A reptilian visitor
Slithering reptiles are not uncommon in this part of the world. In fact, Sri Lanka is known for its overwhelming population of snakes and high incidences of snakebites. If you happen to stay in the more rural areas, chances are you will spot at least one lurking in the corner.
Between the two Twenty20 matches in Hambantota, there was a chance to relax at the resort hotel in Tissamaharama, tucked away off the main road and surrounded by farmland. Due to poor internet connectivity in the room, I was forced to set up shop in the lobby with my laptop. At some point, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. Sure, it was a windy afternoon, with the sound of rustling leaves and fluttering curtains, but there was something suspicious about the movement behind my shoulder. I turned around and saw a tiny snake trying to climb the French window just a few feet away from me. Now, for someone who freaks out at the sight of snakes even on TV, or even rodents for that matter, oddly, I didn't jump out of my skin. I stared at the creature incredulously, trying to comprehend the situation.
Sanity finally made its presence felt after a few seconds. I alerted the receptionist, and from nowhere, at least five hotel staff sprung into action (a few with tools not normally associated with snake-catching), attempting to chase away the baby reptile intruder. The snake hurriedly slithered outside and into the nearby bushes, unharmed. A staff member told me that it was of a harmless, non-poisonous variety.
Recent cricket tours to Sri Lanka - especially one involving England - have had their share of snake-sightings. During a tour match in 2007 in Colombo, a cobra was spotted in a corner beyond the boundary, at the stroke of lunch, sending eight players scurrying away from the pavilion. At Dambulla on the same tour, some England players also came across a King Cobra (or so it was claimed) during a training run near their hotel. The 'snake-charm' must have worked, as England went on to win their next three games.
Taking that into consideration, if a snake-sighting is a good omen for cricketers, then what of cricket writers?
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo