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April 27, 2007

World Cup 2007

The moments belong to Sri Lanka

Kamran Abbasi
With the wicket of Makhaya Ntini, Lasith Malinga became the first bowler in ODIs to get four wickets in four balls, South Africa v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Guyana, March 28, 2007
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When Malcolm Speed admits something isn't right you can bet your life that it's horribly wrong. After spending most of the last few weeks defending this turgid tournament, he now accepts that the format is too long. It is possible to create a format that incorporates associate members, gives the better teams less chance of being hijacked, and is done and dusted in thirty days. It took me five minutes to think of such a format, and I'm sure anybody reading this blog could come up with something similar.

I've seen every World Cup so far and I have no doubt that this is the most tedious ever--and not because Pakistan were knocked out. The semi-finalists were decided too quickly, as were the semi-finals themselves. The business end of the tournament hasn't done the business. A collaboration between the ICC and the local organising committee has managed to alienate fans and kill the atmosphere. The people of the Caribbean deserved better.

At least the best two teams have reached the final, which could be a classic, but even then will struggle to sweeten the bitter taste this tournament has created. Australia have been truly formidable, extending their remarkable record in World Cup cricket. If they win on Sunday, who could begrudge them their brilliant success? Do McGrath, Gilchrist, Hayden, and Ponting deserve any less?

But for each over-whelming favourite there is an over-whelmingly supported underdog. Hundreds of millions of cricket fans will be rooting for Mahela's Magicians simply because it would be great to see somebody other than Australia win. More than that the magic moments of this World Cup--Malinga's four in four and the final-ball defeat of England--have belonged to Sri Lanka. There is a variety in their bowling--slingers, swingers, and doosras--that gives them the best chance of humbling Australia. That's before we get into the poetic justice of Murali triumphing over the country that has brought him most humilaition.

Australia have been awesome but the moments have belonged to Sri Lanka. Either team would be a deserving winner. Take your pick, power or magic? I choose magic.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (May 4, 2007, 5:49 GMT)

The moments, according to Kamran Abbassi that were supposed to belong to Sri Lanka were actually snatched away by the Aussies.The Aussies are celebrating, enjoying and cherishing those moments of victory with joy, whereas the Sri Lankan players have no clue whether they would be enjoying or regretting those moments when they will reach home. They are still stuck in London due to the cancellation of flights and problems back home. With the cricket WC curtain pulled down, this thread has also lost its charm and the urge to continue and flow with the feelings of the people on this blog. In fact this thread is drifting aimlessly without any direction, hence we need to move away from here to a new topic.

Wasim Saqib, I appreciate the gesture that you have shown in support by dedicating the whole post on the issue of hurling tasteless and insipid personal abuses for no reason and you are right that its simply due to the fact they are unable to match the wits in a decent manner and are obviously envious for no reason. Durrani has once again proved that he can stoop low and remain a petty person and he can continue with his rona dhona aur naak surakna. May be he needs a Peer Phakir sort of person to bless him from behind.

And, lemme make it clear for those who think I hate Punjabi's or calling a paindoo is racist remark! In real life some of my best friends are Punjabis and we get along extremely well. Its not that they told me but, its a common notion that the word "paindoo" is a pubjabi word and it is used in Punjabi by Punjabis for those who live in small villages which are referred in Punjabi as "Pind" or "Chak" woteva, hence the "ignorant rustic folks" are referred as Paindoos. Its not a foreign word, I mean its not from Urdu or Pushto but, it is a Punjabi word. And this is not racism as the same Punjabi (race) calls the rustic ignorant villagers as Paindoos. I wonder why it being viewed as a taboo? It is not a derogatory remark but a literal meaning of naive and ignorant villager. As regards ziyadatee, its a common notion that those who have experienced it, talk more about it. In Durrani's opinion I am the bully, the abuser and the oppressor where as he is the poor victim who has been subjugated and oppressed. tsk, tsk, tsk.

As regards making fun of accents, actually its not fun but, pun and its not just restricted to punjabi, that I make pun of in a light hearted manner, but there are so many languages and dialects that I do, including the way our own Pathans make blunders and bloopers when they speak Urdu or the way the Memons speak Urdu or how our mosque's Gujarati Imam speaks English. He makes every single person laugh and single kid giggle when he says: "peeepal come faawud and do nat estay in da bayck side" and, he also keeps asking them to "make a estate line and nat estande in sami-circles." And its so funny the way he yells at seesters on the Eid day while he is giving the sermon and they are talking loudly and he yells at them by saying "seeesters estaap taakin and leesun care fooly bee caaz what I am taakin is vary impotent". And even more funny when he asks people to follow him the salat with "sickas ekastra takbeers" and he goes on describing the details and again yelling at seesters to estaap taakin. Brudda Ashaq, I am sure you would enjoy this scenario which I have observed and wrote it in the memoirs and I can send it to you through email, i.e., if you want to read it. :-)

It also amuses me the way the French speak "Hinglish." and I never hesitate for a moment whenever I get an opportunity to remind them of their "Hinglish Hairistocracy." The French try to stuff the alphabet "H" where it is not needed and don't use it where it is supposed to be used. They get confused between the "H" muet and "H" aspiré. The "H" muet is silent -- the word acts exactly as if it began with a vowel. This means that contractions and liaisons are done as if the alphabet "H" is not there. Here is a classic example of how they say, "I am hungry and I wanna eat." high am angry hand high wanna heat.

