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This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Scene: Dilshan has summoned his former captains and Geoff Marsh to the middle at Pallekele in the fading light.
Dilshan: You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loose cannon.
Sangakkara: Loose cannon... reminds me of the award-winning poem I penned back in kindergarten about the last cannon fired on these great shores, that gave birth to unity and harmony amongst all Sri Lankans.
Mahela: Why are we doing this at Pallekele? Couldn't we do this at the SSC ? You know I get nervous when I'm out of Colombo. It's getting dark too. I nearly tripped on that patch of grass.
Marsh: All right, mate, what's going on here? I thought this was just a friendly chat.
Sangakkara: Dont fret, Geoff. This is your initiation into the wolf pack. All in good time.
Dilshan: I tend to think of myself as a one-man bag of crazy. But after I saw you had flown all the way from Australia to see your son, Geoff, when Foxtel had it on HD, I knew you were one of my own. And my wolf pack, it grew by one.
Mahela: Actually, first it was me in the wolf pack, if you want to get technical about it. Then Sanga and then you, Dilshan. So "technically" what you said was pretty loose.
Marsh: Umm, okay, so I have a few ideas about the team. We should try to rebuild it around youth.
Sangakkara: Youth? You poor fool. The youth of this nation are disillusioned and spent. Their 20 million hearts no longer have the deep desire or spiritual capacity to want to support Sri Lankan cricket. These are the psychological and philosophical barriers we must overcome before we can reach the epitome of Sri Lankanism again.
Dilshan: Four of us wolves jetting about the world's capitals together. Looking for 200 in the first innings, and a match-winning bowler.
Marsh: Well, Tom Moody did say I should try to immerse myself in your culture. Sanga, what is that you are wearing?
Sangakkara: This is the traditional dress of the ancient Royal Kings from Kandy. The Nilame suit. It is resplendent, is it not? The kings who wore this were without fear. Visionaries. They had the hearts and minds of their people on a string. This is what Sri Lankans desire now, deep down, even if they don't know it themselves. The Aussies have their baggy green. I propose we make this our Test-match attire, to spark the love for the nation in our fans. So that we shall rise from the ashes like the Phoenix.
Marsh: Surely, it isn't that bad?
Mahela: Bad? It is worse. Have you seen the amount of grass on our home pitches lately? That SSC pitch was the worst I've seen in decades.
Dilshan: Tonight, I would like to make a toast.
Pulls out a switch blade
(Everyone): Whoa, what are you doing?
Proceeds to shave off his goatee
Dilshan: I want to shed our past, like I just shed my facial hair. Then run naked into the night like the wolves that we are. Now, you.
Hands Mahela the knife
Mahela: But I've never had facial hair... plus, it's a chilly night for all that, don't you think?
Suddenly a podgy silver-haired man is seen through the darkness
Mahela: Who's there? Show yourself or I will stab you with this knife.
Stranger: Try it, you will probably miss, with your IPL elbow.
It is I, Arjuna. Did you really think you could hide this from me? I have eyes and ears everywhere. What's going on here? Talking in secret about renewing IPL contracts, are we?
Sangakkara: Rubbish. It is exactly this type of divisive mentality that has threatened the core of this nation. Forcing someone to choose. Never. Man must exist by free will or not at all.
Dilshan: Arjuna, the wolf pack is full. You can only have four at a time. I mean, have you ever seen a pack with five wolves. How would that even work?
Marsh: Actually, I was just about to tell these three that cancelling their IPL contracts is the first thing that we need to do.
Arjuna: Shhh, Geoff, there is no need for more words.
*Places both hands on Marsh's cheeks and stares at him intensely*
Is that you, God?
Mahela drops the knife on his little toe and screams in agony. His sounds are broken only by Arjuna's bellowing laughter, which echoes through the night
Damith Samarakoon is a Sri Lankan cricket fanatic living in Sydney. He blogs regularly at www.theflyslip.net
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