08 October 2012

The morning after the World Cup Final

Mahela Jayawardena has resigned.  That’s a personal choice and it has to be respected.  Soon we’ll know why and then we can talk about it. For now, the man who led Sri Lanka to an incredible run in the T-20 World Cup has stepped down.  Post mortems will come later no doubt.  There will probably be a blame-game.  Lasith Malinga will be maligned. Match-fixing questions will be raised perhaps.  All this is incidental to the issue at hand.

Mahela resigned.  No one will know if he would still have resigned had Sri Lanka won the World Cup.  But if loss is reason enough that’s a signal to all those who hold high posts whose tenure has been marked with failure.  Mahela didn’t fail, no.  But compared to this blip on Sunday, there are enormous blunders committed by many in powerful places that warrant resignation, if not sacking. 

Resignation is a personal choice.  Sacking is not.  I doubt anyone is asking for Mahela’s head at this point.  Perhaps it is best; perhaps this is not the correct time.  Either way, this move makes it possible for a younger replacement to mature to levels necessary to lead the team to glory in the 50 over version of the World Cup a couple of years from now.

What of expectations?  Well, to put it brutally, they were buried.  What of the morning after?  It’s the same world, same set of problems, same reasons for hope, same fears.  Give or take a little.  There’s no devastation. 

I asked around.  What if we had lost to India?  What if it was Australia that beat us?  One answer to both questions: ‘Worse!’ 

Why?  I don’t know, I’ve not done a comprehensive survey.  But if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the rivalries with those two countries are more intense.  It’s probably got something to do with attitude.  Airs.  Gamesmanship as opposed to sportsmanship. 

The West Indies are different.  The match preview on www.cricinfo.com headlined the contest as ‘Calypso vs. Baila’.  There’s commonality there.  It’s probably the closest one can get to a home-vs-home game in international cricket.  That’s amazing, considering that the two teams reside at two ends of the world.  It’s possible that the crowds cheered a fraternal team, but my gut feeling is that had we played India or Australia and lost they’d still be there for Mahela and his men, who entertained and raised hopes although they fell at the end.  They were backed all the way.  It was not their day.  So what?   

Sarinda Unamboowe in a Facebook update, perhaps put it best: ‘Can we just blame it on the dancing girls and get on with it?  West Indies were the deserved winners.  Well done Sri Lanka. There are lots of positives we can take away from this.  Let’s build from here.’

Mahela led.  From the front. To the end.  West Indies proved to be the better team.  Sri Lankans were naturally disappointed.  And yet, when the last wicket fell and indeed when it defeat was clearly written on the wall, the crowds did not leave.  They stayed on. They stayed when the Windies danced.  They cheered the winners.  They cheered the losers.  Sri Lanka was not the better team on Sunday.  Sri Lanka, nevertheless, remained a great nation of cricket lovers. 



Anonymous said...

I do not agree with Mahela's resignation. A similar resignation took place after the World Cup finals. That was Sangakkara. As a result the Sri Lankan cricket team had to undergo a terrible time. Ther shouldn't be a repetition of the same after T20 finals. Mahela should withdraw his resignation, in good faith.

Lovely said...

To all those who think India didn't do well in this tournament.... India lost fewer matches than any other team in this tournament, and has the best win/loss ratio. But the Irony is they couldn't even qualify for the semi-final due to an unwritten understanding between Australia and Pakistan. It would have been a fitting final had India played West Indies in the final.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that feelings against Indian cricket are not cordial. Leave politics aside. Let us not forget that when the Australians along with the rest of the 'west'(including the Windies) tried to bully us during the 1996 World Cup, the Indians and Pakistanis stood with us.