Its a matter of how you perceive criticism and in what spirit you take that comment or the pun that is intended. Here in Canada on the national TV they make pun of the Prime Minister in public and they do it right in front of him on his face. If Moin Akhtar or Anwar Maqsood try to ridicule the President of Pakistan in public and right in front of him on his face, they will be persecuted and will spend the rest of their lives in jail. Enjoying a pun requires the recognition and appreciation of sense of humour and also the finesse to feel it and perceive it rather than sulking and brooding on sadness. And calling a spade, a spade must be taken in its right spirit. Allama Iqbal said:

Apnay bhee khafaa mujh say hain, bay ganay bhee na khush Mai zehr-e-hila hil ko kabhee keh na saka khund.

Posted by Manju - Australia on (May 4, 2007, 4:47 GMT)

I am Sri Lankan, and was not surprised at our loss. Don’t get me wrong now, I am a big SL fan, and would like to see them win every time. But the bottom line is; we were not good enough on the day. Does the SL have the ability, yes, but did they make it count, no. Why? No consistency…

Good on them for making it to the final. Had they won, would I have been satisfied… No! I want them to be as good as or better than Oz. I believe Aussies have set the gold standard.

What is encouraging is that the SL team is headed in the right direction. What is needed from the SL team is a lot more effort and commitment. What is needed from the SL fans is a realistic assessment of their team.

On current form, SL is good enough to occupy the 2nd or 3rd slot in one day rankings. This was of course reflected in our final appearance. To win the cup and consistently outperform other top teams… Little bot more to go I think…

Still very proud of the team though… and living in hope…

Cheers, Manju

Posted by Shazad - Washington DC on (May 4, 2007, 2:58 GMT)

Dear Wasim: You haven't learned from history once you dont respect the mandate then we saw East Pakistan. You need to learn and start respecting right of your brothers and behave like human.

Posted by EAMIRAN on (May 4, 2007, 2:55 GMT)

For those comparing Jeff Thompson's bowling action to that of Malingas, please note that the only similarity is that the bowling arm does not go up and forward prior to and through the delivery stride. It remains down and behind or astride the right leg while the body rocks back, before catapulting through. The similarity ends there. The approach and run up are very different, as is the position and height of the bowling arm relative to the shoulder. Whereas Thompson's arm was almost perpendicular to the ground upon delivery, Malinga's is at an acute angle to the ground, making his action "round arm". The former also had a short, bustling run-up with quick arm rotation, while the latter has a long, surging sprint to the wicket. Infact if there is a similarity, it is more to Waqar Younis and not Jeff Thompson. Both have/had long run-ups, low arm actions, skiddy pace, and late reverse swing owing largely to similar actions.

To all the conspiricy theorists out there, I apologize for bursting the bubble but Thompson's action was generally clean, as is Malinga's, as was Waqar's. My observations are based on the fact that I have actually seen all of them bowl, and not on hearsay.

Lets move onto more unpleasant topics, that of the incessant labeling, accusations, stereotypically derogatory remarks of 1 ethnicity in particular. Yes, we all know what I am writing about. I have written about it before, but it continues unabated, and will probably do so for a very long time. Those who do not openly criticize, hide behind those that do, patting the other on the back. I have also noticed that the ethnicity that is "lovingly and in good-nature" criticized so heavily has not used the same deregotary and stereotypical ethnic rebuttal tactic in retaliation. That is commendable; however since I am all for equality, I suggest we call each other, henceforth by the following:

All Punjabis = Paindoos (dumb villagers - repeated ad infinitum on various posters) All Pathans = Akhroats (walnut i.e;thick skulled, stubborn and stupid) All Baloch = Jahil Junglees (illiterate and wild) All Sindhis = Lazy F#$%'s ( No translation required - sorry couldn't think of an apt term in Urdu) All Kashmiris = Durpoke (scared) All Others i.e; Urdu daans = keeray makoray(insects) = mutarrway (non stop yakkers ala Javed Miandad) = bunyay (No - Not the Australian coniferous tree) (take your pick). All Bohra's (of which many reside in Canada) = with a name ending in "Wallah" why pick on them.

According to the above Imran Khan must be a dumb, thick skulled, stubborn and stupid villager.

Let the love flow.

Long live Pakistan.

Posted by Wajid, USA on (May 4, 2007, 2:24 GMT)

My dear Pakistanis, Do not expect anything good. We are a corrupt nation and have a corrupt board headed by corrupt "tola". Our cricket saw few good years only because of Imran Khan who did not tolerate this BS. Current administration is so corrupt that they will not hire anybody who is honest because they will not have their safarshi cricketers in the team that way. From top to bottom, there is nothing but corruption in Pakistan.

