Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why I love English cricket

Listening to: nothing

So unless you're just back from a day trip to Atlantis, you'll know that Sri Lanka gave England a real thrashing today. A lot of my Lankan fb friends seem to have forgotten that we dropped Morgan thrice (two of those chances being absolute dollies...luck of the Irish, eh?) but it didn't matter in the end, so I won't be a spoilsport. Today's performance bodes well for the semi-final on Tuesday, and I hope we deliver. Being the realist/cautious optimist that I am, I won't be as arrogant and cocky (and to be honest, downright irritating) as some of my friends and claim to have a hand on the trophy already...but I'll gladly acknowledge that we have the talent and the form to go all the way.

And that is all I'm gonna say about Sri Lanka's performance in this post. The rest of this post, I want to dedicate to the England team and its supporters. I've been getting a lot of stick from people for supporting England in this WC. A lot of Sri Lankans can't understand how I could support a team of our 'colonial oppressors'. To them, I say: wake up (and grow up), we're not in the 1940s any more. A lot of Sri Lankans can't understand how I could support a team that's not my 'home' team. To them, I say: I was born in the UK and I've spent almost 15 years of my life here...I'm almost 28 - you do the math. A lot of Sri Lankans can't understand how I could support two teams. To them, I say: watch me.

So England aren't the best team around. So what? Did ardent Sri Lankan cricket fans only start supporting our team after '96? Oh wait...:D. But seriously, I like the attitude of this England team. They enjoy their cricket, and they have a laugh. They try hard, and they can take defeat. There's an excellent team spirit, and a sense of gratitude towards the fans that is lovely to see. They seem like the kind of people I'd want to go down to the pub with after work on a Friday. I won't deny that it helps that a lot of them are extremely easy on the eye, but that's just a bonus. I also won't deny that they've had lapses in sportsmanship (Colly's jelly-gate comes to mind), but I think they more than make up for it the rest of the time.

For instance, look at this tweet from Graeme Swann after today's match:
He didn't bowl that badly, but he got thrashed around the ground nonetheless. To finish a match like that and a) give due respect to your opponent, b) put it in perspective and c) compliment the opponent's home crowd...I think that's big of him. He could've moaned about the fatigue, the heat, the noise, the fact that the Taj (I think?) nightclub music kept them up last night...but he didn't.

And what of the fans? I don't need to remind people about the behaviour of some cricket fans when their team loses *cough*India*cough*Australia*cough*. But here are two responses that appear to be representative of the sentiment in the UK:

The first, from the lovely englandcricketteam tumblr (which you must visit if you want yummy pics of yummy England cricketers :D ) -
And this from BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James, in a reply to Sri Lankan BBC Radio 1 DJ Nihal -
It makes me proud to be Sri Lankan, and proud to be an England cricket fan.

I suppose a part of me feels pressure from my Sri Lankan friends to feel guilty about liking anything about England, sport or otherwise. After all, I'm only here for uni, right? If 'home' is where you feel safe, happy, welcome, and that you belong...then this is 'home' for me. I'm not saying it always has been, or that it always will be...but for now, it is. A lot of Sri Lankan friends will call me names and what have you, but that'll just make me feel more at home in the UK, far away from their judgemental narrow-mindedness. Home is where the heart is, and right now my heart is snug as a bug in a rug in the UK. If you don't like it, that's your problem.

I shall end with my favourite picture from today's match, courtesy englandcricketteam:
Awww Moggie


  1. I was going to say something silly like, oh I dunno, "JUJUBES LOLOL!" but then I saw your tweet and... um... *awkward silence and furtive glances*

    But I have to say, you've written this beautifully. Very heartfelt. :)

  2. I fully agree with what you are saying. having been sitting behind a bunch of barmies yesterday at the qf match, abt 8 of them shared over 160 pints beer however no unruly behavior, sang their hearts out amongst the loud SL cheer,and saluted on our cheering when they realised they were loosing and finally shook our hands and parted with a see you at the semis.. if that isnt proper sportmanship, then what is?...

  3. Bravo.

    The question I pose to people who say that supporting some other team is unpatriotic is: Can patriotism be reduced to the support of a team? Is it only this?

    Personally I support the underdog, so I will be hoping that NZ can cause another upset. They are not a top team but they have caused surprises before and besides with all the tragedy at home I think they deserve something to celebrate.

    The next most deserving case is Pakistan, who I will support in the event NZ does not get into the final, again due to the tragedy that is their nation. There is no international cricket being played there anymore and the country is a ruin. Maybe I have been unduly influenced by the pretty Pakistani girls who flew to Colombo to cheer their team with enthusiasm against Australia.

    Not that I will go overboard in my support, most of all I will hope for interesting cricket (like the NZ-SA match, or the Aussie-Pakistan encounter), rather than the dreary SL-England one. When there is a virtual walkover assured there is little interest in the game.

    Apologies for hogging so much space;)

  4. Dee - Erm I'm not sure which part of the post was amusing, but...:-)

    Chavie - Hehe well posts that come from the heart have a tendency to sound heartfelt ;-)

    Anon - From what I've heard, the Barmy Army are lovely. You get Sri Lankan fans complaining about the alcohol ban at matches on Poya days, but not these guys...which says a lot, considering how much you saw them drink at the match! :D

    Jack Point - I prefer not to waste time talking to people that call me unpatriotic ;-), but I think where international sports is concerned, it's very difficult to disregard the 'patriotic' aspect of supporting a team.
    Also, regarding where to place one's support...I personally don't think there's any room for sentimentality. As far as I'm concerned, it's sport: he/she who plays better, wins.


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