans.

    The Indian Players have worked hard to get to this stage, ya they failed but they did try. DADA is not trying to become captain, he has said it, heis trying to play good cricket with some lunatics affecting him. Sehwag, he was sent at No. 3 for who, Utthapa, how many runs did Robin score compared to Sehwag who was the leading scorer for us. Yuvraj was brilliant, very unlucky to be run-out in the last match. Dravid tries and tries but as always people always criticise him and never appreciate his efforts. Ya I agree, Sachin and Dhoni failed, but they do not need so much criticism. In a country of 1.1 billion people, you are obviously gong to have a few idiots who r going to burn effigies etc. You cannot get away from that, they should get arrested, but then we are a democracy. I am not supporting them, but we who oppose them should rally against them. Oh yeah, the aussies, english and south africans are fair, right. I feel sorry for Monty Panesar, whenever the ball comes to him, because the crowd always starts shouting, not because of his bowling, because he follows his faith and wears a turban. The man is great and that is why he does not demoralised. I am not saying this is the case for all, but a lot of the English people who SAY they follow cricket don't know what is going on outside the Eng-Aus and SA spectrum. People in England who play cricket say they have not heard of Rahul Dravid! I mean, the world's most technically correct batsman, one of the greatest ever, and they don't know who he is. Actually who cares, because England are not going to be a serious cricketing nation in 10 years.

    This Aussie guy Jeff seems to be forgetting that our board, the BCCI leant the ACB some money last year, so you would think they would be thankful. And he is calling us racist, well pardon me, but were Aus, SA and Eng in power of crikcet until a few years ago. They did not even let any of the OTHER countries do anything, of course now the BCCI is in power.

    And Jeff, these White cricket players threaten to boycott a tour if there has been a blast in one of the Sub-Continental countries but will continue if it happens in the white countries. Theh case in point being the London bombings which took weeks before the 2005 Ashes, but the Aussies did not even mention a word of that, did they? What Hypocrisy.

  • Sameer on April 13, 2007, 18:41 GMT

    Orgwi : Aussies dint win in subcontinent ? SL 2004 -- 3-0 (Yes my son 3-0), India -- 2004 -- (2-1), Bangla (2006, 2-0), Pak (2002, 3-0), who has beaten them in Tests ? India India India India....Who conquered Warne ? Sachin Sachin Sachin. Who beat SL 6-1 ? India India India....

    I hope u get ur facts rt now....

    And sm1 said SL fans make more noise than Carribeans ? Ridiculous...Playing songs on boring bands all the way through the day isnt noise, thats pollution.

    If u want to see the crowd support, come down to India mate, you d understand wot crowd n crowd support means....Come to Eden Gardens, Chepauk, Chinnaswamy, Mohali (music extra) and Wankhede....You d understand how indian team plays and wot the crowd is....Get down to Eden Gardens itself, thats more than Premdasa + Galle + SSC + Dambulla + Sarvamutthu (You know which grnd this is?) + Khettarama * 3 .....Vivek if u r indian n u dont know indian crowds then....

  • Hesg on April 13, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    OMG! Mukul, that was a wonderful article. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe, its either New Zealand or Sri Lanka who can stop the progressive run of these mighty australians in the finals of this world cup!

    I hope it would be the gutsy sri lankans!

  • dheeraj on April 13, 2007, 18:17 GMT

    Sameer i agree with u that India does not deserve all the brickbats coming their way. India biggest problem is that they cannot play under pressure , the series in India showed that India are as good ateam as Srilanka , but the problemis is in their mental profile .I think all asian cricketers especially from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot perform under pressure . Agreed Srilanka is a good team but their batting is very fragile it is too heavily dependent on Jayasuriya . Though i agree their bowling attack is the best in the world mainly because of their variety . It should also be noted that htey heavily rely on seniors Muralitharan, Jayasurya and Vaas. what will happen when they retire ,both Murali and Sanath are irreplaceable .

    I don't understand all this talk about Indians supporting srilanka because they are an asian team . I am an Indian fan and i have two criterias for every match ,support the underdog and support the team playing against Australia purely because cricket needs a new World champion .

  • paul on April 13, 2007, 18:16 GMT

    yeah the sri lankans are a really good team but 1 point that should be raised is that murali is a chucker and is illegally taking wickets. Not fair to the other bowlers and batsman

  • vivek on April 13, 2007, 18:15 GMT

    Vinay.. YOUR SO CALLED HURLING SON IS CALLED A ROUND ARM ACTION... rememer thompson..even now we have Tait .. just not as pronounced as malinga.. fair point why all bowlers just dont bowl with that action.. i will tell you why.. its nearly impoosible to be accurate consistently and if/when you get it wrong you go for runs big time... and also such actions lead to more back injuries and shorter careers.. thats why SL protect him and havent played him always.. he has been in teh circuit for nearly three years now.. it takes immense skill to bowl accurately.. and the action isnt illegal one bit

  • vivek on April 13, 2007, 18:10 GMT

    to Aussie, calm down mate.. he wasnt comparing the west indian teams success to the current sl side.. he was comparing the excitement they bring to the game..they were an entertaining bunch and so are the current sl team... his point of Sl crowds making more noise than the carribean ever did is one that most people know.. this bowling attack is lethal in its own ways and has more variety than that one and i shall also remind you its much harder to get wickets these days with picthes,new guards etc... now for you to call srilanka lucky its absolutely stupid.. how were they lucky?/ they played inda when teh conditions favoured india most.. bowling first on a pitch that swing and seamed for 30 i mean 30 voers in over cast conditions and then getting to bat when the deck evened out.. im sorry india had two bad days and didnt deserve to go through...SL on the other hand didnt lay down like pakistan and old SL teams would when the pitch was offering swing.. they fought and they won...alsmot made the greatest comback in ODI ofrm againts SA and held on to beat england in a match that they shoudl have won comfrotably... Four years ago doesnt matter now does it.. mukul wasnt refrring to the sl team of four years ago.. he was refrring to the team now.. and i will bet my bottom dollar that this team will make it to the final

  • Shiran De Silva on April 13, 2007, 18:09 GMT

    I totally agree to the fact, not only been a Sri Lankan, but it is obvious that when our team plays cricket, they play TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL, for the LOVE OF THE GAME.

    This was highly visible as we made history with Malinga's supernatural bowling in the game against SA, even though we knew we were going to loose that one.

    I think the other asian countries like India and Pakistan lacks this in their team kharisma.

    Our still standing veterans (Sanath, Murali & Vaas) are adding their senior spirit towards the young players that encourages them.

    Cricket World Cup 2007 = *SL* + SPORTING SPIRIT

    ***********GO SL CRIC LIONS - ALL THE WAY*********

  • Vinod on April 13, 2007, 18:09 GMT

    After the Lankans mauled Bangladesh in their group match, the world sat up and took notice. The pundits have all along said the final will be Aus/NZ or Aus/SA. I strongly believe this will be a 1996 repeat: Australia vs Sri Lanka. No matter what happens in their Super 8 encounter vs the Aussies, my money is on Sri Lanka.

    PS: For full disclosure purposes, I used to an ardent Indian cricket fan :)

  • Sam on April 13, 2007, 18:06 GMT

    Vinay bhai, lanka has always had one or 2 bowlers like malinga, with one of them called for it too...And its amazing to see how he attributes to some deformation in his arm since birth and continues to bowl....And on basis of sheer symapthy, he continues to get support..he even managed to get the rule amended so that he can continue to chuck and boowl "within rules"

  • Orgwi on April 13, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    Sri Lankans are doing well and credit goes to their whole team and the back up and supportive staff. They hv invested on Aussies to coach and assist them, which is great to see. Undoubtably Aussies have ruled the cricketing of this era. SL won the wc in 96 with another fellow Aussie Coach(Dav today with BD)last 18 months Tom with Trevor has contributed a lot towards their game plan and even the balance. Most of you think that they will not have fire power on fast green tops and I believe they are much stronger today, with Malinga and Fernando bowling over 145.k and Vasie doing all the magic with his variations. Batting has to improve for sure. But the same thing goes for Australia, whon could not win much in slow turning tracks of the sub continent since mid 90s. Though we call them the word champs, they have not conquesred all coners where cricket is played. Why most teams fear about sl team, is that they can come back faster than they fall and they know how to win from a mere losing or no win situations. This is not tought in circketing books or manuals, it is thru experience and these guys are humble to learn from the greats. Not many nations prefer to learn from others. I still have a feeling that Aussie's will pull a thriller on Monday with these guys. All what we want is a good game of cricket. Never let racism or egoism take this good game away, not even with a ten billion population or single island of 20 million. It's the game that's great no individual can take pride over the game.

  • Prasa on April 13, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    It appears that the "quality of a nations cricket team is inversly propotional to the country's population" I mean China couldn't even qualify... India and pakistan got dropped out early (now they want multiple teams).. and sri lanka and australia have matching teams (almost same population) and New Zealand is the best!!!

    I can't wait to see the cricket team of Vatican city :) and I am sure those bermuda matches were fixed :))

  • Sameer on April 13, 2007, 17:59 GMT

    For Daks : Yes i m a Indian fan and would remain so for obvious reason : its country of my birth, so i wud pitch for it. Same way as you do for Lanka. Tell me one thing, today lanka is winning, so all u Lankan guys out here r happy n moaning India, but if Lanka were to go thru like this phase or say they crash out in Semis, wud u stop supporting Lanka n then start saying some utter nonsense which likes of Mahathir n other so called fans r doing ? If u cant stop supporting Lanka in their tough times, then son i cant stop for India. Few days back we were saying that we would and can beat any team in world, unfortunately we lost. Now u guys r doing the same thing. Lankan fans r hugely potraying their country capable enuf to beat Aussies and wot not (flambuoyance, flair, spirits)....Let me tell u one thing, history remembers the results....Not all this surrogate qualities like who brings cheers, diversity, spirits n all those minty crap words.....I wonder how victory changes the perspective !!!! Few days back Lanka fans were desparate for heads of their cricketers when they lost....Not long ago Jaysuriya s house was attacked too!!!

    For Nuwan : Mate i have accepted that India failed and they dint deserve to be in next stage of the game, but if u understand my point out of ur excitement n with some cool head and w,o getting shock , then u d understand the analysis. And then u d understand how big shock it wud be for all this over optimistic fans of Lanka when they loose to Aussies at least once !!!! And believe me it wud be very difficult to accept the reality shud SL loose....So have realistic expectations....Lanka has found winning ways just now and at the max since last Eng tour, but mate Aussies r way there since 1999 WC....

    All lankan ppl : be balanced as Canuck n Singhe r here....

  • Canuck on April 13, 2007, 17:56 GMT

    BTW, for those SL or NON-SL fans who can't stand Ranjit Fernando's voice/commentary/repetition on Tele, here's a link where "ONE" can vent their frustration.

    http://www.ranjitfernandosucks.blogspot.com/

    Don't know if it would help "ONE" to get rid of the "losinjaraya" (Candy in the mouth) but it's sure to get "ONE" some laughs and "ONE's" frustration out.

    Till I saw on this blog, I never knew he called Bopara Fernando or he called the last ball of the England Innings as a four giving the victory to ENG, before he corrected him self 3 seconds later... What an IDIOT!!

  • sanjay on April 13, 2007, 17:55 GMT

    true jayasuriya hit 189 as some one had mentioned...but take jayasuriya out and tell me how many truly aggressive power hitters do you have.

    Apart from dhoni dont forget sehwag. we all love bashing sehwag for his lack of runs but he is the same batsman who has an average of 51 in tests which is a trade mark of a good batsmen . and jayasuriya has an average of 42. Not that this is to condemn jayasuriya but even in oneday the difference in averages is not significant(33.25 for jayasuriya and 32 for sehwag) And please dont start telling jayasuriya has won matches and sehwag hasnt. Get into the statistics and you will know.

    The point is we love bashing our team and its players when we dont realise that they match up to the best in the world or sometimes emulate them.The fact is that we have a bunch of awesome cricketers who are going through a bad phase. Come on Indians, get back and show that you are the best.

    For Srilankan fans, this wa not to condemn your star batsman but to tell you that we have a team that is as good or better than most of the teams playing out there.

    If Ireland did beat pakistan , that doesnt make them a better team.

    We like pakistan are having a bad phase.

    I was rooting for srilanka but not any more

  • Shi on April 13, 2007, 17:53 GMT

    I am amazed reading ALL the comments. As a Sri Lankan, all I can say is that we are and have always been proud of our Cricket. May the best team of the day win the world cup... and Yes! Sri Lanka has known to be the Best!!!

  • Vinay on April 13, 2007, 17:42 GMT

    It's a good Team and I enjoy watching them. Love to see them bowl and bat. Though I do not understand the admiration for Lasith Malinga. The guy CLEARLY HURLS the ball, at the stumps, and not one official, player, umpire or reporter has to say any thing. It's not a bowling action and the HURLING is as good as THROWING or CHUCKING. I guess bowlers who follow the bowling action are all NUTS, they should start HURLING the bowl, or start using the BASEBALL pitching action now...

  • Ada Sarabhai on April 13, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    One thing one should point out that a team where there is a mix of "old-Jaysurya" and "new-Malanga", and a good balance of allrounders, bowlers and batsmen with excellent fielders. What else do you need ? An excellent coach, Team Spirit, Great capatain !!!

    Overall "Excellent Fit" From ASIA. GO Lankans Go, we are with you.

  • Kato on April 13, 2007, 17:31 GMT

    Well Sri Lanka is doing well. The author of the article talks a lot about the happy faces.. the real deal is that the Sri Lankans are masking the professional approach with the natural flare and smile on their faces. The difference in the SL squad apart from the natural talent is their character. They have grown emensely relative to their mental strength resulting in the approach and the attitude being extremely proffessional.

    I don't think beating NZ was a great feat as I never rated the NZ team very highly. The real tests were and are the SA and Aussies. Against SA they came very close albeit with individual brilliance from Malinga. They need a more complete performance against the Aussies.

    SL can win the cup against all odds if they select the right combination for the conditions in the final ( yes I am pretty sure they will make the finals) and maybe go with Marven either as an opener or in place of Arnald at number 6.

    For all those who have a problem with the article... just try to read it as an appreciation of a performance or series of performances. The folks who are nutrals enjoy reading it as it truely does reflect the form of a team and it has been written in almost poetic like fashion.

    One last comment... Sky sports or who ever is emplying Ranjith Fernando... please get rid of him. He is a pain to listen to .. has no original thoughts... states the obvious and down right boring!

  • anonymus on April 13, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    hey daks,

    the point sameer i making is that you srilankans when you got kicket did not recive the same kind of taunting from Indian fans in 1999. And look carefully at what he has written about the support you people got when others refused to tour you and the support your spin wizard got when he was termed a chucking, throwing cricketer who bowls

    I honestly wanted south africa or srilanka to win for all good reasons. But ater seeing this kind of comments from various people , I would strongly root for south africa.

  • Don on April 13, 2007, 17:20 GMT

    A very entertaining and well written article! I think Mukul has hit the nail on the head there! I'd also like to concur with Desmond in terms of the man of the match award. Having seen Styris questioning why a delivery was not a wide when he clearly knew that he had got bat on it was absolutely disgusting and the epitomy of dishonesty! Hopefully SL can go the distance in this tournament!

  • Singhe on April 13, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    Sameer, take it easy. You don’t have to dig into past and bring up all the fact and figures to prove that Indian team is a good team. We accept that India is a good team. Sachin, Saurav and Dravid are great cricketers and I’m sure all the other cricketers in the team have put lot of hard work to get into the Indian team. But the bottom line is they are not performing well as a unit. That’s why they are out of the world cup.

