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Editorial: The lesson that Sanga taught

4 April 2013 08:11 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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On September 23rd 1993, when it was announced that Sydney had pipped Beijing by two votes to win the bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games, the result was duly heralded by the Western media as a victory for sports over politics, when in fact politics had prevailed over sports.

A re-enactment of the sports versus politics drama was seen recently when Tamil Nadu politicians insisted that Sri Lankans playing in the IPL would not be welcome in that state and pressurized the Indian Cricket Board to issue a ruling preventing them from doing so. It was done. No surprises there, for if Tamil Nadu could decide for Delhi on US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka, getting the Cricket Board to bend would be child’s play. Only one question remained. How would the Sri Lankan cricketers respond?

There was dismay. There was shock. There was a sense of hurt. There was a lot of talk about politics tainting sport. Kumar Sangakkara, arguably the most articulate international cricketer around and by a mile, said ‘sports and spirit of cricket is never going to be curtailed by such prejudice’ (as apparent in the Tamil Nadu call), and almost as though delivering an after-thought to his much quoted Colin Cowdrey speech, he added, ‘India is much more than Chennai and Tamil Nadu’.

And so Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena and others went along with the IPL ruling, which was duly endorsed by Sri Lanka Cricket, after a fashion one might add. They were taking head on those who wanted to curtail sports and the spirit of cricket. Sport was taking on politics and Kumar and the boys were going to be fighting it out on the frontlines. Or are they?

At the end of the day Jayalalithaa Jeyaram drew the lines and Sangakkara and Company decided to stay within. If the Indian Cricket Board represents all of India and therefore the India that is ‘much more than Chennai and Tamil Nadu’, even that India has submitted to Chennai and Tamil Nadu. The sporty Sangakkara has to toe a political line, rhetoric notwithstanding.

They could have taken a cue from Mohammed Ali and acknowledged that sport was not politics-free. Instead they took the insult. They took the dollars too. And they passed the buck to ‘the spirit of cricket’. Just like politicians. It’s all about the art of the possible and of course the money.

There’s a lesson here. We expect too much from our politicians. We shouldn’t. The same goes for these cricketers. We vote for politicians though. So let us not be hypocritical. Let us cheer our IPL boys even louder than before.
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  Comments - 4

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  • Sdherath Friday, 05 April 2013 11:14 AM

    Huh?
    How much foreign revenue you brought to the country?

    Proud-of-SL Friday, 05 April 2013 09:07 AM

    According to my way of thinking and understanding, this article writes rubbish!
    Sangakkara, well educated as he is must have taken the stand: "Play in all matches or in none" and left the rest to the IPL organisers.
    I agree with the former cricket world champion winner Arvind who said don't play even for a million.
    Anybody who encouraged or gave the OK to play have done the country wrong according to my opinion.
    The IPL seems to be "purely" a money making affair. It seems that even the BBC is not taking it seriously!

    Dharmasiri Senevirat Friday, 05 April 2013 02:53 PM

    Any kind of sport is competing with each other. Specialy crickerters are after money Money has destroyed their patriotism.

    Nothing is politics -free . not even breathing. FIRST THE COUNTRY- THE SPIRIT OF OUR HERITAGE AND NOT THE BULL SHIT CALLED 'spirit of cricket'

    Dr.Kumara Ekanayake Friday, 05 April 2013 11:43 PM

    Sanga is articulate enough to spin the words. This cannot justify their greed over patriotism. He is loosing respect and do not compare him to Mohammed Ali!


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