Sri Lanka In With A Chance

Top Spin by Suni Perera

Having now advanced to the round of Super Sixes regardless of the rhetoric which goes on about Sri Lanka being tentative, circumspect and incapable of coasting all the way to the World Cup final the matter seemes to have been set in perspective albeit a few rough edges which still need to be smoothened out. A time to ponder upon the sentiments of a wise old sage who recently remarked "But they still are the most feared side aren't they? with a fair chance to win and capable of even confounding the Aussies!" terms of endearment or awe perhaps more whispered than yelled out loud in certain non Lankan circles as the Lions clad in Serendib Blue and Gold have suddenly emerged displaying their true potential as not only being gritty fighters but ones equipped with quite an arsenal of weaponry held back until now, encompassing talent and flair almost enviable by comparison with some of the other participants and it is not mere fortune ( though some of it attributable to it indeed!) which has seen their passage into the next round.

The Aussies on the other hand seemingly indomitable with the fury unleashed on their opponents thus far seem to be breezing along with nothing in their path of any substance capable of slowing them down but this too may be conjecture in the long run if their game against England was taken into account where the Brits showed that there existed an Aussie Achilles Heel which could certainly be exploited through strategy born of wisdom, a shade of good fortune and certainly by avoiding the bull in the chinashop attitude of Pakistan who failed to barnstorm their way past the Roos even with Shohaib's and Wakar's belligerence which probably landed Pakistan belly up and out of contention.Where the Brits and Pakistan failed Sri Lanka could succeed in toppling the Roos!

As far as Kenya is concerned much further ado in dwelling on their calibre might amount to nothing by way of the humiliation handed them by Lara's West Indians who have endorsed in no uncertain terms the probabilities of their contentions but a little too late and surely a similar fate must await them in their next encounter with the Lankan Lions who seem to have made it a habit to vindicate past losses quite effectively!

Sri Lanka now goes into the round of Super Sixes with much experience in dealing with adversity under their belts combined with the confidence in being aware that theirs is a full strength side now in high gear with a few secret weapons set in place a point emphasized often by past great Duleep Mendis and most areas seem to have been consolidated bar a few such as the re-surfacing of Mahela Jayawardena brilliance if permitted further grace and a definite back to the drawingboard imposition regarding their running between wickets which not only needs to be re-vamped but also needs to have a few basics hammered into place such as striker's call in front of the wicket, non- striker's call behind it and a shedding of lethargy for alertness and some compensation for reflexes albeit an age factor often used as an excuse as runouts proving to be painfully costly for Sri Lanka in a few key lost games. Hey ! lets face it, the run / walk expertise era ended with its singlemost exponent Arjuna who often showed a clean pair of heels when the occassion demanded and in the super sixes hard running between wickets using correct judgement will be imperative.

Incidentally Arjuna was seen at the Sri Lankan -South African game in all exuberance encouraging his former team and an auspicious presence still youthful looking enjoying the glory of the occassion which seemed to have complemented the boys in blue.

Sri Lanka now faces the ultimate two challenges in opponents India and Australia, possibly the latter being more daunting yet history has proved that Sri Lanka has sent both these and more scampering through magnificient displays of concentration in combined attacking and defensive cricket and perhaps a pulling of all stops necessary in order to gain the ultimate victory just may be in their favour knowing fully well now that they are in with a chance as they launch themselves forward hopefully with gusto and resolve.

They were champions once when least expected and this time around too their entry was not heralded by too much fanfare but they have suddenly been cast into a role which needs to kill a few giants to reach the Holy Grail of Cricket which is certainly not beyond them.

Will Sri Lankan Hearts and Minds in unison with the Lion Flag soar once again? Only the glorious uncertainties attributed to the gentlemen's game as it is sometimes refered to has the answer but Sri Lanka now has a chance to dispel the uncertainties beyond a doubt as their next games are bound to prove vital.



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