CRICKET: Wherever we go the topic that keeps popping up is the World Cup 2007. Sri Lanka has been playing international cricket for the past 32 years. We Sri Lankans cannot relate to cricket without relating and understanding our heroes, our Sri Lankan cricket team.
I’m sure the whole nation watched the semi finals and were ecstatic about our victory. Along with our well wishes to Mahela and our cricket team, cricketing legends got together and sent their wishes to our heroes on this week’s Anarkallis Lanka.
Aravinda de Silva is recognised worldwide as one of Sri Lanka’s greatest batsmen. His career stretches back over two decades. He is recognised for his fearless approach and determination to achieve the unthinkable.
In a conversation with me the unforgotten hero Aravinda de Silva said: It is such a great feeling to win the semi-finals and to be qualified to play in the finals.
Having first hand experience in winning the World Cup in 1996,
I sincerely hope that our cricket team will be able to bring back the World Cup. The victory of the World Cup in 2007 will help us bring more unity to Sri Lanka. My prayers and best wishes are with the team.
When we talk about team spirit a true enthusiastic cricketer, who treasures the game and his team-mates is Romesh Kaluwitharana lovingly and most popularly known as “Kalu”. Kaluwitharana was not only a star wicket keeper but a great batsman as well.
The most popular saying that Kaluwitharana used on the pitch to encourage his fellow team mates, was “ohoma yang, ohoma yang” (keep going, keep going) Here is what down to earth and victorious Romesh Kaluwitharana had to say: Even though I am unable to grace the finals this year, from the bottom of my heart I hope and pray that our team will win the finals and bring the World Cup to our Mother Lanka.
When we were playing cricket during the World Cup 1996 we never expected to win but we had great team spirit and that helped us in a great way. Winning the world cup in 1996 seemed like a dream to us. We made that dream a reality.
Mahela Jayawardene’s captaincy and our senior as well as junior members’ performances should be well commended. I firmly believe that we can win the World Cup this year. I wish our team all the success.
When we think of the going getting tough we remember our “unanduwa” (enthusiast) a well spirited cricketer who was a terrific all rounder; right arm off-break bowler and a right hand batsman, Kumar Dharmasena. He is now continuing his love for cricket as an Umpire.
Here is what Kumar Dharmasena had to say: It is not an easy task to beat Australia, yet I’m confident about our team as we have been very consistent and performed in an admirable manner. I am immensely positive that if we remain confident we can win the finals. I wish the team good luck, good health and success.
He started his career at the age of 19 and retired from cricket after playing for the national team for over 13 years. Wherever he was placed on the field he shone as a brilliant fielder. Apart from his amazing catches, he has batted from the opening slot to the number nine position.
Today he shines as an ICC Referee. Here is what Roshan Mahanama had to say: Even before our boys started playing for the World Cup this year, I felt confident that our team would perform exceptionally well. I believe that our team is much stronger and better than the team we had in 1996.
I don’t think that any other team can boast about having the most experienced team as we have five players who have faced 200 matches and other who have faced 100 matches. We have a well balanced team as we have excellent performers in all three departments; bowling and fielding.
If we take a look at our batting side we have Sanath Jayasuriya at the top, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara. They are exceptional batsmen. Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva and Dilshan have also proved that they can achieve wonders with the bat. Our fielding side is very good as everyone shares good communication on the field.
When we look at our bowling side we have spinners as well as fast bowlers. We have the genius Muttiah Muralidharan the third highest wicket taker in the world.
The well experienced and great Chaminda Vaas along with the vibrant Lasith Malinga, Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando and Maharoof should also be recognised for their success and determination. Finally I would like our team to know that not only the past cricketers but the whole nation is behind our team and we wish them the best of luck.
Speaking to these four maestros was an absolute honour. They will always be golden sons of Lanka. I was also very honoured to have the pleasure of speaking to Mahela Jayawardene’s and Kumar Sangakkara’s fathers. Mahela Jaywardene, captain of our national cricket team, captain of the ship, superstar to his fans and the son of Jayawardene.
Here is what Jayawardene had to say: It all began on Mahela’s first birthday, I presented him with a plastic ball and a bat. As I was a keen cricketer myself, I showed him how to hold the plastic bat the right way and before he or I knew it, he started swinging the bat away whacking the ball around the garden.
My dream was to see Mahela becoming a cricketer. My dream began to come true when Mahela started playing cricket for NCC at the age of eight. Everyone recognised his flair for the game and so his destiny began unfolding.
Even though Mahela was recognised as a consistent player, as the last world cup Mahela did not perform upto his capability, he scored 27 runs in 9 matches. I grew worried about my son and wanted to travel to South Africa to be with him.
yet Mahela did not want me to travel unnecessarily and worry about him. Mahela had confidence that he could overcome that unlucky phase.
Today my son has defeated his demons, he has achieved a career in cricket that many would envy. He is now the Captain of our team and he has done us all proud by bringing our team through to the finals.
Well done my son, I wish you and the team all the best. We all hope and pray that you will bring the World Cup home. Cricket is a gentlemen’s game and Kumar Sangakkara is a fine gentleman behind the wickets, with the bat and off the field.
Here is what Sangakkara’s father had to say: I have always told Kumar to do his best and I believe that he will do so. I would like to take this opportunity to wish my son and the rest of the team good luck.
We must win the World Cup! Our present day heroes’ fathers Jayawardene and Sangakkara, thank you. Come On Sri Lanka! Let’s make history again! I’m sure I speak for the nation when I say this. Whatever the result may be we will be proud of you forever.
We have a dynamic chemistry in our team and it’s working like magic. Our team should always remember what James Corbett’s saying “To become a champion you have to fight one more round”. What the mind conceives, the mind can achieve. Over 18 million prayers are being said for you, we all love and admire you greatly.