This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Following a string of unfathomable wins over Australia and Sri Lanka's immediate about turn after that game in Hobart, the BCCI has questioned the authenticity of the current Sri Lankan team. Although many pundits are calling this an outlandish PR move to take some heat off its own team, the BCCI maintains it has long suspected this team isn't quite what you expect from a typical Sri Lankan side.
"Our initial suspicions were raised when our analyst pointed out that Dinesh Chandimal had only three names. Just three names for a Sri Lankan cricketer? We were astonished. From then on we kept a close eye on him," said a BCCI official who wished to remain unnamed.
"A typical Sri Lankan youngster comes in the form of a Kapugedera or Mubarak. As soon as they hit the international area they turn to jelly. But this Chandimal has been scoring runs everywhere like a consummate pro. It doesn't add up. Young Sri Lankan cricketers aren't meant to score runs in difficult conditions or guide the team home. Clearly questions need to be asked."
The BCCI also claimed the current Sri Lankan side was atypical in terms of composition. "Honestly, we might as well be playing England all over again. Five fast men in an XI? Do they have no respect for their roots as a subcontinental side at all? Arjuna Ranatunga would be gobsmacked. Sachin said many times that he was hoping to target Dilshan but he didn't even have a bowl. Frankly, we are going to have to think twice before offering them another cash-cow Test series."
"They've even dropped Murali and he's only 39". When told Murali retired on his own accord, the BCCI representative looked confused. "Retired? At 39? Ludicrous.
"The Channel 9 team didn't even know half the Sri Lankan players at the start of the series. That is how it should be. Now everyone's talking about Thirimanne and Perera, and spending entire commentary stints asking Tony Greig how to pronounce their names correctly."
The reversal of fortunes after the Kohli game made the BCCI more suspicious. "How did Malinga turn around his game so quickly? Are we looking into the possibility that his mop of hair forms a protective shield that prevents anything from denting his confidence? Damn right we are.
"And when was the last time you saw another Sri Lankan with something like that do? You want to talk about authentic then you don't need to go much further than Sidath Wettimuny's lovely side parting.
"And how is it that they are beating Australia so consistently? They've been here for just three weeks. We've been here for three months! Maths never lies."
The BCCI official said the only thing remotely close to being in line with the casual and carefree way of the islanders was the nonchalant fielding of Malinga and Chandimal. "It's certainly been a breath of fresh air, and good on them. Malinga's fielding has been casual to the point of not caring. They just kept smiling. This is the Sri Lanka we know and understand. I applaud them."
But he was less cheerful when speaking about new captain Mahela Jayawardene. "He is leading the side like he was injected with a cocktail of ex-Aussie captain genes. He is just too involved with everything. Dilshan and Sangakkara were exemplary Sri Lankan captains. They knew the team was meant to be seen and not heard. These are Sri Lankans, not an XI of Steve Waugh's disciples. I just hope Dhoni doesn't get too influenced by this sort of rabid disregard for your team's heritage."
"Don't get me wrong, I like Sri Lanka, sort of, but it's unfair to others when Sri Lanka do not perform to expectations. This is a world event and you want each country to represent their cricketing culture. Sri Lanka used to be this fun-loving team filled with great characters like Gurusinha and Arjuna that never won much. I think Sri Lanka need to take a good hard look at themselves and ask whether it's really worth sacrificing their kottu and biriyani for a few quick singles."
The BCCI have stated it will continue to monitor the situation and lodge an official complaint with Greig - the foremost authority on "the little Sri Lankans" - should the situation get worse.
"As a leading entity in cricket, our concern is for the global game. We are deeply worried about the death of this once-mediocre cricket side that used to be terrible away from home. Not only have Sri Lanka lost their charm, but I suspect many will consider this a terrible slant on the spirit of the game."
Damith Samarakoon is a Sri Lankan cricket fanatic living in Sydney. He blogs regularly at www.theflyslip.net.
All "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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