    You don’t have to remind Sri Lankan supporters about how India supported Sri Lanka to develop it’s cricket and during all the Murali trouble. We are not a ungrateful bunch. That’s why most of the Sri Lankan support India when Sri Lanka is not playing. Like you said millions of Indians and Sri Lankans forget there worries by watching cricket. But we always have to remember it’s just a another game. You have to accept defeat gracefully and get on with life without winging about it and give due respect to the winning team.

  • Dr Mahathir on April 13, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    What a team...Sri Lanka should qualify for the semis. They are the only Asian team with the strong opening bats, steady middle order and lower order that may seem fragile but the heart to go there and play the type of cricket that India has failed miserably to do. I am dissapointed that Indians are still talking of the team that was never there in the first place. Get rid of all these old guards that have failed and should only be involved in Bollywood and not in the centre, The SL boys do not have to contend with all this arrogance that the so called superstars have. I saw and met them in KL and what a load of shit they were. They think that endorsements and money is more important than the game. The shitbags that they are is terrible and they are no way ambassadors of India. I am sad that the general Indian has been hoodwinked to believe that these arrogant pieces of shit who are underperformers are GODS The SriLankans are real cricketers and rational people who are not spoilt and are technically superior. Look at the bowling attack..their fielding...sheer determination...batting down the order. The sheer gusto to want to win, the team gelling as a unit and the humility of Jayasuriya, the mind of Jeyawardene, the sharp tongue of Sangakara, the bohemian attitude of Malinga, the crisp runup of Vaas, the eyes and determination of Murali and the hunger of Chamara, Dilshan and Fernando....All this means that that is is indeed a pleasure and excitement that at least when India fails miserably I know that I can still enjoy and stay up late at night to watch cricket and have a good night later. India Wake up and Support Sri Lanka as you have failed all of us.

  • Canuck on April 13, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Just couple of notes... First about Marvan not playing. I agree he is definitely an awsome batsman, elegant steady and all that. But I am sure the management knows what's best for the team right now. In other words, why mess up a good thing..? We are not loosing 2-3 matches in a row to panic, are we? Besides, the point that he was injured and has been out of action for a while, not to mention the age factor may be a combination of reasons for him not being there. If he is to me included I would rather see him come in place of Russel Arnold. True Russel has the bowling, but I havem't seen him being used that often or at all in some games. So if Marvan was to come a bit lower, he can hold the lowerd middle order, if a collapse happen. Let's leave Tharanga alone and allow him to gather experience before he shows what he can do. I am pretty sure his name has come up after his extremely slow pace of batting against England.... But let's have patience and not mess with a winning combination. By the way to call him the best SL has produced in batting is a discredit to Aravinda de Silva, in my opinion the best Sri Lanka has produced. He did it in both versions of the game Test and ODI, batting and bowling. He was technically correct when he had to be but was able to attack with a slodger's ability when needed!

    As per my previous post already a few Indian fans are not amused by some of the Sri Lankan’s comments about their state of the game which are borderline FLAMES. While many of us bring India to the conversation hoping for positive results, few have turned them to bashing, which I cannot agree on. I just hope Indian fans don’t take all of us Sri Lankans as flamers, and forgive the few minorities who do so.

    Also no way can this current SL team be compared to the awesome WI teams of Lloyds, Richards, Roberts, Grenidge etc. But I think the author was comparing the free spirit of their game and oneness of the team that was obvious.

    To BOTEJU, First of all release the Caps lock on your keyboard… it gives the rest of us a headache trying to read your post, no matter how silly it is. You are questioning about a player who just won the Captain of the year award few months ago, and many still regard his leadership on the current tournament the most innovative to say the least (he was the first to delay the power plays till late into 35 overs or so). He also showed his batting when we needed someone to guide us against England. He also holds the highest test score by any Sri Lankan player. He speaks and represents the country and team well, and knowing how to use the tools and players you have is what makes a Captain. To compare him to Madugalle or any other past captains doesn’t make any sense. Please back your point with some hard facts, or else it will show that you are slinging mud for personal reasons. Arjuna was a leader who showed it on the field… brash. loud, cocky and somewhat arrogant. Marvan was quiet, sensible with a laid back approach. Mahela is a combination of both, knowing when to be loud, and when to be calm under pressure and leand his team. Let’ snot even talk about field placing and using the changing of bowlers to the maximum effect, because I don’t believe BOTEJU has any idea of it. So even though you are a Sri Lankan like me, I beg to differ with you!

  • Michael on April 13, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    There seems to be some disparagement in the comments regarding Sri Lanka's performance against India.

    Someone mentioned that Murali has never performed well against India. Fair enough, but he did take three wickets in the game against India, and his best figures are 7/30 - against India.

    Someone mentioned Dhoni blitzed his way to 183 against SL. Fair enough, but Jayasuria blitzed his way to 189 - against India. And this without hair!

    Someone will inevitably mention the heavy defeats India inflicted upon SL in the 99 and 03 World Cups. Fair enough, but SL inflicted a pretty heavy defeat on India by dismissing them for 54 and winning by 245 runs, in the same game that Jayasuria scored 189. The only higher margins of victory are by an established team (Australia/India) vs. a minnow team (Namibia/Bermuda).

  • Anonymous on April 13, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    Great word sameer ...way to go.. i fully support you.

  • Shekhar on April 13, 2007, 17:06 GMT

    SL is in very good form just like India was in 2003. I can see a very distinct comparison. Aus are as good as always. The only way Aus can loose is if they enter the final against SL and SL score around 260+ for then Aus batting would be truely tested against Vass/Murali and company. But if say Aus bat first and score 260+ then no way in the world will SL be able to chase that as Aus will defend it. Moreever remember that SL has struggled to win match against a weak bowling NZ attack chasing 220 odd. The Aus Sl game on 16 th would be a good gauge to see what happens.

  • Jamie Dowling on April 13, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Love this article. Proves the adage "If you're good enough, you're old enough" works both ways. Hell, I loved watching the annihilation we got in the one day series here in England last year. We know Sanath's strengths but we still bowled to them and duly paid. Good to see praise for Chaminda Vaas too, as fine a left arm swing bowler as there has been.

    Dare I say the Sri Lankans embody the Spirit of Cricket more than any of the test playing nations? I for one will be happier if the Sri Lankans win the World Cup than the Australians.

  • Perera on April 13, 2007, 17:02 GMT

    I respect India and every other country to the extent that they deserve. Nationalism is just a curse to the game.

  • Dhar N. Prabhakar on April 13, 2007, 17:00 GMT

    I watched Sri Lanka beat West Indies at the Providence Stadium in Guyana. I also watched the exciting cricket they played against South Africa although they lost by two runs.

    I am from India , but I will back Sri Lanka all the way, just because they are a fighting, never give up type of players.

    Good Luck to Murali (I do not care what the Aussies say, he does not throw), Malinga, Vaas and the rest of the fighters.

  • Daks on April 13, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    Sameer one big reason i feel that there is a lot of taunting at the indian team is in my opinion cause people like you who are die hard indian fans cant stop boasting not during the match but 3 or 4 days ahead as well on how "u will destroy the other team". I watched the match with about 20 indians all who constantly put the Sri Lankam team down for about 3 days before the game and boasted like the indian team were gods pre game. We Sri Lankans quietly watched praising every wicket that went of india of course ( which went very quickly by the way ;) ). The taunting now of your team now is how do u put it in india oh thats right karma . So instead of trying to find faults in the Sri Lankan team and arguing like the Indian team is still perfect go and actually try making a team that will get you through to the super eights next time like Sri Lanka did when they were kicked out in 1999

  • Nuwan on April 13, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    Dear Sameer,

    As Riyas pointed out, there is no word "alle" in any language that Sangakkara or any other Lankan player would speak. I will put your ignorance to rest. What Sangakkara is saying is "allanne" which means "catch" in Sinhalese. It sounds like "alle" when he screams it out as the ball is skied by an opposition batsman.

    Once again as Riyas said, why the hell would he want to sledge the opposition with a language they wouldn't even understand?? You are an ignorant fool who is just seeing red after an unsuccessful campaign for India. You must have heard the word "allanna" several times in that fateful match and taken it to be sledging. That my friend is something you assumed in your tiny mind. I was also very sad that India and Pakistan crashed out of the world cup because I am a big fan of subcontinental teams. I would have loved to see them also progress, but they truly weren't good enough during this edition of the world cup. I am sure they will do much better in the next one.

    In the mean time, you clear out your tiny head and work on trying to free up a little more space in there to absorb some real cricket analysis. Then it might not short-circuit too much in an almost drunken-like rage.

  • Mohan on April 13, 2007, 16:42 GMT

    dhanushka/chanaka: I think it is a mistake to take just the result of couple of world cup matches and conclude that India is a crap team. Sure, it is not a world-beating side like Australia, but it was ranked #2 recently. Point is, currently the requirement is for one team out of one billion and that is what the system is producing. If the requirement changes to one team per each state, there is no reason why it can't be produced. Unless you have some explanation for why Sri Lanka with 20 million population can produce a test team and Karnataka with 50 million can't. I am not belittling any team or bragging about India. However it is a fact that for the size and population of India having just one team is way under representation. I would urge everyone to think objectively with a cool mind rather than responding in anger.

  • raghu on April 13, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    Nice to see such an appreciation for srilanka but like always we are people who get carried away with one teams bad day...yes you heard it.... one bad day.....If srilanka are so good what could have been the possible reasons they got routed in india not just before the world cup but also the last time they came here(remember dhoni and his 183). They are playing good cricket this world cup but India played much better cricket last world cup. I cant think of a close game india had like the srilankans who scraped through.

    Mukul, lets get clear what we are talking about..Is it the sheer ability to win games and make a statement that the srilankan team is better. If so they should have won in India. Its just one bad day and all sorts of blogs and forums have started springing up.

    If you are talking about the excitement they bring then why havent the games been sellouts like India pakistan which was supposed to happenif they had been in the tournament. I agree its wrong to term the world cup boring just because both India and pakistan are out but then it also wrong to over estimate a team like srilanka compare them to west indies of 80s in whatever terms you might be meaning.

    Dont forget they had close games against england and barely scraped through and lost against south africa.. Not that they have been totally commanding. And whether you like it or not they dont have the pressure of a billion people which can be nerve breaking and can impact the performance.They dont get threatning calls ,have their effigies burnt or their residences vandalised if they lose and that is why they enjoy. . You need to look into a lot of factors before you make assessments and comparisons.

    U spoke of Uthappa, well it is the same lad who was swatting fours and sixes when westindies came. Honestly this looks a totally biased argument you have put through.

    Take my word, the same Indian team is going to come back and come back stronger

  • anand on April 13, 2007, 16:36 GMT

    Mohan's comments are the funniest pie in the sky comments ever. No need to respond to that idiocy. Probably one reason we like Sri Lanka is er. they have the same skin color as us. Though their unorthodoxy is a brilliant sight. But I feel people like to chip away Aussie's greatness by saying they are machinelike, arrogant etc. They show the pinnacle of cricket, they have singlehandedly raised the bars of cricket. Cricketers before had it too easy. No great sporting nations like USA, Russia play the game. So we never saw what a team of supremely fit and gifted athletes can do before the Aussies. Now ICC wants to spread the game. Where will Indians be if they see the ball delivered from a height of 7 feet from the hands of an African American at ferocious pace, catches being caught like baseball and players hitting home runs (or sixes) like Barry (Steroid) Bond.

  • aj on April 13, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    Mr Kesavan

    It is always easy to sing paens about a winning army. This was pretty much the same team which was THRASHED 6-1 by India less than a year ago (with pretty much the same players). Jayasuriya was the one who hung up his gloves (temperorily) because he was the atlas back then. The series in India was the last straw on that camel's back. Murali has never been effective against Indians. Vaas was probably the only consistent performer.

    Of course this is not to take any credit away from the SL team which has come together so nicely and fortuitously in this WC. But before you wax eloquent and rhapsodize about a team which is at best consistent (on average mediocre), remember Australia is the top dog in this sport right now. There may be nothing poetic about the Aussies, but they get results. By god, they do.

  • Karthik S on April 13, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    Well said about the Lankan flair. Not just that but Sri Lanka also, in many ways, carry sub-continental cricketing traits - flat track bullies and young batsmen brought up on flat or spinning domestic pitches. Yet Sri Lanka have played competitively in seaming pitches here and have fast bowlers that are truly fast - it tells us fans from the subcontinent that it is possible to adapt and Sri Lanka have shown that...Team India listening?

  • Norbert Perera on April 13, 2007, 16:17 GMT

    The reason we root for Sri Lanka. May be there is a hanging meaning of this sentence. Anyway, Sri Lankan cricketers with in a very short time bacame world's best cricketing nation in modern day. They are still holding test cricket and ODI records. Highest Test totals, ODI totals. They are the first cricketing country who introduced first 15 overs (ODI) batsmen are attacking to ballers over the top and getting runs as fast as fast. Forty years back Olympic, World champain India now no one talk about Hockey in India. Now, any one wants to talk about cricket they can talk of cricket they can say Sri Lanka like Brazil in Soccer. Hats of Sri Lanka. Thanks God Sri Lanka playing cricket by ball and bat not by news papers, magazines and televisions.

  • Sameer on April 13, 2007, 16:06 GMT

    Stop damning Indians...India isnt a bad country and let me not get into useless political debates. Stick to the cricket issues. And let me correct Lankan "distorted " views about Indian cricketers. Indian cricketers are not born stars. They have worked their way out and as my dear Lankan fans cited examples of how Ranatungas, DeSilvas, Muralis, Jaisuriyas and all the stars came through school, club cricket, same s for India team too.

    Do you know how Sachin rose to this level of greatness ? By sheer determination and hard work. He was a gifted from birth, but then his talent had to be harnessed. This job was done by his coach Ramakant Achrekar. In Mumbai Achrekar would take Sachin along to different grounds to get him some batting practise on his scooter. Mind you Tendulkar was born in a typical Indian middle class family with values common in every Indian middle class household which Mukul sir and other fellow country men would agree too. It was Tendulkar s determination and "workaholic" ethic that saw him succeed in international cricket.

    Indian skipper Rahul Dravid,, another middle class fellow came good. Same thing -- determination, hard work and concentration.

    What do you think the likes of Kaif, Pathan, Harbhajan, Sehwag are all rich fellows by birth ? Nope, they hail from very ordinary families. SOme one pointed that SL should win cos they have diversity and wot not, if that is the criterion than no other team shud win anything in world cricket but India. No other team is as diverse as India. Agree or not ? There are guys from small cities like UP, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand. Gone are the times when guys from Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore used to rule. They still find places, but guys from small cities make it too,

    Yu guys talk abt money getting to Indian stars head. Let me quote you the example of irfan pathan. He is son of a Muslim priest (I am sorry i dont know exact word for this), he lived in one room house besides the mosque where his father worked with entire family. He came up with sheer hard work. And when he got some success, rightly he moved his family to a better house. Who would not do this ? You would do it, i would do it, then why blame this cricketers ?

    Harbhajan comes from a poor family too, in 2000 he was the sole earning member of his family when his father passed away, his cricket career was going nowhere, he was rash and indisciplined, he was thrown out of NCA. Saurav Ganguly fought for him and got him to the 2001 Aussie series and the rest is history.

