Sri Lanka shoved OFF as cricket’s poor cousins | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka shoved OFF as cricket’s poor cousins

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne (right) and coach Mickey Arthur at a practice session
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne (right) and coach Mickey Arthur at a practice session

For nearly six months Sri Lanka’s beleaguered cricketers have been waiting to play a shot against international opposition while its bad neighbour Bangladesh has been playing spoil sport in a manner that has made them bigger than the game and more important than global health demands during the coronavirus pandemic.

Frustratingly for the unassuming team captain Dimuth Karunaratne the wait has been too long and probably draining them of the enthusiasm to get back to competitive cricket that has become the common man’s passion and obsession in a country that offers very little by way of entertainment to its people.

“We have been practicing and preparing since April waiting to play and that is the only thing we can do. Practice and practice and we don’t know for how long. We are very much looking forward to this series,” said Karunaratne whose team went into a near two-month lockdown after the England team evacuated and aborted a Test series in March.

There have been claims that Bangladesh have got too big for their bats ever since the team knocked-out Sri Lanka from a T20 final three years ago and left the country after smashing the glass doors at the Premadasa Stadium dressing room.

But Sri Lanka Cricket officials prefer to guard against making any comments that they feel will sour relations with the two Boards and just play the waiting game after Bangladesh refused to adhere to the mandatory two-week quarantine period and demanded that they come out for training just three days after arriving.

“We expect Bangladesh to be here without much delay,” said Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva. “We have our own healthcare rules and regulations and we expect other countries to also follow these obligations.”

Questions have also been raised whether Bangladesh would have objected had the superior England cricket chiefs directed them to spend three weeks in quarantine which players from the West Indies, Pakistan and Australia did before commencing their on-field activities that ran from July to September.

India also aborted a tour of Sri Lanka and is now happily engaged in their private IPL championship now taking place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which they seem to be able to play anywhere in the world and entice international players with the big fat purses to go with.

But Sri Lanka could also be losing out on its patience with Bangladesh and could be pushed to the wall to take a stand on whether its three-Test championship, which is part of the official International Cricket Council ranking, is on or off.

“If Bangladesh does not agree to the stipulated health requirements then we will have to call off the tour,” declared Sri Lanka Cricket chef executive Ashley de Silva.