Friday, June 19, 2009

Sports and Regional Pride

With the Wimbledon Tennis tournament two days away, the general craziness over football (next year's World Cup, the ongoing Federation Cup, Ronaldo's trade from ManU to Real Madrid, Drogba's suspension, etc.), the World 20/20 Cricket tournament currently concluding in England does not perhaps hold the sports enthusiasts' attention very much. The cricket aficionados even dismiss the 20-overs only format of cricket as an aberration of that so-called gentleman's game, Test Cricket with its lengthy format moving at a stately pace, tea-breaks and all.

In any case 20/20 cricket is thriving and here to stay. Its international championship is played every two years. India won the inaugural championship in 2007. The 2009 finals takes place in London on Sunday 21st June (14:00 GMT, Star Cricket). The finalists - Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Pakistan upset the favourites, South Africa, in the first semi-final. Sri Lanka, and a young man named Dilshan, cooked West Indies' goose in last evening's second semis. As a south Asian, even though I am more a fan of tennis and football, it is a matter of sheer pride that two South Asian countries will be battling it out for the honours on Sunday. South Asia, usually in the news for its poverty and other sundry malaise, reigns supreme at least in that stately game of Cricket. Watching these young men play cricket (well not all of them are that young; Sri Lanka's hero, Sanath Jayasuria, will be 40 in less than 2 weeks)I think of how the colonized have thrashed the colonials at their own game, how a sport has given young men undreamed-of opportunities, and wish we could solve all our problems through a cricket match, or a match in any other sports for that matter.

Sri Lanka is in the headlines these days not because of Jayasuria and company, but because of the recent crushing of the LTTE rebels by the Sri Lankan Army and the consequent hullabaloo raised by righteous hypocritical "human rights" groups. Pakistan has been in the news for a long time: Benazir, Talibans, Musharraf, US's "fight against terrorism" and all of that.

But come Sunday afternoon, on a green oval at Lord's cricket ground in London, the cricket teams of these two countries will face each other sans guns, sans religious fanaticism, sans hatred. Just a a sense of pure competition, the will to win, an opportunity to give one's best. Whoever wins, I personally am a Sri Lanka fan, the trophy will be held high with pride and the world of cricket will marvel at the heroics of these young men - from South Asia!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though I am a football fan (Barcelona, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and AC Milan) and of course, my own team Friend's Club of Kupandol where I have spent six years playing as Mid-fielder, cricket is no less interesting sports.
When both our South Asian friends are competing each other in final, it is our pride, too.
As the writer has indicated, we not only know how to go for destrution, we are also best at achieving the success in friendly and peaceful manner. Let Nepali politicians grasp this very fact.

Bishal Shah

Subodh said...

Yes, I can attest to Bishal's football prowess, he was good as a kid in Moscow!

What about Olympic "Dani Biu"?

Anonymous said...

As always, I am for Pakistan to ensure that our neighbour learns from wise lessons. If Sri Lanka comes in then I would prefer sending an obituary and deep condolences to India after the game is over.

HORATIO said...

I actually watched "dandi biu" being played on TV the other day. It was a Nepali channel so I'm not sure if there were only Nepali teams involved. But, hey, all it needs is a bit of PR and we may very well get dandi biu introduced into the 2016 Olympics. 2012-London is probably too cold for dandi biu anyway.

Pakistan beat the favourites Sri Lanka last night. The cricket world should now be afraid of Afridi!!