    Sehwag -- we all love to bash him, for his lack of runs. He comes from outskirts of delhi, he worked hard too. Same stories for Kaif, Anil Kumble and Mahi Dhoni. Dhoni s long hair style is not a fashion symbol or "cricket gone in his head", he still lives in the same flat / house from where he rose.

    Mohd Azharuddin, he used to go to the ground on cycle with his entire kit when he broke on the int'l scene in 1984. Kapil Dev dint had money to buy his first cricket kit to go to his first maiden tour . Then an Indian veteran actor Pran helped him out with money.

    Point to tell : One exit from world cup doesnt make India a bad team. I feel Indian cricket team is incredible for wot they go thru after every defeat, still they come back and get their act together. This is Indian spirit. We struggle for our basic needs, have so many frustations with society, government etc etc. Every Indian state is so diff from other, there is huge north south divide, but one thing ties every true Indian fan together and that is CRICKET. When we see our lads winning in the game, we feel happy and forget our worries -- which are common to Lanka too (Terrorism is one such thing). When Indians win we forget that we have to go to the office and face some moron boss there, we stop worrying about every damn thing in the world and cheer for our heroes. But when India looses, a hell breaks out which is not good. Totally unfair.

    So for you all Lankan fans, i hope this clears the air and misconcepts about "big headed" Indian cricketers. Why do u forget that India was one team which helped Lanka a great deal in its nascent stage of Test cricket. In 1996 when WI and Aus refused to tour SL on security issues, which team(s) came fwd to help Lanka and win the confidence of Lankan public. Which country fought for improving tht throwing law when Muralidharan was called for throwing. India, so be grateful to it rather than damning it or teaching us some lessons. When India used to play Test cricket in 1960s and 1970s Lanka (CEYLON) were getting their "A tours " to India and many teams from Lanka played in Madaras cricket club s local tournaments. All in all India helped Lanka gain test status and though they played their first test against England, India was the 1st country to tour Lanka in 1985. And then whenever there were security issues and teams used to flee, Indian teams used to come and play the cricket to restore the confidence back.

    Most recently in 2006 when SA fled, India stayed back and had it not been rain interruptions then we wud hv had a full series. Put aside the win-loss record, which team almost tours every year to your country -- India...And irnoically Muralidharan -- your greatest bowler has Indian roots somewhere in Tamil Nadu and he has got an Indian wife (Madhermalai) and he got married in Chennai itself. Arjuna Ranatunga -- your father figure for cricket who xformed Lanka from a minnow to today s status , gets most of his media commitments in India and for tht matter Joker Ranjith Fernando too. And the article which has won hearts of so many of you guys is an Indian too.

    So my dear Lanka fans and brothers, stop damning India and its cricketers. We dint show this kind of attitude when you guys were knocked out in 1999 as defending champions. Did we ?

  • lankan lion on April 13, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    dear sameer.......... firstly..do u know the meaning of alle?? I doubt u do..n assuming u don’t then hw can u say its sledging????? Even if hes sayin it ,, hw can it be sledging cz no one else except our guys understand it….Please don’t talk without knowing ur facts my frend….accept reality brother........ SRI LANKA BEAT INDIA .........and INDIA ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP.....n pls dont insult sanath arjuna or aravinda......... theyv all done sumthng that none of ur present cricketers have ever managed to do ......THEY WON A WORLD CUP......sanath became the man of the world cup, aravinda the man of the final and arjuna lifted the cup….n wit Gods blessings the present boys win another one this year.......y talk about sanath when saurav was infamously thrown out????? And my friend don’t discredit muttiah muralidharan…. Like all bowlers he has off days bt don’t let ur imagination run by thinking tht Indians have bashed him through out his entire career…read sum cricket stats n ull know wat im talking about…url r always talkin about ur past records....... this is why u guys will never go far in big competitions... ull rest on ur laurels .... brother listen to this.......when u beat australia in india and then drew in aus there was no glenn mcgarth on both occasions and warne wasn there on one occasion... if they were there i doubt u would have won those matches...u n i both know dat cz we all saw when both of them were there wat they did to ull in india......n also im nt taking nethng away frm saurav or sachin or nebody... i really admire and respect them as cricketers and individuals...theyr records say it all…bt face the truth brother...tell me a final where theyv performed???? or fr dat matter tell me a crunch crunch match where india have peaked.... im sure theres a been a few odd matches but majority of the time u n i both know what has happened... ill give a few examples….1996 world cup semi, 2003 WC final, remember the independence cup finals n the coca cola trophy finals in sharjah…. Eveytime India has lost and 90% of ur key players failed brother…face facts my friend......n dont bring discredit to a small nation of 20 million gallant people that has been going thru war and economic crisis for the last 25 years.....still our little people manage to enjoy life and live to the fullest with a smile on their faces all the time....and manage to produce world feared respected and revered cricketers who perform when the going gets tough and who do so with the utmost sportsmanship and also with a smile on their faces…..... and this what 1 billion of ull have not been able to do.... so dn be jealous of one indian whos giving credit to a team dats performing wonderfully well.....instead give credit where it is due my friend..cz us lankans have earned it and not bought it.......”losers always whine about doing their best, while winners …..” I hope u know the rest cz I dnt wana print it…..

    oh on one more thing…. Throw that idiot mohan out of here….. is he crazy about wanting to enter 20 teams from India…. BEFORE PRODUCING 20 …TRY N PRODUCE 1 CAPABLE OF WINING IT….

  • BOTEJU on April 13, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    WHY ON EARTH MAHELA IS IN ? HE HAS NO TALENT. SAME LIKE MADUGALLE . DROP MAHELA AND ANORTHER ALROUNDER. HE IS RIDING ON OTHERS.

  • Singhe on April 13, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    Ohhh , poor Sameer, don’t get so hyped up. It’s just a game. We know it hurts when your team is knocked out of world cup. But that happens to even great teams. Look what has happened to West Indies. Even Sri Lanka didn’t qualify for the supper sixes in 1999 after wining the world cup in 1996, but Sri Lankan supporters took it pretty well, they didn’t throw stones at players houses, they didn’t burn effigies of players and run riots in the country. So I think Sri Lankan supporters now how to appreciate a good game of cricket.

    Australia have raised cricket to a new level. We have to appreciate there commitment and talent. But I personally don’t like their attitude of wining at any cost. I think most of the readers will agree with me.

    So let’s give the due credit to the Sri Lankan team for their effort.

  • Prashant Raj on April 13, 2007, 15:33 GMT

    Finally you seem to have it right! Mukul though comparing with West Indies of eighties is uncalled for. In addition, not to take away anything from the three legends, the revival of Sri Lankan cricket should also go to Mahela and Moody. I think Mahela's captaincy and Moody's strategies are bulls eye. Some instances like holding Murali off until the 30th over and using him in the death is an excellent move, not falling for past records (Marvan) and trusting current form and conditions is another one. No tinkering with the batting order even when you know that you don't have flashy hitters in the middle and lower middle order (not moving down Jayasurya for stability or pinch hitting).

    I love Sri Lankan cricket for they purely follow the KISS formulae (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID), Bowlers - bowl straight and onto the wicket even the new kids on the block knew that, Batsmen - run faster, fielders - catch and stop everything.

    This is where India ;( missed it completely, Sorry I had bring them in for thy love my country.

    Tinkering with the batting order - Sachin Relying on past records - Sehwag, Bhajji Best bowler not being used - Kumble on bench Fielding - Let not even go there Bowling wasn't that bad, except for Agarkar, having played international cricket for 12 years now and should know that when there isn't much happening with the pitch and you don't have any talent (variations), just bowl wicket to wicket.

    Lastly, in my view Arvinda de Silva was the greatest SL cricketer.

  • Azhar on April 13, 2007, 15:31 GMT

    I am a pakistani rooting for SL simply because i also would like a sub continent team to win it all and SL is the only team left that has the potential of winning it all. They are peaking at the right time and hopefully will beat the ... aussies in either the semis or the final. We all know outside of australia who the racists are. Above link proves that about darren lehman, dean jones and others. They are the most arrogant team in the world and they look down on everyone. I hate the australian team and would love it if they dont win this WC at all. I am looking forward to AUS vs SL match next week. NZ was beating all the weak teams so far until they played SL yesterday and they got beat big time. I dont think NZ is upto the level of australia yet or even SL. They beat the aussies in NZ before the WC because AUS didn't have ponting, mcgrath and lee. Mr jeff, you are really an idiot and racist too. Just because people from sub continent are supporting a sub continent team doesn't mean they are against the whites or australians. Why dont you come back and prove your point. Also prove how the aussies are not racist when it clearly shows in the above articles what they have done so far. I hope australia doesn't win the WC this time. We all pray for SL to beat the arrogant aussies and knock them out of the WC. GO SL GO.

  • Chanuka on April 13, 2007, 15:27 GMT

    Mohan,

    You have a team an indian team with serious psychological issues that is struggling to compete as it is, and you want to give test status to more than one team? India has a big bearing on world cricket, its where the money is! everyone knows that, and even if you feel that you would produce about 20 test quality teams, you simply cannot do that. Fix your domestic competition first!

    Im confident that every single state team in Australia if given test status will absolutely dominate cricket just like the australian team.. should they be given test status based on ability? doing so would be just as ridiculous as giving test status based on population!

    The australian system works so well because of the strength of the domestic competition which involves the level of coaching from a very young age. So a domestic player like brad hodge, phil jaques etc etc can integrate seamlessly from domestic to international level due to the systems in place. To say that each state in india needs test status is an absolute joke!

    And for those who are whining about the Sri lankan team being compared to the west indies team of the 80s are completly missing the authors point! he's not trying to say that the sri lankans are on par with the great windies teams in terms of ability.. What he is saying is that they are similar to the windies in the sence of that carefree, embracing or unorthodoxy and pure enjoyment of cricket that a lot of teams lack!

    Jayasuriya and Murali still play the game with a youthful exhuberance that seems like it was the first time theyve ever played the game. And that is rubbing off on the entire team.. They are truly a joy to watch and all the best to them.

    A lot of you dont have the patience to read an article for what it is. before you jump on the critical bandwagon, step back and think a bit.

  • Radee on April 13, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    "Terry Gonsalves: Will Sri Lanka produce a successor to "King Chuck" who should be competing in the Olympics as a javelin thrower, rather than in the World Cup of cricket. Shame on the ICC for allowing this to continue." Excuse me???? Murali has been cleared by every one who has examined him. Who are u 2 tell the ICC what to do? Are u a doctor or a great bowler to judge???? People like u are the ones who can’t handle the great talent that comes from the sub continent people who always want to put the Asians down For your information YES Sri Lanka will produce another king of spin and he too like murali will dominate. But no one will ever be better than the great murali!!!

  • Canuck on April 13, 2007, 15:08 GMT

    First things first… I am a Sri Lankan living in North America, and I support my team, Sri Lanka, no secret about it. Now that we got that out of the way, I’ll put my 2 cents in to this mix of reactions to an article by Mukul I really enjoyed reading (yes, yes, I know I am Sri Lankan so I loved it… so sue me!) I don’t know if I should waste the reader’s and my time by replying to Jeff and other’s racism issues, simply because the whole world is aware who is and who isn’t. Jeff is a cat calling the kettle black kinda guy who wants to stir the pot, walk away and laugh. If not by now he would have replied and defended his theories. However I would like to point out to Jeff anther reason why almost everyone wants Aussies to not win this tournament… simply because they are on top right now. There’s something special about rooting for the underdogs beating the mighty, which makes human beings happy. Add to that the universally acknowledged fact of Aussies being sledgers/ with bad behaviours etc. and rooting against them makes it that much easier. This is true in any sports… No one likes when Tiger Woods wins 5-6 tournaments in a row. No one cheers for Yankees to win anymore (well.. except may be the New Yorkers) and if the much loved Sri Lanka wins 2 or more world cups in a row, I can assure you that this love affair they have with the public, would disappear in a second… That’s just human behaviour and a reality I hope Jeff & co. would try to understand.

    Now, a bit of advice to some of my fellow Sri Lankan supporters.. especially the one who wrote on a different blog, the reason we should win is because of the diversity of different ethnic and religious groups represented in the SL team (he went on to name the whole team broken into religious and ethnic groups). Come on guy… all that’s good in the peace and harmony scheme of things, but you really believe that’s why a team should win a cup? I will even dare say we shouldn’t win just because we smile and entertain the people who watch the game. We should win because we have the best team on the given day or the tournament, with all aspects of the game firing on all cylinders, (team unity, good captaincy, support from big names, newcomers stepping up etc.etc.) which is what’s happening with SL team right now. Everything else is icing on the cake, the smiles, the celebrations are what people like to see and make non-SL want to root for us. So let’s realize this and let the team do the talking before we open our mouths and look like a bunch of fools!

    Desmond touched a very god point about the selection of the man of the match and what sportsmanship stands for. I fully agree and I think Vass was deserving for that reason alone. I believe he had 2 decisions go against him that were close or plum, but unlike Styris’s who seems to be learning from their neighbour Aussies about a thing or two about talking back to the Ump, Vass just went about his business and let his bowling do the talking. Unfortunately as of late New Zealand has been resorting to such antics which will only bring them to the bad boys of Cricket, Aussies. Anyone remember the run out they got off Murali when NZ were assured of the win(yes our boy was stupid to walk away before the ball was dead, but sportsmanship comes into play only in such situations doesn’t it)?

    India and Pakistan has to learn from their neighbours SL and Bangladesh simply by changing the attitudes of their senior star players. Anyone who knows the history of SL cricket knows that not long ago we had this same exact issue. Most of the players who played in the national side were from Schools and Clubs from the Capitol, Colombo. It all changed during Arjuna’s era when players like Sanath who were no names in domestic scene, but with huge talent were discovered and given a chance. SL team used to be dominated by well connected players from the Colombo’s socialite crowd (does this remind the Indians of their current team selections..?) but not anymore. Except for a few most are from the rural cities and in the team for their abilities and not because who they know in the selection committee. That was the attitude change SL needed and they nurtured it for years to be where they are today. As much as we hate Ausssies for their attitude, no one can take the credit away from them for changing the way cricketers were trained and nurtured. Most of SL fast bowlers learnt their basics @ Dennis Lillie coaching clinics. Same goes to fielding and other aspects of the game, all of which took a lot of dedication, effort and patience. India needs this patience to get back to its’ past glory and though they may have better individual talent than most teams, that amounts to nothing in a team sport. Aussies, NZ and SL have proven this with their track record and on field display. As Sri Lankans we want India and Pakistan to do well, but they first have to admit their faults before trying to fix them (and not put the blame else where).

    I still believe the team to beat in this tournament is Aussies, and Sri Lanka will find out how they match up against them this coming Monday, just like New Zealand found out where they stand after meeting us yesterday. AUS, SL and NZ will be in the final 4, and as much as I want SA to be there, I think if England can get in there, it would do wonders for their game back home (not to mention an easier opponent for SL should they line up in the semis). Either way no one can argue that the best 4 teams will come up the ladder and deserve to be there. If April 28 Sri Lanka can pull of the big win just as they did 11 years ago, I am sure Mukul will have a few more blogs on the Lanka Lions, and I am sure Jeff & Co. would be there to cry fowl, others would start a campaign to over throw the SL team in the next World Cup. But isn’t that the beauty of being a fanatic of sports in the first place…?

    2007 is the year the Lions roar back on to the top of World Cricket!

  • Vinnz on April 13, 2007, 14:57 GMT

    I appologize for the comparisons there sridar but going through this article its about how well the sri lankan team are doing in this world cup.

    However there are comments in here which i dont appreciate saying that we are a tiny country and india is a bigger country and india should have a better team.