Look at Bangladesh. I think Aaqib should accept their offer and never come back to Pakistan. We have ruined his career once already and Aaqib should know this better.

Posted by Kanchana on (May 4, 2007, 2:14 GMT)

Hi,

Was Gilly's squash ball inside the glove to help the grip in batting a legal move. I am hoping one of you bloggers would have the guts to write about it unless I haven't seen it. Question must be asked, it is legal if not is ICC planning to take any actions?

cricket loving fan, Kanchana

Posted by joe on (May 4, 2007, 1:33 GMT)

Please check the rules of cricket. There is absolutely nothing banning the use of the squash ball.

Posted by Chris on (May 4, 2007, 1:02 GMT)

Luxman you are an embarrassment. Please stop embarrassing yourself publicly. Gilchrist can put whatever he wants in his glove when he bats. Why? Because it’s legal. Do you think when people first started using inner gloves they were accused of cheating? Well maybe they were by people like you who are ignorant and uneducated and finally and worst of all, can’t pay respect to a team who deserved their win. Take your sour grapes somewhere else mate. I’m sure there are a million blogs all over the world full of mouth frothing cricket supporters who bash Australia on the Internet because their team can’t touch them on the field.

Posted by WASIM SAQIB on (May 4, 2007, 0:57 GMT)

The only way to improve our cricket is by improving the domestic cricket, if we look at the current domestic structure there are too many teams and most of the Players who are members of the National team do not participate in the domestic games, therefore the selectors can never judge their form properly. Similarly the young players specially batsmen cannot test their skills against quality bowlers as most of the regular bowlers in Pakistan team ,with the exception of a few do not play in domestic cricket.

I think that there should be only six teams in any major domestic tournament and each team should play the other at least three times, on different conditions and the timing of this tournament should be such that no International match should fall in that period so that maximum number of Senior players should participate, in fact it should be made compulsory for all the senior players to participate in this event.

I was looking at the statistics of the practice match played at the national Camp, the top three batsmen in the domestic circuit Imran Farhat, Salman Butt and Hasan Raza all scored ducks because this was the first time they were facing Asif, Sami and Umar gul in a domestic match, Salman and Imran were scoring almost at an average near 100 in the domestic matches and Hasan Raza was also scoring heavily, the first match they play against quality bowling they all fail.

It should be compulsory for all the players to play in domestic matches and the tournament should be closely monitored by the selectors and strictly controlled by PCB as far as the playing conditions and umpiring and composition of the different teams is concerned.

It will not be a bad Idea to start a National Draft for cricket and these teams should be privatized on regional basis, and the rules of the draft should make sure that all the teams should get equal # of players every year and all the teams should be balanced. The players should get enough money to make a decent living, I think if the authority’s plan it properly they will get some good sponsors, only the first year will be difficult as far as the finances are concerned but in the following years it will survive on its own.

The Australian Pura Cup is played on these lines and has been successful. The biggest advantage of privatizing the whole tournament is that we will get rid of PCB’s red tape. A private sector in Partnership with local authorities will result in better equipment & training facilities for all the players and each team can hire its own coaching staff(Ex- cricketers?). By making it regional, the tournament will generate more interest from the public and will spark rivalries amongst the teams.

Posted by WASIM SAQIB on (May 3, 2007, 23:48 GMT)

Raja Karachi, Last time I checked Karachi was still a part of Pakistan and any Pakistani can choose to live wherever he wants,so you are nobody to raise any objection if anybody from Punjab or any other province resides in Karachi,although I dont believe you your leaders are working on the footsteps of hitler and they have brain washed most of the people,I am not least impressed by your clownish and pathetic attempt to portray yourself as a Punjabi in fact it makes me laugh. In your post several times while referring to Karachites you used "we" instead of "them". Also you said you are from Sialkot and yet you dont know that there is no KPT in Punjab. Since you donot belong to Punjab and probably have never lived there either as it is clearly evident from your knowledge about Punjab so whatever you have stated,is based on assumptions and propaganda.As far as the terrorism is concerned,my brother I have posted some links in My previous entry do read them,and here is one more for you: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/mqm_factsheet.htm#1 The violence your leaders have unleased in your own city is not hidden from anybody in the world,in the above link you will find some interesting similarities between your leader and Hitler please do read it.

Javed-California Liaqat Ali Khan was assinated by an Afgan National named Saad Akbar for us he was a beloved leader. If you want to accuse just for the sake of it then People also say that Liaqat Ali Khan was responsible for the death of Mr. Jinnah. Yahya Khan,Ayub Khan,Bhutto and Mujib were not Punjabis they were all responsible for the demise of East Pakistan,Its a shame you guys dont have the courage to accept reality.You forgot to mention the names of Sami,Kineria,Afridi,Younis and Miandad they also never looked any better than Rana,Butt,or Malik.Infact the four commentators hired by 10 sports from Pakistan are all from Punjab.I know you guys dont want to see reality and accept the truth, but I am here I will make you see it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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