26 August 2014

Mahela's retirement stumps SLC (for a while)

‘Mahela has retired from Test Cricket,’ the President announced.   He might have expected a few seconds of silence as warranted by the gravity of the matter.  That’s not because Mahela’s exit might precipitate a downturn in Sri Lanka’s cricketing fortunes; it is a loss but hardly guarantees a string of defeats.  He might have expected silence on account of how great Mahela has been and his stature in cricketing circles especially in the dressing room and his on-field presence.  

‘Not news!’ the Secretary chipped in immediately drawing a sharp and irritated glace from the President.

‘He’s old, relatively speaking.  He still has his full array of strokes and he still reads the game as astutely as he always did.  Still, time takes a toll, I suppose,’ a lesser administrator opined. 

‘He probably felt that he has passed his peak.  The gracious thing to do when you believe you’ve outlived your usefulness is to step out,’ another administrative survivor with a philosophical bent observed. 

‘It’s all relative,’ someone quipped. ‘Theoretically if his average over the last 6-12 months or the last 10 tests puts him among the top 5-6 performers I think you could say he’s still useful.’
‘Interesting that you came up with the utility notion,’ the President said scratching his chin thoughtfully.

‘Yes,’ the relativist continued enthusiastically, ‘if Mahela thinks it is time to quit then a bunch of others should have retired a long time ago!’ 

‘But usefulness is just one factor when considering retirement,’ the Secretary said.  ‘Some people are in this for bucks.  If they keep rolling in, why quit?  You can’t have enough of a good thing.’

‘You should know!’ someone grunted under his breath, but he was heard by enough people in the room to provoke a bout of giggles.

‘Well, forget the money, some people retire because they want to spend more time with their families or because they’ve lost the passion for the game or because they are simply exhausted. Some even have breakdowns.  We know what happened to Trescothick,’ the Secretary clearly interested in a long innings batted on and on and on. 

‘Shall we ask ourselves some of these questions?’ the philosopher asked softly.

‘What questions?’ the President was confused.

‘Well, have we outlived our usefulness?  Have we lost the passion?  Are we reluctant to say “no” to a good thing?  Do we want to spend more time with our families?  Are there others who are worse and is this why we remain where we are in Sri Lanka Cricket?’

There was silence.  Awkward silence.

The Secretary broke it.

‘Mahela knows best what’s good for him.  We know best what’s good for us.  That’s all we know and all we need to know.’

Smiles all around.  Even from the philosopher and the relativist.

‘All’s well that ends well, eh?’ the President got the last word.    

*All this in a parallel universe...