    We need to wake up to reality, why are india and pakistan out of the world cup? it would have been a much more interesting super 8 series if they went through. instead we are left with 2 teams you can be sure every other team will beat.

    It is a bit unfortunate this had to happen to this world cup. Its sad that we might not see sachin play for a world cup again (hopefully he does) but its not good for the game if there is no team spirit, a determination to win..

    Once again i appologize if my comments have cause you concern.

    its all

  • ALAM on April 13, 2007, 14:55 GMT

    SRI LANKA ARE PLAYING AS A TEAM WITH ALL PLAYARS CONTIBUTING FOR THE WIN. AUSTRALA DEPENDS TOO MUCH ON PONTING/HAYDEN AND IF SRI LANKA BATS FIRST SCORES IN EXCESS OF 270MINMUM. SL HAS A CHANCE OF WINNING. IF WE BOWL FIRST AUS SHOULD BE CONTAINED WITHIN 240.ONE MATCH AT A TIME. NO PREDICTIONS FOR SL TO WIN. BEST BOWLING ATTACK FROM THE DAY WE GOT TEST STATUS. BATTNG NEEDS MORE WORK, NEED FUTURE BATSMAN N THE CLASS OF JAYASURIYA TO GIVE A BOOST. THARANGA IS BETTER THAN MAVAN IN ODI AS HE HAS A BETTER EYE. COMPARING THE GREAT WI TEAM IN A DFFERENT ERROR WTH SL S NOT NECCESSARY AS SL PLAYS ITS OWN BRAND OF ENTERTAINNG CRICKET.FOR INDIA AND PAKSTAN TEAMS PLEASE GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND HAVE A GOOD FIGHTING CAPTAIN. HAQ WAS SLEEPING AND DRAVID WAS NOT MORTIVATING ENOUGH. STILL I WILL GO WTH DRAVID AS HE DIDDNT GET THE SUPPORT FROM THE FULL TEAM. WHY CANT INDIA HAVE VERY FAST BOWLERS AS I SEE MOST NORTHERN INDIANS ARE TALL AND BIG(THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR WINNNG MATCHES) SAY 91MPH +++++

  • daks on April 13, 2007, 14:48 GMT

    a great article Mukul and a rare one at the moment. I have noticed a lot of talk via the commentators and articles about the sri lankan team is very underrated and focuses on how they only have a few players to thank for their success ( which i believe is wrong as the whole team plays very well under pressure and even though the middle order is not full of strong hitters they play the whole game and keep their wicket to reach a reasonable target). Most of the attention is very much on Australia which is understandably since they are playing good cricket but even after beating New Zealand Sri Lanka was not given much praise on their win but rather most of the articles and commentators focused on why New Zealand lost . I think this is a very unfair way of reporting and im hoping that Sri Lanka will make it to the final and lift the cup and show the world they are not to be underrated.

  • Neil on April 13, 2007, 14:46 GMT

    Alle Alle is a famous sri lankan song, Sameer get some facts straight man the Sri lankan team in 96 were the first ones to score more then 100 runs within the first 15 overs, I dont see the same thing with any other teams.

    RIght from the word go they started making history. And now they've progressed into one of the top teams of the one day form.

  • Riyas on April 13, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    Dear Sameer

    there are no words in any language spoken in sri lanka called "Alle" the closest it could come to is potato and i seriously doubt Sanga would be liguistically challenged to have to sledge somone by calling him a potato in a language he doesnt even understand.

    technically if the batsman doesnt understand the slediging its not sledging (reason why kalu was never intimidted by McGrath lol ok i'm kidding) If you would take the time to listen to Nasser Hussains comments you will know what sort of sledging Sanga does and u only have to watch to see what the aussies do.

  • Joseph on April 13, 2007, 14:42 GMT

    Sameer calm down dude, dont forget the embaressment of losing to bangladesh in the first game. Sri lanka has put u out of this world cup. Face facts buddy.

  • sridhar on April 13, 2007, 14:42 GMT

    Sorry to mention, but this article sounds very very rude. What is the necessity of comparisons!!!! If Lanka is doing good, praise that team all you want and watch quietly. No need to compare that with Indian Team. And then, i am surprised at the comparisons, that too a Murali smiles and Indian Team doesnt! When was the last time you smiled when loosing a game??? if ever played one!! What is the matter with you all, sitting and harping about Indian team did not do this, Indian team did not do that. Stop comparing please. Grow Up (to all media).

  • Vinnz on April 13, 2007, 14:38 GMT

    This is a crazy debate, well done mukul.....

    It seems that there are alot of indian fans out there are finding it difficult to understand the fact that sri lanka are a much better one day playing nation.

    When you see a game with Sri Lanka playing you always know your in for a good challenge because even if everything is going bad they have a team spirit in which they fight back.

    Im sure all of you would have seen Sri Lanka play against South Africa where malinga almost won the game with only 4 runs to go. This shows you the determination to win even in the most difficult situation.

    This is the difference between the teams of the subcontinent, Sri lankans play as a team with full of support and encorougment towards other players, whereas the indian team has all the names and each individual wants to be a match winner on his own.

  • Sri on April 13, 2007, 14:31 GMT

    The article is very interesting. I am interested how comparisons are always drawn. I guess the comparison attitude is ingrained in our system. For example, the father or mother says: Look, the other kid is doing so well, why cant you do it!! Look, how your brother is faring and look at you, and expects the kid to do wonders. sighs. Why can we not just talk about the merit of Sri Lankans, why does the Indian team has to be dragged into a comparison and that too about one match. I am trying to comprehend the article, if we are praising someone, lets praise that someone. Our brethren need not be compared with anyone, they are what and who they are. Give the Indian Team a break, they were eliminated in the first round, BIG DEAL!!!!! So What????? End of the World!!!!??????? Come On Guys, we all know better than that.

  • Sameer on April 13, 2007, 14:15 GMT

    Alle - Alle , this is the sound u always hear when Lanka plays any team and then u wonder wot they r saying. Then we come to know that its sledging from Sangakara. Now all SL fans would burst on me and those pseudo indians too who r damning their own team for a neibhouring team. How come i cud critisize a Lankan Maritan, the author gets 2 hoots in India when he says his crap in the media out there, may be SL should import him to their country and make him one of yours, and btw whom does author mean by we ? Do u mean u n ur country or u n ur media ? Pls clarify. If u say whole India, then forget it, that to me is self proclaimed spokesmenship...Superb...India dont care about who wins the world cup, for their top 2 teams of intrest -- home team and Pakistan are out. I would urge Lankan fans, praise your country, praise your team, no problems, but dont say anything about my country or Indian team. And if thats done, then have guts to listen critisicms of SL cricket too. We havent forgotten how poor Jaisurya was dumped in Tests in tht disastrous 2005 tour of India and then poor fellow was called up in 2006 in Tests and then was made to sit out in exile...Wot an insult...The author says about flamboyance, and is there any better sight when the former Indian skipper comes out of the crease and hits the Muralis, Warnes, Bojes, Vettoris, Dilshans, Sanaths to the boundary stands or the straight drive from the Master Blaster or his charge to Shane Warne in the test matches ? Of for that matter the thumpings he gave to Murallidharan in his entire career...

    Poor Indian cricketers, they walk under so much pressure that every win is essential for them else their effigies would be burnt n wot not by the pseudo fans who dont have ne other good work to do.

    Wot has been the achievement of Lanka ? WHich test series they have won in any other country outside Lanka ? Now dont count Zim, Bangaladesh. Forget Aus, NZ they havent even won a test in India....Are they world beaters ? Any day on a bouncy track this Lanka batsmen would be hopping and fizzing to the nose ball they receive (Nose ball is the one bouncer which passes just close to ur nose), they wud hop to likes of McGrath, Warne, Harmy, Polly n all....

    Dont generalise the fact that most Indians support their neibhours. Most knowledeable fans would support good cricket be it from Lanka or AUstralia, they wont be regionalistic like most Lankan fans out here.

    Mukul Sir : Stop bashing India and its "fallen heroes", if u want to praise SL, pls sir go ahead, but spare the Indian cricketers. And by the way in India no cricketer gets sympathy for being called for throwing. No cricketer in India skiins out of going to Australia fearing a calling backlash...2003 - 04 tour India almost spoiled Waugh s farewell party, 2001 -- greatest test series ever in test history, now count me some classics which Lanka have played. I know Lankans would come up with 952 and that 624 partnership last year.....Grow up and accept that SL are not world s best team and not the best team to watch, they might be a good team in making, unless they beat all other teams consistently in all conditions they wont be "great","delight to watch".......And as far as pride is concerned lets not talk about it , Lanka fans, if u cud remember how father figures of Ranatunga and DeSilva were treated after 1999 debacle in England.. (SL are only world champs to exit in the 1st round while defending title)..DO i need say more ?

  • Vinod Perera on April 13, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    Jeff, are you still there mate? Or are you with aborigines’?

    Was reading this entire thing and it is amazing to see how people support Sri Lanka. We don’t mind even if Sri Lanka loose the WC. This is enough for us and when they come back we welcome them. We are proud of them and this is just a game for us. We are not racists. If we loose we will accept it and will go home, won’t insult others like the Australian team. The entire world knows who the racists are.

    About the Sri Lankan team composition glad to hear that all agree with my comment that Marvan should open with Sanath.

    Chamath

    I agree with you about your comment about Ranjith Fernando. He should listen to a person like Ravi Shastri.

    Reza

    You are correct I guess. If they include Marvan in the team Sri Lanka’s batting looks equal with Australia.Hopefuly the Sri Lankan team management will seriously think about replacing Tharanga with Marvan.

    Indian I just gave my opinion. I may be incorrect. You should know better than me about the Indian team. But there are reports that seniors are not collaborating with juniors. Must be just reports and as you mentioned now all are trying to give their opinions about the team.

  • Nash on April 13, 2007, 14:06 GMT

    TO : Aussie Your comment is too sarcastic. Don't underestime any team. Learn from Bangladesh and Ieland. You just don't know how to enjoy a good game. People like you shouldn't be anyware near cricket at all.

    Sri Lanka has done so well to come so far in this tournament so has Newzealand , Australia. Learn how to appreciate and allow varity to the game. Otherwise this will exitinct. Grow up ....

    Let the best team win !!!! Hail CRICKET.

  • tb2006 on April 13, 2007, 14:02 GMT

    sri lankans are playing cricket the way it should be palyed(winning always is not "playing" good cricket). take the game against SA. We lost but we played gentleman's game.there were 2 occassions where our batsmen started leaving before given by umpire comparing to Kallis who stayed at the wicket and presssurized the umpire. yesterday styris should have walked! some ppl hav said aussies are playing as a happy nice bunch but just wait and see their behavior when they are under pressure.

  • omega male on April 13, 2007, 13:49 GMT

    I was about to post something, but ASIT's post reflected most of my views. Just adding this 4th one: d) being a smaller nation, SL team has a smaller inertia to changes than a heavy weight like Ind or Pak. This nimbleness is both a boon and a bane -- remember how quickly(and how much!) SL ODI cricket quality fell down from 1999 WC to 1999 WC?

  • Jeetan Singh on April 13, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    One can not help loving the Team Sri Lanka. The major difference btw Indian players & Sri Lankan players is: Sachin wears Indian colors but plays for BIG money contracts from MRF, ESPN and other BIG Biz Houses: Ganguly is worried and concern, how to again become captain, Dhoni is more concerned and interested in his hair style ( which has won BIG endorsements for him ), Shehwag think, he is playing on streets of Najafgarh and throwing his bats at ball !!.. These Playes in Indian COLORS DONOT play for India and Indian pride..

    Sri Lankan players PLAY for Pride of SriLanka, and they all 2gether play for the country who has given them the honor and platform to EARN Price and Glory for Sri Lankan ppl.

    Unless Inidan plyaers start playing for Pride & Honor ( not for money ), India can not become a good Cricket playing nation.. PERIOD.

    Indian Players can DO Biz endoresements, BUt the Money should not be paid to DIRECTLY. All endoresement money should be PUT in some of 'Funds' that should be used for life long welfare of Players and developing Cricket in places other than major cities.. After all the Cricket is providing the platform for these players to eran BIG money...

    Criekct in India SHOULD not be run and managed by politicians !! Anything they touch, it gets messed up :(

  • dhammika on April 13, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    thanks mukul, it is always refreshing to see lankans play. cricket afterall is great leveller and great mind game.of course you need to enjoy the game no matter what the out come is about, we play to win of course. given current sri lankan situation, War and modern day pestilence,terrorism, we have single and simple thiongs to enjoys that is luvrly cricket! i think that is why sri lankans are smiling a lot and we do not want lots of things to happend to smile and party, a simle reason is enough to do that, as saying goes we do feel happy with just rice and pol sambol and we do not complain much about it. We do enjoy fair bit of democracy and fairplay most of the talented has the opportunity to rise to any level if they want. personaly we have free health and education up to post graduate level and if you are government servent your pension check once you retire. as Richard Layard elequently explained people do enjoy those securities more than people who are looking for more money, big sposorships and bussiness deals. that is the sri lankan spirit.i personnaly believe that has lead to their success as well> cheers and be happy! happy to be sri lankan no matter what

  • nipun on April 13, 2007, 13:33 GMT

    thats the way srilankan team has been and will always be....the total allround team.......

  • Ravi Kumar on April 13, 2007, 13:33 GMT

    I love reading Mukul Kesavan's articles. Because it is amazing how one guy can take a topic and change it into a lets-beat-the-Indian-team-with-a-stick story. He never, ever fails to do that!!

    If the Indian team does not smile it is because they are one of probably only two teams in world cricket which go into a match with the fear that if they fail, their homes and families would be attacked. When you have such wonderful "fans" who needs opponents?

    Such "pressure" makes fans look bad, but when you have educated people like Kesavan ready to needle the team at every available opportunity, how can one expect moderation from an average out-on-the-road fan whose sense of proportion was killed by such media ages ago?

    It brings to my mind how other teams have dealt with such pressure. Faced with having to play in Sri Lanka in the '96 World Cup, teams like Australia, England etc opted out for fear of being "bombed", despite the fact that other teams - notably India and Pakistan - played there just to prove it was safe to play there, AND despite being promised the best available security. There was even an article by Neil Manthorp which argued how such security would make the South African team a target during their last visit to SL. Or remember how Fleming and his team fled Pakistan not so long ago?

    Imagine what these teams would do if this kind of fear of actual (and not imagined) bodily harm were to follow them out onto every cricket match. For example, remember how South Africa lost a few quick wickets against India in an ODI not so long ago? The provocation? Hall had been picked in place of Nel, Smith did not like it, lost his concentration and lasted three balls (or was it two?).

    Kesavan writes rot!

    Ravi Kumar

  • rohit sakunia on April 13, 2007, 13:31 GMT

    Mukul Sir,I am an avid reader of your blogs but the way u have respected some bowlers of lanka needs a lot of correction i guess. first things first vass is never a gr8 bowler, he is another limited bowler who on freindly tracks can take wickets and be a miser. look on his records away from home and that would tell the story. Murali is a old war horse and one bowler who wud never equal warne's capabilities. lastly yes jayasuriya is a gr8 guy but the exaggeration u put in is too much.

  • Brummy on April 13, 2007, 13:27 GMT

    Nice article about Sri Lanka, but I don't agree with the Windies team comparison. It would be great to see SL win the world cup again, but even if they don't, we will still be very happy about the performance they've put in thus far. They've played with a lot of heart and character and have given us something to cheer about. Personally, I'd rather see SL in games with a close fighting finish than to see them dominate like Australia do - it makes it more entertaining. Win or lose SL, as long as you give it 100% - we'll still love to watch you time and time again.

