|Dream of freelance |
Posted by H.P.R.Gunawardena on 1/22/2008
Gilchrist and Sangakkara
The ICC 2007 World Cup final between Sri Lanka and Australia is now history and another traingular series of matches coming ahead.
There has been loads of articles published, wide range of views expressed and many postmortems by various individuals, including past and present cricketers held.
I have been carefully reading all the stuff, including our own 'on-the-spot' reports filed by veteran cricket writer Dr. Elmo Rodrigopulle, the only Sri Lankan English journalist to cover the entire tournament.
Whilst thinking of all those action paced episodes from the Caribbean for nearly two months, I had a dream.
Yes! That was a dream final.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena won the toss and elected to bat first in a final curtailed to 38 overs per side due to morning rain. Sri Lanka made a commanding total of 281 for 4 in their allocated 38 overs.The architect of the massive Lankan total was none other than wicket keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara. He scored a blistering 149 off just 104 balls with eight sixes and 13 fours. He showed no mercy to Australian bowlers in punishing them to all corners of the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Immediately after reaching his century in just 72 balls, Sangakkara raises his left hand and points to the batting glove from the right hand. It looks as if he was showing his left glove to someone in the dressing room.Millions of television viewers and spectators at the packed stadium wonder what it's all about.But after receiving his man of the match award for a match winning 149,Sangakkara unveiled a secret known to him and his batting coach back home.As if he is a victorious kid after a hide and seek game, Sangakkara boasts of his secret and the 'hidden weapon' that enabled him to record one of the most glorious innings in cricket.
He said a squash ball hidden in his batting glove helped him to have a better grip. The dashing wicket keeper batsman said it was his batting coach back in Sri Lanka who suggested the idea of inserting a squash ball into his batting glove so that it would give him a better grip and a distinct advantage.
"He asked me to play this little trick and score a century. He asked me to prove I had the squash ball inside my glove, if I score a century in the final. That is why I raised my glove and showed it to him over the television. I knew my coach back in Sri Lanka was watching me," a proud Sangakkara says after the match.
But Sangakkara's comment boomerangs. The ICC and the match officials get mad at the unethical act of the Lankan batsman. "It's like taking performance enhancing drugs.When you take performance enhancing drugs, you get undue advantage than the others. Similarly, the squash ball in the Lankan batsman's glove enhanced his performance. Hence, this matter should be referred to the World anti doping body - WADA," an Australian newspaper suggested."Sri Lanka should immediately be stripped of their World champion title. It should now be awarded to second placed Australia. The World Cup belongs to Australia as Sri Lanka has cheated and obtained an undue advantage," an expert commentator and former international cricketer engaged in live television coverage said.
The two umpires Aleem Dar and Steve Bucknor get mad at Sangakkara. They file an adverse report to the ICC, so does the third umpire Rudi Koertzen who too says he noticed the squash ball episode on the live TV coverage.
The Match Referee summons Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena and Sangakkara for a hearing.The ICC, which has been acting like a toothless tiger over the years, gets super power. They decide to be firm on Sri Lanka. The ICC issue a strong statement condemning the 'unsporty, unethical and unruly act by the Lankan wicket keeper batsman and his team'.
Finally, the ICC gets more teeth. They decide to declare the result null and void and the match referee awards the match to Australia. They fine Sri Lanka team 100% of their World Cup earnings and the batsman gets a life ban.His captain gets a 10-year ban for covering things up. The team is served with a five year ban for breaching collective responsibility.
England, South Africa and New Zealand join Australia in condemning Sri Lanka's poor sportsmanship.
The ICC sends a special representative to Colombo. He forcibly takes the World Cup back from the SLC headquarters and takes it to Melbourne.
The ICC hurriedly organises a special ceremony to award the World Cup to Australia,stating that they are the worthy winners as Sri Lanka has put a black mark on world cricket by cheating.
The drama does not end there. ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed proposes tough measures to prevent this type of shameless acts in future.
The ICC amends rules and playing conditions. They rule that two field umpires should check the gloves of batsmen and wicket keepers each time they take the field, similar to a boxing referee inspecting the gloves of two fighters before a bout.
My telephone started ringing. Then I woke upto the realization that it was a long day dream. I switched on my television and there was a repeat telecast of the World Cup final. I saw Australian wicket keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist waving his bat on reaching his century, then pointing at his batting glove.