A cricketing tragedy has to be avoided

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Should Aravinda de Silva, one of Sri Lanka's greatest cricketing heroes be allowed to slip into oblivion ungraciously, unrecognized and unsung, it would be a Sri Lankan Cricketing tragedy and would reflect upon the Board as well as the Selectors as apathy. It is almost idiosyncratic to Sri Lankan cricket that personal dislikes and poor judgement influences the incarceration of great players and this time around something must be done to vindicate all the past victims of this unsavoury tendency and how better to accomplish this than by giving Aravinda a final recall during the current Indian Test Series.Beloved Mad Max and Sri Lankan Icon that he is!!

He was not prefered over Hashan Tillekeratne in the Test against India with due respect to Hashan of course but what did Hashan accomplish this time around. Should not Aravinda have been a better and more deserving choice with the double indemnity of giving him a crack at the 10,000 career runs and gracefully bowing out of International Cricket, an opportunity which still merits consideration very seriously. It is heartbreaking to see such a great player treated so shabbily for all his accomplishments and touching to observe the softspoken manner in which he has responded to all of his incarceration as thats what it amounts to for lack of a better definition, with never a harsh wor nor retaliation, indicating his class as a true gentleman.

The Laras, Tendulkars, Ranatungas alike have carved their niche in cricketing history so why not Aravinda?

Invited to play against England he showed his mettle with some brilliant knocks and the invitation was extended only in a time of need and now that the need is nominal, poor Aravinda is forgotten.There is no logic in the cold shoulder shown to this great player by the selectors and certainly the younger generation of cricketer need inclusion at the highest level of the game but it would be magnanimous to invite Aravinda back into the side at least as a token of gratitude for all he has done to project Sri Lankan Cricket to the highest level.

Sri Lanka may never see the batting supremacy of Aravinda for generations to come and a deserving and adulating mass of the cricketing public together with judicious cricket observers, journalists and well wishers anxiously await the magical sight of Aravinda walking out to bat once more.

"A hush descends upon the teeming crowds packed into the stadium, adorning nearby rooftops and trees alike as he emerges from the pavillion with that deternined look on his face and a gleam in his eyes, yes it is Aravinda de Silva walking out to bat on this beautifully sunny day at Kettarama and the roar of applause suddenly rents the air. He walks upto the crease, with a courtesying nod to his captain Arjuna the non striker at the other end, takes guard and settles into face his first delivery, a half volley pitched on middle and off and with the catlike grace of a panther he moves into position and cracks it past point to the cover boundary to the delight of the crowd.

At stumps he is still there together with his captain Arjuna who have put on a huge partnership both going on to score chanceless centuries, one a stoic captain's innings and the other a magically brilliant one compiled by the mercurial Aravinda". An excerpt from a forthcoming book in praise of the recent greats of Sri Lankan Cricket.


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