  • dhanushka on April 13, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    This is for Mohan,

    1 Billion can't make up a team to beat BD or SL. And you honestly think a state can make up such a team..lol. They should have good state teams to have a good domestic tournament. May be you dont know that, because it seems they pick players for the india team on a state basis, not talent..

    SL can win this all the way..!! good luck..

  • Shiraz on April 13, 2007, 13:16 GMT

    Hey guys, Mukul only paid a compliment to the Sri Lankans and the way we play our game. We Lankans, by nature, take life easy and bounce back from reversals. That is how we have been surviving a 20 odd years old civil war and an almost on the brink of a collapse economy. We know how to look at the brighter side of life whilst doing the serious things. Mukul's point was not that the way the Ausies were playing was wrong, but how we were bringing color to the almost one sided contests. No Ausie or Sri Lankan final win will be worth the money spent if the two sides involved do not give it a fight to remember. That is where Sri Lanka can come in with the lateral thinking to win the world cup. Whether they win the cup or not, we love the way they play. For us, Sri Lankans, it is not the end that matters, but the means of (playing by the rule......and having fun)

    Go Sri Lanka....get the mighty Ausies down not once but twice over.........

  • Johanne on April 13, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    To Lalit Mohan:

    "To the manor born" is a corruption of the correct expression "to the manner born". It is also the title of a UK sitcom.

  • Sylvia on April 13, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    I fully agree with Desmond. Styris should have walked when he was caught behind the wicket. He knew he was out, and so did everyone else. If he had any respect for himself or the game of cricket he would have walked. He would have been a bigger and better man if he did. Well done to Chaminda for this well deserved award of the Man of the match, and well done to the adjudicators for the correct selection. Go Sri Lanka go!!

  • Riyas on April 13, 2007, 12:59 GMT

    Oh by the way to whoever spoke about ranjit fernando i second that pls pls spear us the torture of ahving to listen to him.

  • Khurram Habib on April 13, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    If there is a side that can beat Australia, it is Sri Lanka. I agree with many of Mukul's points but I disagree with one point. The comparison with the West Indies. Flamboyance and that flair might make us believe that Lanka looks like West Indies. But don't forget that the West Indies were World beaters on all kinds of pitches and countries. Sri Lankan bowlers, unfortunately, on the wickets get a bit more true, suffer badly. Their batsmen haven't shown the same class on the bouncier and grassier wickets. Also, their strength for long had been slow bowlers. Its now only they've come up with someone like Malinga. So, I think the difference is like chalk and cheese. I guess the conisistency factor, as I've mentioned earlier is key. Also, their batting, when it comes to openers is not quite in the same league as that of Greenidge and Haynes. And their middle order and the lower order is not that certain and sure. It has not been that steady for so long as West Indies' of those times had been. Sri Lanka are good but not great. West Indies of those times were great. Just watching them perform well in a tournament and getting carried away should be avoided. Let's wait for another five years.

  • Terry Gonsalves on April 13, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    A very good team under a very good coach. Chaminda and Jayasuriya, particularily the latter has revolutionised one day cricket. It will be interesting to see what happens post era of these two. Will Sri Lanka produce a successor to "King Chuck" who should be competing in the Olympics as a javelin thrower, rather than in the World Cup of cricket. Shame on the ICC for allowing this to continue.

  • Imran Iqbal on April 13, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    SL is one team I admire and support after Pakistan. In 1996 when both India & Pakistan were out, SL had support at least for whole Pakistani nation and I support them again for this year's win. Right they are from sub-continent, but my vote for them is mainly because of their professionalism and fighting abilities. Go SL Go!

  • Miten Davda on April 13, 2007, 12:35 GMT

    A brilliant article Mukul, I am in complete agreement with you (not that my agreement should mean anything to anyone). The Sri Lankans are indeed a delight to watch. Jayasuriya is a dream proffesional; he has served his country for 15 years and delivered the goods whenever he's been called upon without a fuss. He is a match winner unlike some of the other so-called 'greats' of this era. Not enough can be said about this man who does great things with such wonderful humility and this is what allows him at 40 to play better all round cricket than 99% of the cricketers around him. Similar sentiments can be shared about the other vets on this team, Vaas and Murali. Theie physical ability may have been diminished after years of service but their mental strength has never been more apparent. They are using all their experience to outsmart the opposition. The youngsters are dynamite and together with the likes of Jayawardena and Sanga they create a beautiful concoction of experience, skill, passion and energy. I am rooting for them to go all the way even if I don't believe they have what it takes to beat the almighty Aussies.

  • Lalit Mohan on April 13, 2007, 12:30 GMT

    Really! It is 'to the manor born'...not manner!

  • ASIT on April 13, 2007, 12:29 GMT

    I am Indian living in Lanka . Yes its true that the Lankan team is playing brilliant and joyful cricket , but alls well when things are on a roll . Those suggesting that Lankan cricket system is natural, less political etc need to just take a look at the local newspapers. Sri Lanka no doubt is a more gentle place than the rest of the sub-continent but the influence of politics is everywhere ( Asantha De meL is chairman of the Petroluem Corp) . A few things to jog people's memory : a. Sanath retired due to politics ; was recalled due to intervention from the highest level and also because the results without him were not great !! 2. Selection nepotism- Anyone remembers Jehan Mubarak !! He perhaps was the reason Chamara was out of the team for such a long time 3. 9 months back Sri Lanka was on the brink of "ordinariness"....had they lost the 1st test to england things would have been different ..all credit to them on how they turned ir around...

    In summary , a combination of good leadership ( Moody , Mahela, Kumar) , unified team , good work ethic, less pressure ( unlike Indian and Pak) and all key guys hitting top form has led to the strong world cup performance till now . However to suggest that the India /pak system is rotten while all is well in Lanka is naive . Take 3 players out of this lanka side and the side struggles ( as we saw in the ODI series in India ) . Let them first be as consistent as the Aussies since Border , TAylor, Waugh and now poting and the windies of 70,80s .

    HAving said that , I would love them to WIN and bring the cup back home . Its a great country with great people !!!

  • Katz on April 13, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    I agree with Mukul when he says that this srilankan team is playing well. But all other adjectives added post that are utterly wasted in an attempt to lengthen the blog. This team is still unidimensional, does not have the wherewithal to play consistently well on seaming tracks. They did square a series against new zealand in nz, but i wonder what the wickets were like. What about their reserve strength, what after the so called Hit Man Vaas retires? Wat about the post Murali era? Comparision to the WI team of the yore is almost apologetic, This team is good, but they are nowhere near being world beaters. There are technical limitations in Sanath's batting(vulnerable against short fast stuff)Mahela(Likewise)Chamara(What??who??)T Dilshan(there are so many hard to fit in here). they are a good team now because they are surviving on the freakish nature(bowling action) of their bowlers. This wont last too long...

  • Sandun on April 13, 2007, 12:18 GMT

    Jeff, it's not RACISM, it's called BROTHERHOOD!!!

  • Peri Balakrishnan on April 13, 2007, 11:57 GMT

    Great and interesting view. My simplecontribution is that Sri Lankans win because of their great attitude towards the game. They are not scared to lose. This I believe give them the fearlessness to play positively and eventually get the result they deserve. Thinking of the Indian Team on the same lines only makes me wonder. Why do they look so tense and heavy faced on the field. May be they should be counselled accordinly.

  • Mohan on April 13, 2007, 11:51 GMT

    lux: exactly. compared to the problems in Sri Lanka, most Indian states are much better off - there is political stability, a cricket set-up and passion for the game going much further back, etc. There is absolutely no reason why each state can't produce a test team given the opportunity.

    Alex: not 1000, but 25-30 will be a good start, like in soccer world cup. We can even do away with these Canada's and Netherland's. That is what gets my goat - if you need more teams create teams where there is passion for the game and where it is possible to unearth talent. Why unnecessarily spend effort and money (that too Indian money) in creating teams where there is no interest for the game?

  • Mahilal on April 13, 2007, 11:46 GMT

    Being Sri Lankan it is almost embarrasing to read this article by Mukul. SL have improved their cricket the hard way. While India may be looking for a good domestic competetion to get their cricketers ready for higher levels we have the well structured school cricket set up which produces many test cricketers - eg. Arjuna Ranatunga played in SL's first ever test when he was still a schoolboy! It also took the 'big' boys in cricket a long time to recognise and incorporate SL into their plans - England only used to give us one off tests until they got thrashed by ten wickets in the 1998 Oval test! West Indies never bothered to play us during their dominant years (80-90's) which have bee mentioned by the readers -look where they are now!! In this context I would like to applaud Australia who always gave us a run of three tests even when SL were the minnows and used to be regularly thrashed by others. Of course they gave SL a hard time on the field - eg. the Murali-Hair affair which is universally acknowledged to have toughened SL cricket and helped them win the World Cup in 1996. I hope SL will win the World Cup - if we don't my wish would be an Australian win.

  • Pam on April 13, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    With regards to all the credits and discredits given to the Sri Lankan cricket team, I would like to point out the fact that most, if not all, in the SL cricket team play the game for the sheer joy it brings forth. There are no professional cricketers in Sri Lanka - these cricketers have other occupations and this game is played more of less as a 'hobby'. The technology that is available to SL cricket team and a team such as the Australian cricket team could not be any further apart. It is the talent, the skill, the passion, the enthusiasm and the love of the game that drives these cricketers to great heights. For that and that alone, I bow my head in awe to the Sri Lankan cricketers. Well done boys and the whole team behind the boys. We Sri Lankans are extremely proud of you to say the least.

  • lankan lion on April 13, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    dear Aussie and also Jeff........ firsly aussie, u r a typical aussie..... always trying to put the good man down to gain advantage.... this is what ull have been doing all these years.... u guys cant win a match without sledging the hell outta the opposition .. and u do it most against us coz ull r dead scared of us.... its very obvious.... another example is the chucking issue wit murali.... u guys were scared of him (still are) so u try to put him out mentally and literally.... darel hair, then that king size idiot ross emerson who called murali for bowling leg spinners....just shows the plans... not forgetting the child molester steve randell who gave paul reiffel not out when he clearly edged it to the keeper...even the batsman was walking ..... please do not try to dent our pride... futile efforts my friend... us lankan lions win matches clean and also win the respect and hearts of others which is exactly what u aussies cant... so dont even compar the lions to the kangaroos... we`l have u for dinner....

    and dear jeff....RACISM HUH....just read the para above...it related to u as well.......u guys are such sore losers...... guess its a white thing...so are SA... never give crdit to a opposition dats doing well........ neway guess dats ur nature.... ex convicts no all of u.... cudn xpect much better frm ull neway..... so keep it dat jeff.... dont go into racism cz dats a term u guys invented and use.... not us pround lankans and asians......

  • Mukundan on April 13, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    I congratulate the Sri Lankan cricket fans and shame on Indian fans. The reason the Sri Lankans are playing so good is because they are relaxed AND focussed. The reason they are relaxed is that there is no undue pressure from the crowd except that their team plays a good game. Learn it, Indian fans.

  • coli on April 13, 2007, 11:28 GMT

    I am bitterly dissapointed with NZ result today, however i still think we can win this world cup, i think the loss has come at the right time and we were becoming to complacent and we fire alot better when we are underdogs.

    SL were the better team today, however i think the NZ team enjoys there cricket just as much as SL i.e the scenes after 3-0 win over aus after every match. I believe NZ is the only team that has the firepower to overcome the aussie in terms of a very deep batting line up with hitters. I am hoping we will play SA in the Semis and Australia in the final, i fear SL the most.

    I think Indian team has been overated for years, a good example of a team with a similar amount of pressure and expections are the All Blacks yet they are able to win at over 75% . I think it is called professionalism something the indian team lacks.

  • Mark on April 13, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    As an England fan I want Sri Lanka to win. Even if it was a Sri Lanka - England final I would want Sri Lanka to win because deserve to.

  • Bjorn on April 13, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    New Zealand had it coming in this match - they aren't playing as good as they were in the last WC - in which i was rooting for them. But they keep being lauded for rolling over some minnows and near minnows. Me i'm just going to be supporting the other team which makes it to the final - anyone but Australia.

  • Moo on April 13, 2007, 10:50 GMT

    ha ha jeff, bit rich for a guy from australian (racist central) knocking on ASIANS supporting ASIANS. there is such a thing as regional identity. typical aussie memory... colonial times,aboriginies, forcible land assimilation, those words ring a bell?

  • Nalaka on April 13, 2007, 10:33 GMT

    Jeff, I think 'racism' is an incorrect and provocative choice of words. I think our cousins on the sub-continent's mainland will support us out of the positive emotions of regional empathy and brotherhood, rather than the hatred of Australia which your post suggests.

    The reason that most neutral cricket fans support SL is that we play the type of cricket that everyone aspires to: effective and entertaining. It is simply a joy to watch batsman like Sanath gleefully dismantling a bowling attack, bowlers like Vaas and Malinga skittling through the top order, Murali tying up the middle order in knots, Sangakkara doing his amazing glove work, and fielding of the highest order. All with smiles on their faces!

    It has always been the Sri Lankan mentality that winning is not enough, you have to win with style. In the past Sri Lankan teams have been guilty of forgetting the 'winning' part, preferring to lose with style rather than grind out results but the current team's resilience and attitude have restored the balance.

    Australia on the other hand, is such a ruthlessy efficient winning machine, that only Aussies enjoy watching them play. They are a team to respect and admire rather than enjoy.

    Hopefully all the neutral support will enable us to beat them in the Final!

  • Reza Thahir on April 13, 2007, 10:29 GMT

    I think sri lanka & austarlia are the favourites for the final. SL has the edge over the aussies bcas other than lacking in a big hitter in death overs, SL is really strong in the other areas. SL doesnt leak too many runs with their tight bowling, electrifying fielding & very shrewd field placings from Mahela supported by the Brilliant Sangakkara. I agree with you vinod, Marvan is a too good player to be the 12th man. He should be Opening with Jayasuriya. Well then the batting looks equal with the Aussies. Australia is equally tough as sri lanka but their middle order lacks runs, fielding not as sharp as SL, bowling isnt tight as SL & overall Australia lacks a world class spinner. I think Muralitharan will be the key for the different between the two sides. But cricket is a funny game, we've seen so many upsets & i wont be surprised if SA/NZ or ENG win the world cup.

  • Englishman on April 13, 2007, 10:28 GMT

    To my good friend Aussy..

    Well my son before putting your two sense why dont you first wash your face. As still you are dreaming about India...Hehehe Like you India has to wake up without day dreaming. YOu say India went out of the supereghts bcos they just played badly in one game. I say your wrong my son India played consistently in WI with their track record over seas. Unfortunately our little friends first Banga and SL where too good for them. This could be wrong if India played in India..

    YOu also say SL won with luck. My son your definition of luck needs to be questioned. SL on this tournament played proper professional Cricket same as Australia. The highest score conceded against them was yesterdays 220. Well if this is luck ( too funny) I think they should stop cricket and hit the casinos ASAP. What a joker this guy is....

    Now do I have to go to your other points??? well my son wake up its time for a hot milk.. Why is it so hard for these pathetic Indians to give credit to any other team than India???

  • Dinesh on April 13, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    Jeff, could it instead be that the Aussies are arrogant, cheat when they can by sledging and over appealing, make a concerted effort to bully teams, exhibit no grace in victory or defeat, and are generally only tolerable when they have been defeated often and badly?

  • Shibly Cader on April 13, 2007, 10:20 GMT

    Its amazing how the lankan cricket has touched so many people around the globe.The sri lankan public loves a good game of cricket - yes we are mad when the team looses - but we have the faith in the boys - we back them everytime they are down - the pressure our brothers face across the seas is not there on the srilankan team - this gives them the edge and beleive that the crowd will be behind them come what may - jeff its not racism my friend - its the passion in the game.. well cricket is popular and telecased all over the world - becuse the revenue it generates - we are able to watch the game of cricket where its played these days - i dont need to stress - we all know where the money is coming from !! Aussies are a better side - but remember we had them on the ropes last time around and lost by a whisker - i am sure we can give a run for the money - The cup should come home - to Asia !

  • Amandeep on April 13, 2007, 10:17 GMT

    @Jeff

    Ya rite... The biggest racists in the world are the brash Aussies... Read this: http://sport.guardian.co.uk/columnists/theobserver/story/0,,1843742,00.html

  • krishna on April 13, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    I forgot to add a few more questions! Many credit Moody for bringing about a change in SL cricket. Moody talks the same talk as Chappell did.The importance of not worrying about results, putting the process in place,doing the basics right, versatality in bowling,flexibility in batting, improved fielding and fitness,focus on youth.Was he allowed to do what he wanted? A few failures and we were back to square one. People like YOU are happy that Chappell(for all his despicable media management) is gone.Was he allowed the space he needed to implement his plans?Is Moody's every tactic scrutnized as much as Dravids and Chappells? You would like me to believe that Moody is a genius and SL cricketers are from another planet,with a remarkable ability to soak any amount of pressure.To play with joy,you need some mental space which is sorely lacking in India.No wonder idiots like will continue to write whatever they want and idiots like ME will continue to comment because they have nothing to do.No wonder Sachin doesnt smile,no wonder he no longer charges to Mcgrath.

  • Navin on April 13, 2007, 10:09 GMT

    lol Jeff, if you think the sub-continent is an fraternity based on skin colour, you've severely underestimated how hard the Aussie cricket team has had to work to be universally loathed :)

  • Robert on April 13, 2007, 10:06 GMT

    Joanne.. firstly, if the Indian players can't handle the stress, then they really should step down from the side.

    I have heard many people refer to the Indian and Pakistan people as very gentle by nature. In all honesty the only people of the sub-continent that seem to really personify this are the Sri Lankans. I believe that it is this true sportmanship and team unit that keeps this team on such a high. I've heard the Aussies and South Africans speak of team spirt, but neither come close to that of the Sri Lankans.

    As a captain Jayawardena (hope I spelt that correctly) has done an amazing job. With such a variety of resources at his disposal he rarely under or over uses them.

    I loved watching the "minnows" Sri Lanka win the 96 world cup. Watching at Ranatunga and Da Silva picked of the runs with such ease. It was a great day for cricket all round!

    I would still like to see South Africa win, I do believe we have been robbed a few times. But could never say that the guys from that little island don't deserve their second world cup!

  • Riaz on April 13, 2007, 10:00 GMT

    Jeff your comments are absolutely ridiculous - your an idiot. they support SL because we are their neighbours and while colour of skin might have something to do with it there is nothing RACIST about it - how are they discriminating against other coloured people! im presuming you are another ignorant aussie (oh hang on thats racist!). Im Sri Lankan and while our chances of winning are on the rise i am quite happy if South Africa England or NZ win and knock the Aussies out even if we dont - oh watch out a Sri Lankan going for White teams incase their own team doesnt make it - could be racism against Australia lol get a life dude!

  • krishna on April 13, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    When you write a blog,speak for yourself. While it is not that I don't like SL, but you should say "I" rather than "we"(Who are the "we" youa re talking about anyway).Are you our official spokesman or what? As for your comparisons with Ind and Pak,it is completely unfair. If the same players were representing India,they wouldn't have done so well.Firstly,the cultural differences(especially North-South divide)are so strong that it is almost impossible to build up team spirit,so essential to playing cricket with enthusiasm(unless you keep wining of course).And I bet no sportsman in the World gets harassed as much as the Indian cricketers from al quarters-being devoid of heroes in life,every one of the one billion looks up to these 15 players.They succeed,they are eulogised, they fail and they are ostracized.Not to mention the sponsors,corporates,the sensationalist media which you are part of everyone wants a piece of them,even the beggar by the roadside has a opinion on cricket. Can you imagine Sachin or anyone for that matter,being able to walk on the street anywhere in India peacefully?Are Srilankan cricketers homes stoned when they fail?Do they receive death threats?Are they taken apart by media men and women in spaghetti tops?Are their personal lives scanned with the hysteria which the Indians are subjected to?Would Atapattu received backing in India if he had started as he did-6 consecutive ducks?Would Vaas have been allowed to cut down on pace because it is more effective- Irfan Pathan was pelted from all sides for dropping his pace and ultimately he didnt know what was right.The list is endless.Would any other country face so much scrutiny for a loss(pak have to take math fixing allegations as well)from so many channels, papers,journalists,worthless nincompoops like you and me? The Problem is not the system,not the cricketers,and for god's sake not the pitches.The problem is YOU, ME and everyone of us.For them to play with joy,it is OUR attitude which has to change.They would play for sure and play well, but they should be allowed to.

  • Imran A Javed on April 13, 2007, 9:49 GMT

    No Jeff (1 hour 5 min ago), the reason is not the color of the skin, the Australians are at the moment the No 1 side. Very professional and very cricketing no doubt about that. We Asians like SL mainly because the Sri Lankan now are playing better cricket and a good team challenging the top one is always considered good. I tell you we like the SA as well as the NZ cricketers. No Racism…….come on its cricket we are talking about. See my previous response (2 hours 7 min ago) can you find any thing Racist in it. We love cricket and we love good cricket be it Australia or BD. Pls. stop calling us that. Just to inform you in D.Hear case what ever happened, the way the umpire handled the situation was said to be Raciest by many, but still majority in Pakistan still believe that the way Inzi reacted to what ever it was, was totally wrong and Umpire and Cricket should be respected. So Jeff…we should come out of this and think bigger. It’s a different World now. Hope you are not annoyed.

  • Theena on April 13, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    Jeff, you've opened a whole new can of worms. While I suspect that is the reason with a quite a few new found Sri Lankan supporters of non-Sri Lankan origin, I don't think you can just attribute it solely to that.

    One of the main reasons I think is that people want a change in the game. Do you honestly believe that Australia winning the world cup three times in a row is good for the game as a whole? Heck, even Australian pundits - including Ian Chappel - saying that it would be harmful for the game. I've always conversed with many a Australian supporter who are looking for change, for genuine competition from the rest of the test teams. I recall quite vividly the thoughts of such a friend just after that amazing 2005 Ashes series and, rather than being glum following the Aussie defeat, he was happy that someone had challenged the team.

    The support that Sri Lanka, and indeed New Zealand, South Africa and - hell I'll say it - the damn England team, if they can perform a miracle, are receiving now is similar to that I believe.

    May the best team win. And if that happens to be the Australian team yet again, then so be it.

  • Ujjwal Acharya on April 13, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    Excellent read! I love watching Sri Lanka play for their child-like enthusiasm. It's nice to see Murali act like taking his first-ever wicket everytime he takes one!

    I hope they will win this World Cup!

  • Dace on April 13, 2007, 9:32 GMT

    Sam, thats rubbish about India v Pakistan being the best rivalry to watch. Whats the point if those two teams only play well when they play each other? Sri Lanka can take it to any team and give them a good match, look at what happened against South Africa, neither India or Pakistan have the heart to do anything like that, unless like you said its against each other. Personally, Im glad they are out of the WC only because now they can take a good look at themselves and learn some humility before they call themselves "cricket powerhouses". Take a lesson from the Lankans, they have won a World Cup a lot more recently than India and some of those players are still in the team. And Aussie, you need a reality check. India didnt have one bad day and exit, they got smashed and didnt even make the super 8's, get over it dude. They didnt deserve to be there and so they are not. I think what Mukul was trying to say when comparing SL to the Windies of the 80's is that they both brought a good vibe to the game, not comparing achievements.

  • A.H.M. Iqbal on April 13, 2007, 9:30 GMT

    Mukul, your article on these tiny islanders is fantastic. They deserve another feather in their hats. They are not only competing with cricket teams but they also have to fight a psychological war waged against them by The Amnesty International.

    It is sad that an organization in the caliber of Amnesty International chose the Caribbean as its venue to take advantage of the World Cup to publicize the human right abuses in Sri Lanka between the warring parties using the slogan ‘Sri Lanka - Play by the Rules’. But thank God their attempt did not demoralize the players.

    Question in the Diplomatic Quarters is whether Amnesty International plans to take up the issue of human rights violations by the U.S. government in Iraq or in Guantanamo Bay at the Super Bowl match or the National Basketball League championship.

    Hats off Sri Lanka. We are proud of you.

  • JD on April 13, 2007, 9:29 GMT

    WOW! So good to read all these wonderful comments on the Sri Lankan team. Being a Sri Lankan, no doubt reading all yours comments makes me feel so proud, specially considering all the other problems we are faced with on a daily basis.

    Just one comment with regard to the force put in by the aging Sri Lankan teams is the sheer commitment they put in to training and the determination they have to achieve the highest to bring glory to the country.

    Well keep it up boys. You are certainly making all Asians proud!

    On the other side of the coin, please excuse me for going out of the subject, I feel that Ranjith Fernando should retire from commentating and should return home.

  • SG on April 13, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    jeff, everyone would prefer anyone to australia and as far as racism goes, i think we know where u aussies stand on that... so just shut.... up and deal with it almost all white folk would root for any of NZ, ENG, SA, and AUS. Like I care. And Mukul needs to stop this serious brown nosing of the Sri Lankan team. I desperately dont want them to win the competition. I'm tempted to even support ... AUS instead of them. But for now, COME ON IRELAND!!!

  • ssgsggsd on April 13, 2007, 9:25 GMT

    That's wrong. Sri lanka are a great side. Murali is the best of them all. Sanath is the best opener of all (forget Gili), Sanga and Mahela are very special, Chamara is fantastic, and did i mention that Murali was the best!

  • riyas on April 13, 2007, 9:22 GMT

    well Jeff i guess i guess you recognise your own hear hear want a prize??

    i do hate aussie maybe i'm racist but i only suopport the all balcks cos they got black in their name.

    but what puts me off the Aussie ricket team is their ugly badmouthing attitude towards playing cricket. anyone rememerb all those times McGrath badmouthing countles batsmen for hitting him for 4. and the famous incident with sarwas. and oh poor McGrath he was excused cos his wife was suffereing from canser boohoo but hey its alright to ask sarwan if he sucked parts of his captains body.

    oh and by the way has nay asian player ever been fined for racism who was that short ugly bloke with a gotee... oh eyah he wants from the subcontinets was he??

  • Sac on April 13, 2007, 9:22 GMT

    The most reason people (not just Su continent) prefer a sri lankan victory to Ausie one is that sri lankans are gracious winners while ausies rnt.. Pure and simple..

    As for the multiple teams for India etc, its impractical to say the least (why dont they try that in football and other team sports as well). Also to say that the world cup would then be long wuld be an understatment..

  • Dr. Sam on April 13, 2007, 9:08 GMT

    Every great side in the history of 1 day international cricket must have at least 3 players who will get into a current world 1st eleven, and 2 additional players who will get into a world 2nd eleven. I feel that Sri lanka currently can contribute Sangakkara, Murali and Jayasuriya and possibly Malinga to a world first eleven, with Vaas and Jayawardene adding to a world second eleven. This makes them extremely potent and probable world cup winners in my openion. I acknowledge the past glories of Australia, but I do not think their new brigade match up to Sri Lanka.

  • Shareez on April 13, 2007, 9:05 GMT

    It’s a very satisfactory win against the Kiwis who have been very consistent in this world cup and have whitewashed the Aussies a few months back. Hats off for Chaminda Vass who has being so successful throughout his career especially in his first few overs of he innings by scalping a lots of quality openers. Yes the Lankans having a well versatile bowling attack and a world class top order. But again the lower middle order and the slog overs is a concern like Aravinda De Silva and few others mentioned before the world cup. But the likes of Dilshan (Vs West Indies) Arnold and Vass (Vs India) has done well in patches. Therefore in this case I think we are missing a Symonds a Boucher or a McCullum for that matter. But I don’t think the Sri Lankan team is feeling the same way coz they have being successful so far without a big hitter and even it was not an issue for the team in the 96 campaign. It must be very difficult to leave a quality batsman like Marvan Atapattu out of the playing eleven. But again Upul Tharanga has been successful at the top in the past year or so specially opening with Jayasuriya. So may be that’s the reason they have given him the nod ahead Atapattu even he’s not having the best of tournaments so far.

    But I have a few words to the guy who mentioned that India and Pakistan should be playing on the 15th of April. Please give some credits to Bangladesh and Ireland. I agree with the crowd factor and the Indians and Pakistan have lots of exciting players. I my self is a big fan of likes of Dravid, Ganguly, and Shoaib Akhtar. But if the team is not performing well so there’s no excuse. Those two minnows are well deserved to be in Super eight. It’s not just the Indians and Pakistanis lost to them but they were beaten well against Sri Lanka and West Indies. So they were not at their best of forms. If you think they’re exciting while playing each other they cannot be World champs coz you need to be competitive with rest of the world as well. Look at the Aussies they always want to beat the English in the Ashes and they value that a lot. But does that mean they don’t wanna perform at the world cup and win the title? No.

    I believe the Sri Lankans wanna look forward on a match to match basis in this world cup like Mahela mentioned throughout the tournament. So their main concern now should be the game against the Aussies. I still feel there is lot to do before we think about the semis or finals.

  • chamath Kodikara on April 13, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    I agree with you guys and Marvan should immedietly replace Tharanga,and simply looking at the Grenada track Marvan looks the man.Though i am a big fan of Upul Tharanga the problem with him is he relies heavily on driving and slashing and lacks strokes on the leg side and is unable to rotate the strike.

    THE BIGGEST PROBLEM OF ALL IS THE COMMENTRIES OF RANJITH FERNANDO WHO LOOKS A REAL JOKER AND MISFIT IN THE PANEL.HE IS A MASTER REPEATER LACKS HUMOR AND INNOVATION,NOT FAMILIAR WITH TECHNICAL ASPECTS AND DOESNT KNOW A HECK ABOUT LBW DECESIONS AND DOESNT LOOK CASUAL OR A PLEASURE TO THE LISTNER,HE JUST HAVE 5 OR SIX WORDS WHICH HE REPEATS THROUGHT THE MATCH AND THAT ALSO AS IF HE IS TEACHING AT A ENGLISH LITRETURE CLASS,LISTINING TO HIM IS A REAL STRESS AND HE SHOULD BE REALY KIKED OUT AND MOST SRI LANKANS SWITCH OFF THE VOLUME WHENEVER HE IS ON AIR.

  • Raj on April 13, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    seems Mukul has started some censorship and he s not allowing anti - Lanka posts and pro India posts

  • Vinod Perera on April 13, 2007, 8:55 GMT

    Loving your country is not Racism my dear Jeff. You must be an Australian, (I assume that, I may be incorrect) if so do you like your country? You should love your country. Australians should back their country. There is nothing wrong in that. We are from the sub continent and we want a sub continent side to win, India Pakistan or Sri Lanka. Now Former 2 are out we want Sri Lanka to win. Apart from that I want Sri Lanka to win since it is my country. If you are so narrow minded to not to understand that you should not write to columns like this.

    As per Tony’s suggestion, I also fully agree with him. Marvan Atapattu is the most technically correct batsman that Sri Lanka ever produced. It is really puzzling to understand why they keep him out from the team. Is he still struggling with that injury? I don’t think so. They didn’t give him a single match and also during the entire tour he played only one practice match and scored 25 runs after opening the innings. In my opinion he is still much better than Upul Tharanga to open the innings. Upul Tharanga has to correct his technique as Tony suggests. But here Sri Lanka has a batsman who has average over 43 in 2 world cups with 2 centuries and has a carrier average of 37 not in the side. Can’t understand that. As I mentioned he may be bit slow. But over the last decade he was the backbone of the side. He held the innings together in most instances. He has scored more than 10 centuries and most of they are for the winning side. No one talks about this since Sri Lanka is winning. But most of these wins are not comprehensive wins. Just checkout those two matches against South Africa and England. Sri Lanka didn’t have enough runs on the board. That’s where they need batsman like Marvan. I hope that the Sri Lanka team will rectify this as soon as possible. It is still not too late. But they shouldn’t drop him after giving him one match and if he fails (without any match practice). There are two more matches and they should open with Marvan in these two matches.

  • James on April 13, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    I think our neighbour Jeff is missing the whole point of this article. People in the subcontinent (and even other parts of the world) should admire srilanka because they stand for honest team work and spirit of the game while their subcontinent cousins are corrupt by other things like politics, power struggles and cheating. Cricket in India and Pakistan is far too complicated to be a game. As for us in NZ, we'd much rather see Srilanka win the world cup (only if the Kiwis can't) than see a bunch of badly behaved aussies spoil the party. Why - because everytime Srilanka toured the southern hemisphere, we have seen the best cricket for our buck. Of course we all know that the aussies are going to lose at least twice in this world cup - firstly against NZ in a day's time, and secondly in the finals. See ya later mate!

  • UMW on April 13, 2007, 8:44 GMT

    I don't get why people say australia have no flamboyance or joy for the game?

    Are people just reading anti-australia pieces in papers and not actually watching these guys play?

    Sure the sri lankans have shown a lot of flamboyance and joie de vivre.

    But have you seen the level of skill and attacking flamboyance australia have shown at every turn for gods sake? ESPECIALLY when they're under the cosh in both test and one day cricket, what other team comes out blazing and wins the game? Remember johannesburg in 2003 or the 2nd VB series final in sydney in 2006? And countless other test and ODI performances.

    The flamboyance and flair shown by gilchrist, symonds, ponting, martyn, clarke, warne, macgill, lee, mcgrath, gillespie is quite brilliant to watch especially since they seem to do it when they're under pressure and actually turn the tide by slamming it all back into the other team's face with style.

    I think the problem here is that australia have been winning for so long that people don't recognise the flamboyance and just find it "boring" and "the same old result", while SL are relatively new to this.

    By the way, I'm sri lankan.

  • amal gunasekara on April 13, 2007, 8:43 GMT

    heyy guys...im a sri lankan..we like 2 see winning.. but any way we are very proud about our team. we dont wont world cup..this is the unity game..& its so nice to see our boys are playing like unit....we have already won what we wont...

  • Alex on April 13, 2007, 8:36 GMT

    Mohan, Do you need 1000 teams playing in a world cup ?

  • Padmal k on April 13, 2007, 8:32 GMT

    hey jeff I have only one comment for you. How can you talk about sub continent RACISM when the aussies are the most racist cricket team in the present. I hope you remember the BLACK MONKEY issue.

  • Niral on April 13, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    write on Mukul!! an inspired work of cricketing appreciation... a heady mix of spin, guile and mesmerising poetic drives taking us close to understanding the essence of what pleasure this game can deliver when played without inhibition... it stirs in us memories of our own childhood enjoyment.. barefoot cricket played on dusty gravel pitches late into those tropical evenings; pure pleasure which it seems only some still remember...

  • lux on April 13, 2007, 8:27 GMT

    nice article Mukul... Sri Lanka seems to play like you write...

    don't necessarily agree with this shady Mohan character, but there is some truth to what he is saying... the sri lankan talent pool is very small (limited population, 20+ yr civil war, blissfully corrupt cricket administration, non-existent domestic comp)... but what it means is that young guys come into the team unpolished and get an extended run, no questions asked... until a Tharanga becomes a Sangakarra who becomes a... (archetype? well we'll find out 20 years from now when the inevitable Gilchrist vs Sangakarra debates unfold)...

    Kerala, in theory at least, should be able to produce a similar team (well maybe not as good as this current incarnation of SL, but remember it was 11 years since they were this good)... if Malinga was Indian would he be playing international cricket or selling coconuts?

  • rage on April 13, 2007, 8:23 GMT

    Mohan It is the most insane argument that I have ever heard. Reality check needed dude!!!! I agree with Mukul on the 'completeness' of the Sri Lankan bowling attack. If you notice that the top 3 contenders for the Cup are also very similar in their bowling attacks. New Zealand - Left Arm Swing/Seam (Franklin), Right Arm Fast (Bond), Right Arm Fast Medium (Gillespie, Martin), Allrounder bowling options (Oram, Styris etc.), Left Arm spinner (Vettori), Right arm spinner (Jeetan Patel) Australia - Right arm Fast (Tait), Left arm swing/seam (Bracken, Johnson), Fast Medium (McGrath), Left arm spin (Hogg), Right arm spin (Symonds) etc. Food for thought but these guys have a consistent bowling attack...The Indian attack also looked good on paper but thats another story altogether

  • akash on April 13, 2007, 8:22 GMT

    the reason why india doesnt produce such cricketers is POLITICS. Under 12, Under 14, Under 17 , Cooch Behar, Ranji, Deodhar ...any team selected is not selected on MERIT. It never was and never will be. The well connected ones get through....the ones who know a good coach, who know a minister, who have connections, who belong to good schools ..... whenever some state gets things in order and ensures merit based selection....you suddenly see the pipeline of good cricketers shoot up from there.... look at bangalore.... kumble, dravid, kartik, uthappa would not have got a chance if they were in UP.

  • Indian on April 13, 2007, 8:18 GMT

    Vinod

    Your comments about Tendulkar are incorrect. Attapattu might be doing this, but carrying water for the younger mates isnt what you call a team spirit and Tendulkar has done it quite often. But the fact is Tendulkar has never been dropped in his 18 yrs of career and so no question of him carrying drinks.

    The other fact is that when you loose, you become orphan and every tom, dick and harry gives a lesson or 2 to the looser. India unfortunately is paasing thru the same phase. How can you say that India is a team full of divides and differences. In fact India is a team which consists of players from different cultures, different languages, different food habits as it is a huge huge country. To play under 1 common name and 1 captain is a big task for individuals who come from different parts of the country and the remain united. However some fan would contradict this owing to India s failure, but thats hardly true. The trio of Sachin, Saurav and Rahul have constructed this team which is no doubt much better than wot it looks to be, unfortunately our country s media including the writer of this post doesnt feel so, for they have smthin to write for...

    And owing to this debacle for 2 subcontinent giants, every one is now tryin to teach them a lesson or 2 about how to play cricket or how to select teams ? Nothing can be more hillarious than this. And India - Pakistan cricket is not about money, its about passion and love of the game. The fans who watch the games do nt do it for love of money but for the joy they get it, and unfortunately we dont get that seeing Lanka play as they have huge array of SLOW bowlers who try to choke the runs -- negative cricket. They have opened bowling with a slow bowler against Aussies in SF, but unfortunately were knocked out.

  • Ravi Goonewardena on April 13, 2007, 8:14 GMT

    Mukul, Great capture which suits most of us online. No hidings. And, I salute all supporters for SRILANKAN CRICKET and they deserve it.

    Aussies, watch out...Missiles are on your way now and start producing some miracle mechanism.

  • mark de rozairo (Mark) on April 13, 2007, 8:14 GMT

    Love your article about the Sri Lankans. Have played cricket in S/L UK and Aussie. Loved the form of cricket in Lanka and UK. Unfortunately in Aust it is win at all costs, sledging etc exists in even minor club cricket. Played in a S/L team in Melb and were chased off the ground by violent opposition threatening to inflict injury with the sharp end of the wickets because we beat them "rather badly". Cricket played by the S/L team is a joy to watch no "f... words" being mouthed every time the opposition hits you for a four. I hope S/Lanka can pull the World Cup off it will be fantastic.

  • Jeff on April 13, 2007, 8:06 GMT

    The reason that most people from the sub continent prefer sri lanka to Australia is simple - the colour of the respective team's skins, ie RACISM.

  • tony on April 13, 2007, 7:58 GMT

    agree fully with vinod marvan shd play instead of tharanga,marvan is still best technical batsman in sri lka and can rotate the strike with sanath. tharanga has to iron out his technique particularly agst the stronger sides.he needs more time.go with marvan

  • Vinod Perera on April 13, 2007, 7:39 GMT

    Just one more comment for my Indian and Pakistani buddies. The difference between the sri Lankan team and other two teams from the subcontinent is the attitude. Can you imagine Sachin Tendulcar,as an extra carring water to a junior guy who is batting? I dont think so. But in Sri Lankan team these days Marvan Atapattu, a former captain is doing it. Thats the team sprit. Both Indian and Pakistan teams should learn from the Sri Lankan team. They are a one good unit. Indian and Pakistani seniors should start to do this and should blend with juniors and transfer their knowledge to them just like Sanath Jayasuriya does. It is an obervation. I cant come to a conclusion about other teams being a Sri Lankan but I think most of Sri Lankan see that difference from these 3 teams.

  • pck on April 13, 2007, 7:37 GMT

    yeh like whatever dude...it maybe exciting to watch and all..but the whole game of cricket isnt about jus pak and ind!! except commercially rhat is..which is the problem with cricket now..too much money involved!!!

  • Anonymous on April 13, 2007, 7:35 GMT

    Very well written article Mukul. But I was disappointed with the manner in which the issue of performance vs style/flamboyance was tackled. In sports I believe, 90% of the joy comes from watching a solid performance, the rest 10% from the extra fizz, joie de vivre etc. that the player brings to the field. Your article assumes that the balance is the other way round. Yes, the Sri Lankans are performing well (but way behind the Aussies) and are a joy to watch in terms of flamboyance (where the Aussies are way behind). But weight these against the above metrics and you shall see that the Aussies still come out as the team to watch and enjoy. Not that I am making a case for Australia, but I believe that this article gets its priorities wrong in what constitutes 'the joy of watching sport'.

  • Arjuna on April 13, 2007, 7:31 GMT

    …long live romance in cricket!

    I’m worried about future of cricket. 1. Where are the crowds…. Very very few fanatics…? Is it right to blame the organizing and pricing? 2. Too much clinical domination of Australians of the game. (But still the best team shall be the champs) 3. Hope cricket in Subcontinent pull their socks up…and pounce back. 4. Is cricket on the death bed in England? If so it not a good omen!

    Thanks a plenty for article and all the notes…. Proud to be a Sri Lankan as we are doing exactly the right thing required to FOSTER the Game.

  • Sam on April 13, 2007, 7:16 GMT

    Lanka does a metronomic rise in the world cricket. Good good. Good for them. But the rivalry of the GAME is between INDIA and PAKISTAN. No other rivalry comes close. when INDIA and PAKISTAN play anywhere in the world , there is tension, joy, excitement, every player from both teams gives his best, the cricket is taken to other plane. There is crowd support like never before, equal support to both teams, no music on boring bands, but the chantings for their players asking them for their best , the atmosphere is vibrant, there r lot of appeals, every six or a four is cheered, every wkt is celebrated, the celebrations that follow the victory of either team is simply superb. That is unmatched in the world.. There are nail biting encounters, there are pressures, nerve wrecking tensions all around, everything is just different and its more superb for the tv viewers. No one moves an inch when India and Pakistan play for they bring the intensity and sheer joy to the game. Pity that they are out of the world cup and its the biggest reason for this to be the most boring world cup ever. Crowds r nowhere, the subcontinent hardly discusses the game nemore, and the most awaited match of the tourney -- April 15 b/w India and Pakistan was the sell out, but now left for 2 minnows to fight out. No country can come even close to the rivalry between India and Pakistan, for this 2 countries are the supreme in the Asian cricket.....Our batting vs Pak bowling. Simply delight to watch.

  • sisira pereira on April 13, 2007, 7:09 GMT

    Oh Boy! Mukul seems to have touched a nerve of Aussie!!! Well, everybody can't take the reality in the same spirit, that is for sure...lolz

  • Vinod Perera on April 13, 2007, 7:08 GMT

    I think that Sri Lanka is going to win the world cup provided that they do one change to the batting order. They should bring back Marvan Atapattu to open the batting with Sanath Jayasuriya instead of "not that consistent" Upul Tharanga. Then with that power in batting and that powerful bowling they wil be a team to beat Australia. I still cant understand that why they keep a batsman like Marvan Atapattu out. He may be bit slow but he can be the back bone to batting that other batsman can bat around.

  • Imran A Javed on April 13, 2007, 7:04 GMT

    Mukul, being from the Pakistan, the one thing that I admire most about SL cricket is the professionalism in the selection of the team. Take any new player, be it the opener, fast bowler or middle order you can sense the MARIT from the very first match the youngster is playing and then the way they groom these talents under the experienced ones is really a treat to watch. One who knows cricket can see an academic activity going on in a test match or a ODI. And the excitement on the faces of both the mentor and the one mentored is yet some thing very different and exciting to watch. All this smile excitement and appreciating each other, gives a feeling of a real team work, the pride of being in the team with head high as if saying proudly WE ARE THE SRI LANKAK CRICKETERS. This is some thing missing in teams from India and Pakistan. Yes its funny, we are from the same Sub-Continent and yet we do not learn from each other. Irrespective of the result, there ability to fight till the end is yet another ability that I admire about them; yes you can find this ability in Australia, NZ and SA as well, but I don’t think any team has this type or do it the way the Sl do it. They take this as enjoyment and fun with the result that majority of times you will find them as winners in such type of situations. SRI LANKANS one prediction…. 2007 WC is yours.

  • Mohan on April 13, 2007, 7:04 GMT

    Chris, first of all, cool down. Domestic teams - there is no demand for that. When there is this higher level "national" team called India playing cricket all round the year, no one wants to see domestic teams and hence there is no incentive to improve them. But give them test status and instead of one single Indian team playing tests and odi's let the Karnataka and Maharashatra's start playing and obviously they will start producing teams of the quality of Sri Lanka or the current Indian team. Sure, they won't still be Australia or the old Windies. We don't have the raw material/conditions for producing fast bowlers of that quality. But what we do have is abundant raw material for producing another 20 Indian teams.

  • gops on April 13, 2007, 7:03 GMT

    yes I fully agree.They are a joy to watch even if you are not a srilankan.The whole credit goes to 2 men Arjuna Ranatunga&Arvinda de silva.They have seen ups & downs of Lankan cricket and its their contribution by winning the world cup have done wonders for grassroot cricket in lanka.Of course we cant forget jayasurya & murali for maintaining the high standards.

  • Ajith Fernando on April 13, 2007, 7:00 GMT

    It is so nice to see all these good comments about the Sri Lanka team. If they make it to the finals (which looks quite possible), positive that they will beat Aussies and bring home the World Cup after 11 years.

    One word about Chaminda Vas who is always underestimated and hardly talked about. In world cup matches, he is presently the third in the list of highest wicket takers. Only Mcgrath and Akram are ahead of him and mainly because they have played more matches. His average, economy and strike rates are almost par with Mcgrath and better than Akram. Positive that he will go past Akram before the end of the tournament.

    A real gentleman who does his business without any fuss. You hardly see them around these days.

  • Chathura on April 13, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    Cricket itself has been mass-produced in a twisted effort to force it down the throat of populations that don't really care for it. In the process, the soul & essence of cricket has been lost.

    Main culprits of this effort of course -- the ICC and BCCI. How can you expect any sort of emotional enthusiasm to prevail when the interest of the authorities is the protect the commercial interests? Threats of rival leagues? I'm not against commercialization, but you have to understand what the priorities are.

    Perhaps the relative small population of 20m in SL is a blessing in disguise, letting the sport thrive with minimal commercial interference.

  • Tim on April 13, 2007, 6:56 GMT

    I have to disagree with Mohan on the basis that it will be unfair to all other nations in the world if teams like India and Pakistan can have multiple teams. That would give them more of a chance of winning.

    I can remember a series here in Australia where they trialled having Australia A as part of the world series (which is now the tri-series). The 2 teams in the final were Australia and Australia A.

    I think if India and Pakistan have so many people to chose from, then they should be able to chose the best 11 from that. If you have 1 billion people that are potential cricketers, then all the state teams and club teams should produce a great amount of players. I think Cricket India, and Cricket Pakistan should create a format where the best players are chosen from all over the country, and then sorted into a elite league. From there, they can have tournaments and competitions, and have the best 15-20 players chosen on their squads.

    Just a thought though.

    But as a Sri Lankan, I am glad to see our boys doing well. It has taken a while for the world to stand up and realise that we are genuine contenders, and I think we have the form to beat the Aussies in the final should we progress that far.

    Go the Mighty Lion!

  • Nat on April 13, 2007, 6:47 GMT

    Yep that was a very entertaining peice to read coz it is so true. The simplicity of the Lankan team is wonderful to watch because you know they put their heart and soul into it..there is just something extra special about the lankans at this world cup. The Australians are over competetive and i guess it's workin for them coz they are the world's best atm...but i must say they arn't a likable team and just suck the joy out of the game for me! None the less may the best team win but here's to the SL team...hope they win coz i reckon they ARE the best!

  • Aussie on April 13, 2007, 6:47 GMT

    WOW Mukul, wat a piece of article. You have written article thinkin SL has already won the world cup. Seems martian forecast coming true. Okay SL are good team, they play SriLankan brand of cricket (What s tht any one knows ? ) and all good things they bring to cricket (fast bowler bowling slow), but comparing them to WI of 1980s is ridiculous and totally hillarious. could u pls list out the achievements of this SL team and compare them to WI team of 80s ? Any comparisons ? They were world beaters, this team has won a few games , they had aggressive batsmen who would hunt you on any day, frightening pace battery to unsettle your nerves when they would start their run up to the poor batsmen, a superb skipper in Clive Lloyd and a master master blaster blaster in King Richards ? Compare them to this Lankans ? Pale. Yes only Muralidharan could find himself in tht team to finish off the spinners slot, but then they dint need any spinner to do the job.

    Mukul your support for Lanka is appreciable and you are entitled to do so, but in the process you are going for overdose and minty sweetness of this team, which obviously is not. You have bashed Indians for their exit, you have bashed other teams too for your support of Lanka. Thats very unfair.

    And how do smiling and being happy is related to winning most games ? Now you should not caste silly reasons for your support to Lanka. How can you compare India team to Lanka team ? India had one off day and they paid the price. Lanka had luck on their side they got away with some tight games, no doubt they played well against NZ and WI. Slow down Mukul in your childish enthusiasm.

    I would have wondered if you had written the same thing about Lanka, had India been too in the SUper 8 s and were winning as they did 4 years back.

  • CJ on April 13, 2007, 6:32 GMT

    the difference between the aussies and the sri lankans the joy that they bring onto the field! the glum looked priority focused aussies are gonna gonna be beaten by the antics of the sri lankans!!! they bring so much more colour into the game not jus with their cricket bt with their celebrations as well!!!

  • Johanne on April 13, 2007, 6:12 GMT

    What a piece! Your homage to the Sri Lankan team is as joyful to read as they are to watch, and as humourful as the brand of cricket they bring to the world stage. We all know Murali can be an absolute riot and so can Malinga - both so unconventional and unorthodox. Even their captain has been known to display an impish sense of joy on the field. They are a talent-fuelled, joyous brigade led by one to the manner born. For these reasons, I am beginning to think they might even pull it off against the Aussies but would first like to see more metal displayed by the middle order. Should they pull it off however... will it then be the dethronement of disintegration of mind as THE mantra for cricketing success and the enthronement of joie de vivre from the heart? Would be interesting to watch.

    Making an example out of them for the Indians though is perhaps a bit unfair to the Indian players. The latter were clearly under different pressures, socio-cultural in origin (i.e. mass expectations, Greg Chappell's cricketing ethos etc). Should the Indian players have comprised the Sri Lankan team, they would probably have not got bundled out of the World Cup. They probably might even win the World Cup.

    Great piece on the whole, Mukul.

  • Desmond on April 13, 2007, 6:09 GMT

    Please excuse me for straying away from the topic of the day. I want to use your channel to express my view on the selection of the player of the match yesterday. I want to commend and congratulate the adjudicators for awarding it to Chaminda Vaz. There must have been a huge temptation to award it to Styris for his century. Being from the old school I believe that this award is to recognise the achievements of a sportsman on the day. My emphasis is on the word sportsman and sadly though today, sportsmanship is lacking in this great game of ours. Styris should have walked when he was caught behind trying to paddle sweep the ball to fine leg. Well, I can also accept other opinions that say it is ok to go by the umpires decision (and take advantage of the human aspects of an umpire) but then to turn around and also 'question' why it was not called a wide was really taking sportsmanship to its lowest brink! I am assuming that this was an element that the adjudicators took in to account in awarding it to Chaminda Vaz,acknowledging wholeheartedly that Chaminda Vaz deserved it for his excellent performance. If what I have assumed is correct, through this channel I would like to say 'good on you adjudicators - well done'

  • Chris on April 13, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    Mohan,

    Your argument is utterly nonsensical. It's not the ICC's fault at all. Do you know what having 20 good teams in one country is called? Its called having a good domestic competition! If India could even manage to muster up 20 good domestic teams then they could pick a super 11 from those 20 teams to represent india. Pffft - the idea of having more than one national team when india doesn't even have a legitimate domestic competition - are u insane?

  • SYED AHSAN ALI on April 13, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    THEY ARE GOING FOR IT. ONLY PROBLEM LIES WITH LOWER MIDDLE ORDER. NOT ENOUGH HITTERS THERE. OTHERWISE THEY CAN BEAT AUSSIES.

  • Ishan on April 13, 2007, 5:40 GMT

    Very good article by Mukul once again. Indeed Sri Lankan team seams to enjoy the game which most sides may be except Australia does not. Also it helps to have probably the best bowling line up inthis world cup so far and 3 great batsmen in Jayasuriya,Sangakkara and Jayawardena. As a Sri Lankan and as an Asian lets hope Sri Lanka continues this way and bring the world cup back to Asia after 11 years. Proud to be a Sri Lankan!!!

  • Dinesh on April 13, 2007, 5:39 GMT

    Happiness in their faces win matches for them, don't really know why they look so happy.

  • Theena on April 13, 2007, 5:27 GMT

    Hehe..I don't see how the comparison with the Windies of the 80s is warranted, but I agree on the rest of the counts.

    The only thing I want now is for SL to develop some big hitters at the depth. Chamara Silva for all his shades of Aravinda de Silva doesn't possess the big hits. Nor does Dilshan and Arnold.

    If we had that - and I hope Moody or the next coach put that as priority after the world cup - then this is just the start.

  • Mohan on April 13, 2007, 5:20 GMT

    If Sri Lanka with a population of 20 million can produce a quality cricket team, there is no reason why every state of India cannot do the same. Yes, I am not talking about single Indian team, but every state - Karnataka, TN, Maharashtra etc with populations 2-4 times that of SL should be producing such teams. After all, these states are no worse than SL in economic parameters or in level of interest in cricket and we are no different genetically/racially either. So why doesn't it happen? Simply because of this stupid nationality based format which allows a Test team for a tiny country like SL but also limits a huge nation like India to one team. So since the requirement is to produce just one team out of a billion population the system has geared itself to produce just one team out of this huge amount of raw material we have. Change the requirement to produce twenty teams instead of one and each state will be turning out a team like that of SL or the current Indian team.

    Just goes to show ICC's stupidity - they constrain a huge cricket crazy nation of one billion into producing just one team and then go around desperately trying to create teams in places like Netherlands, Canada, what have you.

  • Shamanna on April 13, 2007, 5:07 GMT

    Cannot but agree with Mukul more! There is that freshness, childlike enthusiasm as well as feeling of oneness among the team. Mood(y)'s (namesake) on the cricket field and in the dressing room seems upbeat. I also think the Mahela, Kumar,coaching and support staff combination seems right on course. Come to think of it that Marvan, Malinga Bandara & Nuwan have a fully paid holiday! The Lankans remind us of the West Indiesu of yore under Super cat Clive H Llyold!

  • Jasdeep on April 13, 2007, 5:04 GMT

    It is true that the Sri Lankans appear to possess a constant and refreshing enjoyment of cricket - one that seems to be sadly lacking in many of todays cricketers. Their verve and variety will take them a long way in this world cup, but, unfortunately, this enthusiasm doesn't always translate into wins on the board.

    I can only hope that they do not face Australia in the semis and get into the final, as the interest would skyrocket if the Sri Lankans were to make it all the way. Asia is, for the most part, behind the Lankans.

    Having said that, GO AUSTRALIA

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  • Jasdeep on April 13, 2007, 5:04 GMT

    It is true that the Sri Lankans appear to possess a constant and refreshing enjoyment of cricket - one that seems to be sadly lacking in many of todays cricketers. Their verve and variety will take them a long way in this world cup, but, unfortunately, this enthusiasm doesn't always translate into wins on the board.

    I can only hope that they do not face Australia in the semis and get into the final, as the interest would skyrocket if the Sri Lankans were to make it all the way. Asia is, for the most part, behind the Lankans.

    Having said that, GO AUSTRALIA

  • Shamanna on April 13, 2007, 5:07 GMT

    Cannot but agree with Mukul more! There is that freshness, childlike enthusiasm as well as feeling of oneness among the team. Mood(y)'s (namesake) on the cricket field and in the dressing room seems upbeat. I also think the Mahela, Kumar,coaching and support staff combination seems right on course. Come to think of it that Marvan, Malinga Bandara & Nuwan have a fully paid holiday! The Lankans remind us of the West Indiesu of yore under Super cat Clive H Llyold!

  • Mohan on April 13, 2007, 5:20 GMT

    If Sri Lanka with a population of 20 million can produce a quality cricket team, there is no reason why every state of India cannot do the same. Yes, I am not talking about single Indian team, but every state - Karnataka, TN, Maharashtra etc with populations 2-4 times that of SL should be producing such teams. After all, these states are no worse than SL in economic parameters or in level of interest in cricket and we are no different genetically/racially either. So why doesn't it happen? Simply because of this stupid nationality based format which allows a Test team for a tiny country like SL but also limits a huge nation like India to one team. So since the requirement is to produce just one team out of a billion population the system has geared itself to produce just one team out of this huge amount of raw material we have. Change the requirement to produce twenty teams instead of one and each state will be turning out a team like that of SL or the current Indian team.

    Just goes to show ICC's stupidity - they constrain a huge cricket crazy nation of one billion into producing just one team and then go around desperately trying to create teams in places like Netherlands, Canada, what have you.

  • Theena on April 13, 2007, 5:27 GMT

    Hehe..I don't see how the comparison with the Windies of the 80s is warranted, but I agree on the rest of the counts.

    The only thing I want now is for SL to develop some big hitters at the depth. Chamara Silva for all his shades of Aravinda de Silva doesn't possess the big hits. Nor does Dilshan and Arnold.

    If we had that - and I hope Moody or the next coach put that as priority after the world cup - then this is just the start.

  • Dinesh on April 13, 2007, 5:39 GMT

    Happiness in their faces win matches for them, don't really know why they look so happy.

  • Ishan on April 13, 2007, 5:40 GMT

    Very good article by Mukul once again. Indeed Sri Lankan team seams to enjoy the game which most sides may be except Australia does not. Also it helps to have probably the best bowling line up inthis world cup so far and 3 great batsmen in Jayasuriya,Sangakkara and Jayawardena. As a Sri Lankan and as an Asian lets hope Sri Lanka continues this way and bring the world cup back to Asia after 11 years. Proud to be a Sri Lankan!!!

  • SYED AHSAN ALI on April 13, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    THEY ARE GOING FOR IT. ONLY PROBLEM LIES WITH LOWER MIDDLE ORDER. NOT ENOUGH HITTERS THERE. OTHERWISE THEY CAN BEAT AUSSIES.

  • Chris on April 13, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    Mohan,

    Your argument is utterly nonsensical. It's not the ICC's fault at all. Do you know what having 20 good teams in one country is called? Its called having a good domestic competition! If India could even manage to muster up 20 good domestic teams then they could pick a super 11 from those 20 teams to represent india. Pffft - the idea of having more than one national team when india doesn't even have a legitimate domestic competition - are u insane?

  • Desmond on April 13, 2007, 6:09 GMT

    Please excuse me for straying away from the topic of the day. I want to use your channel to express my view on the selection of the player of the match yesterday. I want to commend and congratulate the adjudicators for awarding it to Chaminda Vaz. There must have been a huge temptation to award it to Styris for his century. Being from the old school I believe that this award is to recognise the achievements of a sportsman on the day. My emphasis is on the word sportsman and sadly though today, sportsmanship is lacking in this great game of ours. Styris should have walked when he was caught behind trying to paddle sweep the ball to fine leg. Well, I can also accept other opinions that say it is ok to go by the umpires decision (and take advantage of the human aspects of an umpire) but then to turn around and also 'question' why it was not called a wide was really taking sportsmanship to its lowest brink! I am assuming that this was an element that the adjudicators took in to account in awarding it to Chaminda Vaz,acknowledging wholeheartedly that Chaminda Vaz deserved it for his excellent performance. If what I have assumed is correct, through this channel I would like to say 'good on you adjudicators - well done'

  • Johanne on April 13, 2007, 6:12 GMT

    What a piece! Your homage to the Sri Lankan team is as joyful to read as they are to watch, and as humourful as the brand of cricket they bring to the world stage. We all know Murali can be an absolute riot and so can Malinga - both so unconventional and unorthodox. Even their captain has been known to display an impish sense of joy on the field. They are a talent-fuelled, joyous brigade led by one to the manner born. For these reasons, I am beginning to think they might even pull it off against the Aussies but would first like to see more metal displayed by the middle order. Should they pull it off however... will it then be the dethronement of disintegration of mind as THE mantra for cricketing success and the enthronement of joie de vivre from the heart? Would be interesting to watch.

    Making an example out of them for the Indians though is perhaps a bit unfair to the Indian players. The latter were clearly under different pressures, socio-cultural in origin (i.e. mass expectations, Greg Chappell's cricketing ethos etc). Should the Indian players have comprised the Sri Lankan team, they would probably have not got bundled out of the World Cup. They probably might even win the World Cup.

    Great piece on the whole, Mukul.